For this new series, I’m looking for scientist lomographers in the community. I’ll try to let you get to know them better through a series of interviews and their favorite photos.
- Name: Víctor González Ruiz
- Location: Madrid
- Lomohome: vgzalez
- Occupation: Pharmacist and PhD student in Analytical Chemistry, in the Faculty of Pharmacy at the Complutense University
Let’s start with an easy one, how did you begin with lomography?
Well, it was thanks to my girlfriend. She bought me an Oktomat for Christmas and like this I started taking photos, playing with the camera and taking the rolls to the lab after many years. Then, she gave me a Diana F+ with its wide angle lens and that summer, I bought an LC-A+. I was completely hooked!
As for science, did you know as a child that your place was in the lab?
I remember that as a kid I was telling my parents all the time that I wanted to take the “career of a scientist.” I spent my time mixing things and making experiments, so I guess I can answer, “yes.” Then, it took me some time to know which kind of scientist I wanted to be and, as I couldn’t decide, I chose Pharmacy because you get to learn a bit of everything. I love my job and I feel enthusiastic about it every day and, even though sometimes everything seems overwhelming and you just want to give up, you know that the satisfaction you’ll get will be worth it.
Tell us about your daily life. Have you ever taken your cameras to school or to your workplace?
When I started with lomography I wasn’t going to school anymore, so I couldn’t take it! But sometime later, I was about to take a camera to class where I teach lab lessons, but I never dared, because I don’t want the students to think that I’m crazier than I look. Ours is a historic building, so it’s quite ancient and photogenic; more than at the lab, I’ve taken pics around the corridors, in the basement or to strange machines.
Have you dared to do some crazy experiment with your cameras and films inspired by a topic you have worked on?
Not really, but I should! Despite working in chemistry, I’m always afraid of the film getting blocked and breaking the camera after having soaked it in some kind of magical potion. What I have to try now is developing at home. I’ve had the tank for a long time but I haven’t bought the chemicals yet, so I think I’m going to try with caffenol.
Whether it was done in a lab or not… can you show us your most scientific and experimental pic?
Photos from the labs where I work. Done when the lights go down and there’s nobody around…the best moment!
Now, let’s get a bit philosophical. What connection do you see between science and analogue photography – apart from the chemistry of developing?
For me, more than in the chemistry of developing, it is in the chemistry of the image formation. As working with light is a huge part of my work, I like thinking in lenses, in filters, in how the light deflects, molds, changes before reaching the film. And once there, how it alters the emulsion forever, how it irreversibly forms the image. For me, that’s even more fascinating than the developing itself. Because, in the end, most of our photos are developed in a way that’s always the same, but normally we don’t take the same picture twice, do we?
Finally, do you have any other analogue hobby?
Well, I guess it’ll sound a bit like a cliché, but I have to say “books.” I can’t see myself with an e-book reader. I need to touch books, feel them, take notes, feel the smell of the ink and the paper and having them on the shelf. I love photography books and the feeling of leafing through them, their touch and smell… you can’t store that in bytes!
What about you? Are you a LomoScientist in hiding? Contact me and introduce yourself to the rest of the community!