Berlin can be very inspiring, that is true! Community member melanie_skriabine got so inspired by the German capital that she just borrowed a LomoKino camera from the Gallery Store and started shooting her way through the city. Follow her analogue path and learn more about the French photographer.
Name: Mélanie Skriabine
First of all, please give us a brief introduction. What do you do for a living? What are your interests?
Well, I’m a French freelance photographer. I mostly work in performing arts (dance, concerts, modern circus with NO animals !..) and I also like to experiment on a more personal level, notably with analogue cameras such as the Lomographic ones or also experimenting with other fields of expression like videomaking or contributing to composers, musicians’s works by doing some vocals. If you’re interested, you can actually listen to the albums & buy them online on Joe Frawley’s bandcamp (“Carnival” , “Curious Perspectives”, “13 Houses and the Mermaid”, “A hundred years”…)
Oh ! and I also happen to be a translator! My interests are quite varied but I think i could say that in short they all are related to the artistic creation, in many different fields. I’m interested in art in general, whether related directly to the image, through the medium of photography, video, painting or architecture, sculpture and also expressions more related to the body such as dance… Another very important interest of mine is music. I have no hesitation saying music is a major part of the air I breathe!
How long have you been a Lomographer and what does being a community member mean to you?
I’ve been a Lomographer for almost a decade now…Time flies! Funny because Lomography has just celebrated its 20th anniversary last November 2012 when I myself celebrated my own birthday too. Well, considering Lomography, it means I’ve just turned 10!
Being a community member means quite a lot to me since I’ve met very interesting people thanks to LSI. Made friends I am still in touch with despite the fact that for most of them we never had the chance to meet yet, being too far away from each others. The Lomographic community is like an analogue family with members from all around the world, sharing same interests, spreading the fun, exchanging tips and even sometimes sharing film rolls when doing swaps…
Why did you decide to shoot with a LomoKino? What other Lomographic cameras did you use before and why do you like them?
When I first read about the LomoKino, I felt like I had to try it. As a Lomo-enthusiast the idea of shooting an analogue movie immediately seduced me.
About the other Lomographic cameras I use, there are actually quite a lot ! I often, not to say always, have at least a LC-A with me, I take one with me everywhere I go, does this ring a bell?! Yes, like Rule # 1 of The Ten Golden Rules.
Now if I have to tell you about my pretty large Lomographic family that’s been growing little by little during the last ten years, I use a Holga, Lubitel, some multilens ones (Supersampler, ActionSampler, Oktomat, Pop9), a Colorsplash, a Fisheye and some cameras I won with some LSI contests and rumbles such as a Horizon Perfekt, Fisheye No.2 …see ? I did not lie about the “large Lomographic camera family”…right?
The Lomographic cameras are fun to use and you get photographs you are always surprised of and in a digital era, when everything always goes faster and faster, it’s also great to wait for your films to be processed and printed, or to just even go and get the negatives to a lab and scan them when back home. It’s pretty exciting, not to just look at the back of your camera and check your photos on the digital screen, (which I also do of course when I have to shoot digital) but keeping on going with the analogue side is fun and definitely not irreconcilable with the “all digital” thing…on the contrary.
And allow me please to say a tiny something one ought to know about Lomographic cameras, once you’ve started using even just one, there’s nothing you can do but you become a Lomo addict… you’d better be aware. ;-)
Describe the LomoKino in five words?
Practical. Fun. Small. Light & pretty sure very soon, if not yet, Cult!
Why do you like the LomoKino? What’s the most interesting feature about it?
I especially like the LomoKino because I’ve always been interested in shooting with a super 8 movie camera but never had the chance to do. To me the Lomokino was just like shooting with a super 8 movie camera and it was even more practical since it works with 35mm film rolls! It’s difficult to say which feature is the most interesting. But considering my first experience, I would say I truly appreciated it was really easy fast focusing.
Where do you get your inspiration for your videos from?
I usually get my inspiration, whether for my videos or photographs, from the place where I stand and the energy I feel around me, that directly comes from the physical aspect of the city, like building’s walls, but also people walking around and whose paths sometimes cross mine, the air I breathe, the sounds, noises I hear, trees and the sky, everything that surrounds me literally but I also get my inspiration from the mood I’m in and well, to tell the truth, I think all these factors just complement each other.
What can we see in your video, could you describe it a little bit? What is the message of the video?
I don’t think there really is a “message” in this Berlin video…To me it’s rather like an invitation to take you to a short walk with me through the city… I stayed in Kreuzberg, so you can see or I’d rather say you can catch a sight of, instead of really see, the neighborhood. Then the surrounding area of Rosenthaler Platz, Kunsthaus Tacheles, the Holocaust-Mahnmal, Brandenburger Tor, Reichstag building, East Side Gallery and Oberbaum Bridge. Then a walk along the river Spree, the Soviet War Memorial in Berlin’s Treptower Park, the Passionskirche and the surrounding area. Then back to Kreuzberg and after this the World Time Clock (Weltzeituhr) on Alexanderplatz, Alexanderplatz surrounding area, Gedächtniskirche or Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church (but I was unlucky as it was hidden under a sort of a gigantic restoration sarcophagus) and again back to my place in Kreuzberg in Graefestrasse. You also see Siegessäule – the Victory Column – just before night and finally on my way to the Lomography Gallery Store in Friedrichstrasse …and well, you can also have a glimpse of snow girl behind the LomoKino camera.
Who is the artist from the video’s song?
The music I’ve used as a soundtrack for my video is by Olaf Bender aka Byetone. He is a German artist who happens to live in Berlin and whose work I’ve been listening to for several years. He actually is not only part of a German electronic music record label called Raster-Noton but one of its founder with Carsten Nicolai and Frank Breitschneider. I highly recommend you to go and treat yourself to some great music by following this link: www.raster-noton.net. I’m a fan! I could have put my choice on my friend Grischa Lichtenberger or Carsten Nicolai aka Alva Noto, Kangding Ray or so many many others from different labels such as Swod, Hauschka… but I had to make a choice, a difficult one indeed, considering the fact that the more choices the more difficult, of course.
I was in Berlin during and for the CTM Festival for Adventurous Music and Related Visual Arts, which is held in parallel to and in collaboration with the Transmediale Festival for Art and Digital Culture. CTM.12 had such a stunning line up!!" I had an amazing time, truly enjoyed the gigs and Olaf (Byetone) made me dance on his DJ set in Berghain, so did Kangding Ray and even Ben Frost but well I think “Straight” is a track that really fits to my LomoKino movie, don’t you think so?
What do you find fascinating about the city?
When I knew I was going to Berlin for a short stay, I thought it would just be the perfect opportunity for me to use this camera and you’re right asking about what I do find fascinating about the city, since “being fascinated” describes perfectly how i felt over there. I was impressed by the space, it’s a city where you do not feel oppressed and I was very happy to find so much trees and parks everywhere, even if it was winter and there were no leaves but only nude branches. To me Berlin is a green city and I love trees!
What was the strangest or funniest experience while staying in Berlin?
I was on Alexanderplatz when I had to load a new film in my LomoKino. The surprise was when I pulled out the film leader and tried to place the end inside the camera just broke like a piece of glass ! It was something like minus 14°C and the film obviously was too cold even if taken from my bag… this never happened to me before…Winter time in Berlin! It was a bit cold, yes…haha!
Where would you like to shoot your next LomoKino video?
Well, I would have to come back as this is just the first part of my Berlin video. Then of course there would be some other cities I would really like to add to my “LomoKino in the City” project, which is a huge project in itself and I’ve just started it with the city of Berlin.
What are your future plans?
I have some plans in mind, in different fields again… plans, dreams, time will tell which ones will come true and others will stay dreams for a little bit more, maybe just for a moment, tiny or not, but to know more about my plans I think you’ll have to stay tuned and see what comes next.
Your advice to future LomoKino users.
Take a lot of film rolls, go out and have lots of FUN!