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Of Seagulls & Swollen Hearts : Q&A with Liad Cohen

Multiple-exposure images are easy to do, but quite difficult to pull off. Among the few who can master this trick effectively is Liad Cohen, LSI’s US Online Coordinator, and more importantly, a passionate Lomographer based in New York City. Besides taking long walks with his camera, he likes to write, play the guitar, and read (??Good Omens??, ??The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle??, ??Rule of the Bone??). He enjoys good movies (??Into the Wild??, ??Wristcutters??, ??Rocket Science??, ??Brotherhood of the Wolf??) and good music as well – his latest picks are ??In Rainbows by Radiohead??, and ??Mercy … by Ours??. A man of substance, talent, and good taste – that’s Liad Cohen for you!

Multiple-exposure images are easy to do, but quite difficult to pull off. Among the few who can master this trick effectively is Liad Cohen, LSI’s US Online Coordinator, and more importantly, a passionate Lomographer based in New York City. Besides taking long walks with his camera, he likes to write, play the guitar, and read (Good Omens, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Rule of the Bone). He enjoys good movies (Into the Wild, Wristcutters, Rocket Science, Brotherhood of the Wolf) and good music as well – his latest picks are In Rainbows by Radiohead, and Mercy … by Ours. A man of substance, talent, and good taste – that’s Liad Cohen for you!

How did you get into Lomography?
In early 2004, I was going through a breakup with the love of my life. I felt that a lot of negative energy might be wasted if I didn’t find a way to put myself into something new. So I started looking for an interesting camera to take up some of my attention. A friend pointed me towards lomography.com and I started reading all about the cameras. It wasn’t long before I had a bunch of them and I haven’t left the house without one since then.

What was your first camera, and what was the first picture you took with it?
The first camera I got was either the Supersampler or the Holga. I can’t really remember. It took me about a week to find film for the Holga, but the first thing I shot was Central Park.

You’re going to a deserted island with only one camera. Which one would it be?
I think I would take the Supersampler, because then I could use the string to catch fish. Either that or a Horizon that I could use to bash “The Others” over the head with when they try to capture me and put me in a polar bear cage. Sorry, I’m a bit of a Lost geek.

How do you overcome creative block?
I don’t think I believe in creative block anymore. When I was younger, I had these ideas about inspiration and not being able to be creative unless I “felt” it. But I grew up. I realize now that inspiration is a luxury. And hard work is the cure for creative block. Disciplined people never stop being creative.

Pick one photo that best represents your favorite quote/song lyric.

Do I contradict myself?

Very well then I contradict myself,

(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

- Walt Whitman (Song of Myself)

What’s the craziest thing that you did to get a perfect shot of something/someone?
Well, I am not above bribing birds. Seagulls are easy to sway. Some left-over fries, or last week’s bread… I’ve also snuck up on birds when I didn’t have food to bribe them with. I must look like a maniac when I’m doing that. And if the camera is in my hand, it means I’m shooting. So I’ve stood right in front of people I don’t know and taken their picture and they never knew it. I’m sure everyone who’s held an LC-A in their hand has realized how easy that is.

Among all the tips and tricks in Lomography, which one do you use the most, and why?
I’m partial to multiple exposures. So the tip I use the most is underexposure for multiple exposures, and how to plan out layer exposures—it frees me up to random shooting without having to think about it.

Name one frustrating Lomography moment.
One time I drove cross-country by myself, and took 4 rolls of photos on the way, only to arrive in Los Angeles and find that I had 4 blank rolls of film. Here’s a tip for all LC-A owners: sometimes if you use batteries that are wider than usual, it stretches out the connectors on your camera. When you put skinny batteries in, they don’t touch properly, and your shutter doesn’t open because the light meter isn’t getting any juice. Watch that red lights, and if they don’t go on, adjust the battery connectors so they fit snug against the batteries. Or learn it the hard way like I did.

What makes you feel uncomfortable?
Close-minded people, racism and homophobia, repressed sexuality, fear, anger, war, the upcoming US election, holes in my shoes, the weight I’ve gained, public speaking, seeing ex-girlfriends with their new boyfriends … etc.

What’s the overall mood that you’d like to impart with someone who views your photographs?
Hope. Understanding. Inspiration. I hope that people feel like I’ve shown them the things that I found beautiful and interesting, and that they can understand why I think so. I hope that my photography swells people’s hearts and souls, like the photos from others that do the same to me.

written by shhquiet

8 comments

  1. alexandrak

    alexandrak

    I love your doubles Liad!

    about 6 years ago · report as spam
  2. jeffmoore

    jeffmoore

    this guy is an expert! i like to harass Liad with random film and technique questions as often as possible.
    about 6 years ago · report as spam
  3. laura_jacqueline

    laura_jacqueline

    ahem... For he's a jolly good lomographer, for he's a jolly good lomographer, for he's a jolly good lomographer....which nobody can deny... Now tell me, have you ever used a Seagull to stalk seagulls?
    about 6 years ago · report as spam
  4. fotoglove

    fotoglove

    im going to bring in my old moldy bread for you and your seagulls :)

    about 6 years ago · report as spam
  5. maddyoulook

    maddyoulook

    I really like your take on things. The whole "pictures make your heart swell thing". Totally agree. :D

    about 6 years ago · report as spam
  6. mattdude1081

    mattdude1081

    you're a true artist. keep it up and you can easily become one of the greatest

    about 6 years ago · report as spam
  7. artpunk

    artpunk

    Nice article/Q&A and good insights. Thanks Liad! (and your doubles/multi exposures really do rock - I love the one that you chose to represent your favourite quote/lyric)
    :-)>

    about 6 years ago · report as spam
  8. golfpunkgirl

    golfpunkgirl

    i cant believe i missed this! ouroborox was one of the first homes i came across when i joined lomo and his doubles/triples inspired me to try multi's... hes definitely one of the very best lomographers around!

    liad... you rock! :) xx

    about 6 years ago · report as spam