For our latest "My Friend" feature, Eggzakly introduces us to Stouf, who reveals the funny story behind his username, and tells us the first time he discovered Lomography. Read on for the full story!
Please introduce yourself.
My name in real life is Stéphane (like vicuna and almost like mephisto19). I was born in 1980 in Athens – Greece, from a French mother and a Greek father, hence the mess in my mind, a pronounced taste for wine and cheese and an overwhelming amount of chest fur. About 5 years after we moved to Paris, where I grew up. I have lived in Canada for 4 years now, where I struggle with a PhD in Oceanography.
I have been dying to know this: what exactly is a stouf, and what colour is it?
Ahaha… stouf is just a nickname that my school friends gave me to shorten Stéphane and also to make fun of my abundant hair sticking out in a tuft, ‘une touffe’ in French. And if I was a colour it would definitely be blue. But I’m not a smurf (‘schtroumpf’ in French)!
How did you stumble onto Lomography and why do you choose to go analogue?
Mmm where to start… I initially wanted to be an underwater photographer, and in this field, David Doubilet is my idol. So I bought a Nikonos V, and then discovered the Velvia 50 and film scanners. I was around 16… Then, during a Christmas trip to New-York with my brother (who taught me the basics of photography) I fell on a Holga at the shop of a photography museum. I just thought: with bigger film I could make nicer shots, and this plastic thing is so cheap that I could put it underwater without fear! Back at our hotel, I opened the Holga box and discovered the lomographic community in the book ‘HOLGA – The world through a plastic lens’… And it was a shock. Especially the 70mm shots from Adam Scott. I just thought: “I wanna be part of this, these people seem to like badly exposed, blurry shots full of lens flares, as much as I like them!”… And it started like this…
And why analogue? Because film produces images that are closer to memories, a bit blurry, with a soft focus and with colors shifted by personality.
Have you ever experienced a moment of perfect photographic clarity? Tell us when, where, and why – and show us!
Well it’s precisely what I was talking about, my first Holga underwater shots (with an ewa-marine housing), and the best model ever: Emilio, my oldest friend who is also a dancer and always had a great sense of what to do in the water in front of my lens. That summer he had these dreadlocks, we were at the beach with the clearest waters I’ve ever seen, and we played together in the water (between Greek men)… Then came this moment where I could feel time stop, I knew the shot was going to be good, I just felt it.
Name your favourite thing in this world. Name your least favourite thing.
My favourite thing would be the ability of human being to create; my least favourite would be its ability to destroy… Particularly to destroy Mother Nature.
*You have had the opportunity to travel to some amazing places. Which was the most meaningful to you, and why? Is there a place (real or fictional) you would especially like to visit in the future? *
Well, no surprise, going to the Arctic was my best trip ever so far. I met great friends there (rater and androfun and many others), but most important I met the love of my life. She’s the best! I love you E.H.S.! And I’d really like to go to Easter Island and to the moon too.
Do you remember the first ever photo you took? Tell us about it! (And if you still have it – show us!)
This is one of my first shots. Sunbeams in the water are somehow hypnotizing…
If you HAD to choose, which would it be? (Answer as quickly as possible, without thinking!)
Muppets or Sesame Street?
Muppets ! (especially Gonzo)
Provia or Velvia?
Day or night?
Purple or yellow?
Chocolate or ice cream?
Thank you so much for being such a good sport, stouf! I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time now, and it’s great to learn a little more about the person behind the lomographs. And I LOVE the gallery!!