We met Berlin-based musician Anika for the first time while she was dj-ing in the Lomography Embassy Store. We couldn’t resist giving her a Lomo LC-A+ and see what she would capture with it. She took the camera to many places around the world including Germany, Israel, Mexico and New York. Check out her analogue shots and learn more about our latest LomoAmigo!
Tell us about yourself. Where are you from and what do you do for a living?
I am a British/German musician, freelance journalist, anti-dj residing in Berlin for more than five years.
The last few have seen an accidental bias towards dj-ing, allowing the mind, body and soul to recuperate, whilst focusing on personal growth and the exploration of form for musical and mental ideas.
Using dj-ing as a vehicle to explore (and pay my bills), I soon began to appreciate the special kind of access it granted to the musical tribes of the world; a rare window on some of the most reserved, secretive groups and their followers. Invited by some of the most wonderful people, I learned about the reality of their lives, their challenges, their conquests and their dreams. I finally found a way to link music and my life-long passion for documentary journalism and understanding reality from a humanist perspective.
As a way of documenting this process, I like to take photos and log all the strange experiences in both photographic and textual form.
How long have you been shooting analogue? Or was this experience totally new to you?
I used to shoot analogue a lot but using different, older cameras. I’m certainly no expert but refuse to give in. I don’t see myself as a greedy documenter. I don’t like to exploit my subjects, so it is often about what is noticeably absent from the shot. There is also a small measure of comedy in there but perhaps just in-jokes with myself. Regardless, there is a certain innocence/naivety that comes with the learning process and I’d like to share it.
You’ve been shooting with a Lomo LC-A+ camera lately. How did you like it?
I still have a long way to go, but it’s like all hobbies; they must be worked at and refined. You need to get to know your instruments; their nooks and crannies, wine and dine them a bit. It takes a while until you break them in and get past your own mental barriers. I think this is even more the case with new things, as opposed to second hand.
What’s the best thing about the camera?
I like to use analogue because of its tendency to capture the accidental. There is also a non-gluttonous patience required until final consumption, which keeps the interest piqued and the tummy rumbling. I find nothing more annoying than being at a social event, where people are taking digital photos and immediately start flicking through and ‘reminiscing’ on an event that took place 5 seconds ago. I like to live the present. It’s about the process, not the end. Enjoy life, don’t dwell on death.
Who or what inspires you visually and musically?
When I was studying, I remember interviewing Anastasia Taylor-Lind about her documentary series of the PKK women. It’s a truly great collection and very inspirational. I also find Lee Miller’s documentation of women in war very fascinating. Both document their subjects in a very delicate manner and help bring their fascinating stories to the surface. One of the most challenging things for documentary photographers is building up that trust, so as to be granted access to often very guarded or shy communities. My favorite radio show is of course ‘from our own correspondent’ on BBC Radio 4, presented by Kate Aide.
For what photo opportunities or projects would you like to use your LC-A+ for in the future?
I wish to continue using it to document and I hope that through perseverance, I am able to do justice to the people whose experiences I want to share.
Do you have any tips for LC-A+ newbies? What should they consider before they start shooting with the camera?
The main thing is to try to keep your hands steady. I get awkward when taking shots because I hate to draw attention, so try to be subtle and swift. This often results in blurred shots. I’d say it’s better to draw attention for that second longer, than to find all your good shots ruined by blurs.
What are your future plans? Do you have any upcoming projects in 2014?
I’m working on a lot of projects right now. Since the beginning of the year, I was set on getting out of Berlin and my travels have brought some very unexpected creative gifts. I now have to lasso them into final form. This takes focus.
I am also continuing my travels, dj-ing soon in a town near you.
Thanks for the interview!