Shortly after we shared the beautiful lomography-themed book (and posters) of Irina Shepel, we got in touch with her to tell us more about her work, and how our community and analogue love became her inspiration. Check out the insightful interview after the jump!
The works of Belarusian illustrator Irina Shepel — or ishepel, as we in the community know her — first made rounds in the Magazine two years ago when she shared a set of lomographic posters she made for a school project. Hand-drawn and later rendered in eye-catching colors, the poster set featuring various film and lomographic cameras and the 10 Golden Rules were an instant hit. She probably wasn’t expecting to receive so much positive feedback — just to hear from fellow lomographers who would be interested to participate in her project. But of course, as lovers of analogue processes like traditional sketching, we all loved and appreciated her beautiful drawings!
Fast-forward to last week, we spotted phase two of her lomography-themed project — a beautiful illustration book — over at Behance, and thought that it simply was too nice not to share. As we expected, everyone loved it! So, we decided to have a chat with Irina and asked her to tell us more about the inspiration, creative process, and motivations behind her project, and also some insights about its future and reception outside the lomography world.
1. Since when have you been a lomographer/film photographer?
My first practice with film photography started in 2010 with Zenit-E. Back then I didn’t have a clue about lomography movement.
2. How has lomography/film photography influenced you as an illustrator/graphic designer?
I always been interested in film photography. As a graphic designer, I see a lot of similarity in style of my design and analogue photography. I wouldn’t call myself a digital designer; however, I do work with digital tools, of course. In my creative process, it always starts with sketching and integrating analogue design like lettering and hand-drawing which is common with lomography. I experiment a lot before get to final design.
3. What made you decide to use lomography and film cameras as inspiration for your projects?
It’s quite a long story. To make it short, I was visiting Berlin in autumn 2011. I think at that time I’ve heard about lomography from a friend of mine. There was Lomography Store on the street and I couldn’t pass it up. I came in and seen a lot of colors in there, these wonderful cameras and photos on the wall. So I decided that it would be my topic for my pre-diploma project.
When I started to make posters I wasn’t skilled in hand-drawing at all. So it was a big challenge! I planned to draw a camera a day and it worked. Bit by bit I had a collection of hand-drawn cameras which where colored and compiled into a series of posters afterwards.
The book is a second part of the project. I worked on it since 2012 since and planned to make it as my BA diploma project. However, it was a big struggle, as I didn’t get approval of my working process in school and the project was paused for while. Once there was some free time I came back to working on the book.
5. What do you consider to be the most challenging and most rewarding aspects of working on this project?
Both of projects are my personal graphic interpretation of lomography movement. It was a challenge to find right ways to express my vision. It started with drawn cameras, as I really love the idea how lomography get started. This first camera Lomo LC-A was originally invented in USSR where I was born. So I noticed some connection here. It’s incredible how an idea of something can spread all over the world. So of course, I tried to show this international aspect of lomography in the book.
For this project, I asked lomographers from different geographical points to share their lomo-portraits. It was amazing to find people who wish be a part of the book. I’d like to thank every single person who contributed to the project. After all, this is a book for people about people.
6. Which part of the project did you enjoy making the most?
In general, it was a lot of fun to work on both projects. Being a graphic designer, I think it is very important to find time for personal projects, work on something that is interesting for you. I found lomography and explored it. It wasn’t that easy to make everything from first try. So, it took loads of sketches and wasted paper. The ideas of showing something transformed in my head and I had to re-do the sketches over and over again!
The same as with posters, the process of creating a book was full of challenge, too. I decided to maximize the analogue style in the book using hand-drawing again, lettering, and film photography, of course. Being a newbie in lomography and lettering, and having basic skills in drawing – the process of creating the book started! So both projects could be described as “learning by doing.” Of course, despite countless hours of re-doing I enjoyed it a lot.
7. We’re curious: what did your school think about the posters and the book?
That’s a bit weird but in school the project wasn’t well-accepted. I mean, in my university, the idea was on the 2nd place, while execution was on the 1st. But that’s not a big deal when you see that the idea is so well-accepted amongst lomographers.
8. Are you already thinking about something to follow your posters and book?
Yep! There is one more project in the process right now.
9. Lastly, how can we get a copy of your beautiful work?
For now the book is only available online. You can download the full version on Issuu.
As it was a personal project, the main thing was to spread it and make it available for people, at least in digital format. I still need to check the possibilities of publishing. Of course, it would be great to make it happen and publish it as a real book!
Thank you so much, Irina, for taking the time to do this interview with us! Do update us once you’re done with the new project you’re currently brewing!