Meet Toronto based photographer Gemma Warren, soon to be featured photographer of the Lomography Canada+OTM Zine photography exhibit DEPICT: T.O. at the Lomography Gallery Store Toronto! Already working with film, she’s excited to expand her knowledge in Lomography, shooting with the La Sardina Camera!
Name: Gemma Warren
Describe your photographic style in one sentence:
That’s a hard one – I’d say that ultimately I’m trying to probe at a question or a response of some kind from someone through my images. So in that sense, they are approached from a place of either spontaneity and freedom, or distance, ambiguity and contemplation (depending on the subject.)
How/when did you discover your passion for photography?
I can’t really define a specific moment or time when I realized photography was something I wanted to do but I always had a strong interest in media, film and music. All my friends from back home were using their hands to create fine art, and as someone who wasn’t necessarily talented in that area I think I just naturally gravitated towards photography. It wasn’t until I moved to Toronto though that I really started to grow as a photographer.
Can you give us an insight into your creative process?
I’m not sure I know it myself – I guess there’s always the pattern of see, shoot, edit, conceptualize, and adapt to an extent. But, I think that the beauty of analogue as a process and the choice that comes to go with it – is that realistically you have no control, and that’s what makes it. As much as you can plan and vision a subject or idea, you’re always working alongside the unpredictability of either the camera, film or processing after, all of which hold the magic of the final outcome.
What do you love most about working as a photographer in Toronto? What do you love least?
I love the constant push I have as an image maker in a city that holds another thousand image makers trying to do exactly the same thing, but obviously that becomes a heavy weight on your shoulders with time, and doubles as a con. It’s difficult trying to balance what you love, with the pressure you need to succeed, and in return still find joy in your process.
Dream photograph? (Style, composition, subject. Etc)
I don’t think an ideal or perfect image is about any one specific aesthetic, or subject, but more about how the image is interpreted. If you as a photographer are able to evoke an idea from your image (and that can be anything the viewer wishes to take or respond to) then that to me is gold. That is a successful image.
Top 3 places to find inspiration in Toronto:
Personally, my main inspiration in Toronto comes from the people – I feel as though Toronto is a hub for imaginative and creative individuals and because of that I am constantly surrounded by new ideas and perspectives. I also love the endless shows, exhibits, festivals and creative projects offered here, but I think it also comes from the streets. There’s something special about biking around the city, dawn or dusk, and just being open to everything around you in that moment.
Why are you excited to be a part of the OTM+LOMO: DEPICT T.O. Show?
I think it’s really important as an artist to be involved within your local community, and put yourself out there – not only for support, but for inspiration, exposure, relationships, and the over-all experience that comes from that. In this case, it’s really exciting to think about the city you surround yourself in, and how to respond and connect to that through images. Lomography allows you to experiment, create, and have fun, which you can sometimes forget to do, so for that I’m excited about the freedom and creative outcome of the show.