How about a destination far away this time? Brazil, Australia, India, Japan... Our peripatetic LomoAmigo of the month knows them all! Find out more about the German, click through her amazing pictures from all over the world and read about her tips for your next vacation.
NAME: Ute Kranz
1. Who is behind the name bravebird? Tell us more about you!
My life is full of contrasts. While my working life as an expert in the field of communications takes place in the bustling city, I prefer to spend as much spare time as I can in natural surroundings. Although I like living in Germany, a strong inner force drifts me to remote countries – the more exotic, the better. I’m fascinated by foreign cultures and landscapes and I prefer places where materialistic things tend to play a subordinate role. At some point of time photography has been added to my great passion for traveling. Today there is no place too far away and no backpack too heavy to carry in order to reach widely distant places with my cameras.
2. How long have you been a Lomographer and how did it all start?
My first contact with Lomography was three years ago as I met a Frenchman in Bolivia who took pictures of cactuses in the salt desert with an extraordinary plastic camera called Holga. Due to this strange experience my curiosity for taking pictures with conventional film – which had actually been thought to be completely over the hill – was extremely high. As a result I held my first own black Holga in my hands only after a short while in Chile. This had been the beginning of a great passion which has been developed into a remarkable collection of 35mm and medium format cameras as well as a permanently well-filled refrigerator with all kind of films.
3. It seems that you have been everywhere in the world. Could we ask you for a gallery of the greatest places you have visited so far?
Brazil completely captivated me with its breathtaking nature, its good mood and fiery Latin rhythms.
Australia isn’t just special for Europeans because of the challenging travel times – this country is simply fantastic! Different climate zones, incredibly nice people, amazing landscapes and, of course, fascinating wildlife.
India is one of the most authentic and interesting countries of the world in terms of colors, landscape and culture: The Himalayas in the north, the chaotic city life in the center and the green nature in the south.
4. Which cameras and films are accompanying you on your travels?
The choice of cameras depends on each trip. The LC-A+ and one medium format camera are always in my backpack. Additionally, I sometimes use the Horizon Kompakt and a point-and-shoot camera as well. In other cases I carry an extra analog reflex camera with me.
There is an approved system regarding my choice of films : 80% slide films, 15% negative films and 5% black and white films with ISO values depending on the climate and season in the destination country. I tend to put more films in my bag than necessary because especially 120mm films and 35mm slide films are pretty rare or even impossible to get in certain areas. In other countries there I take the great opportunity to buy dusty but cheap film-remainders.
5. Did you ever have problems with air traffic controls? Do you have tips what to consider according x-rays?
Fortunately I never had problems but I have discussed that issue several times on various occasions in different countries. In general, it’s recommended to store films in the hand-luggage because the dose of the used x-rays is lower than the dose of x-rays used with regular baggage. For films below ISO 800 there seems to be no problem with x-rays anyway. Another option is the transport of films in a special film safe (e.g. by Hama).
6. Is there any Lomographic camera which is missing in your collection?
Of course! I think the LC-Wide is one of the most appropriate cameras for underwater photography which I would love to use on my next diving or snorkel excursion. In addition, I like to buy a new Lubitel which actually shouldn’t be missing in any camera collection, especially because of its possibility of double and multiple exposures.
7. Describe your personal photographic style. Do you tend to classic snapshots or are you open for everything?
I make use of all opportunities of the analog universe and I like to experiment with various films, lenses and filters as well as with double, multiple and long-term exposures. I love intensive colors and contrasts, clear structures, silhouettes and the use of direct sunlight. Recently, I started with pinhole photography which is really exciting.
8. Could you give us some photographic advices which you would like to share with the community?
Carry your camera and replacement films with you, always and everywhere. Try out everything that makes you curious. Take your time. Learn from others and live with failures.
9. Is there any country which you would absolutely love to photograph (again)?
Oh, there are so many… China, Canada, Cambodia and Morocco are right at the top of my travel list but there is a lot to discover in northern and eastern Europe too. Attractive places to photograph are also Namibia, Madagascar and Iceland. And there are, of course, a few more exotic destinations like Alaska and the Antarctic but even desert regions in Mongolia or Africa would be exciting projects.
I would love to return to Tibet, Myanmar, Russia and almost all of the countries of South America as well as Japan and South Korea.
10. Tell us about your plans for the future? Which places need to be visited?
Some time ago I set my mind on the wish to visit all countries of the world during my lifetime. However, that project does have a drawback. In most of the countries I feel so good that there is a strong desire to return again and again. Thus, my goal seems increasingly elusive. So let´ s wait and see what happens next.