Lexi Zozulya is an incredibly talented New York-based photographer. Always experimenting and producing great work in the process, he now goes by the avatar ‘ch3m1st.’
Name: Aleksey Zozulya
Location: New York City
Gear: Lomo LC-A 120
Armed with a Lomo LC-A 120, Lexi Zozulya photographed New York City in a different light. He traveled on a helicopter and on foot to document his adventures and show his own perspective of New York City. He has been experimenting with a variety of techniques, locations and subjects in the city, developing a style composed of a myriad of elements. Get to know him through this quick interview.
Please tell us more about yourself.
I’m a 28-year-old creative living in NYC. I currently work in retail merchandising & operations, but am interested in pursuing a career in photography & marketing. While originally from the Soviet Union, I have spent most of my life in New York and call it home.
How did you get involved in photography? And what made you decide to use such an interesting avatar – ‘ch3m1st’?
My first exposure to photography was in a high school chemistry class when I worked on a project about photosensitive chemicals. I tried my hand at shooting, developing & printing my own film shots. I paid attention to the camera industry since then upgrading to various DSLRs over the years. I went on to get a bachelor of science in chemistry and created my online presence while leet ( 1337 ) was cool. Thus chemist = ch3m1st. While I’m no longer in the science industry professionally, I carry on a curiosity for experimentation and attention to detail in my work. My passion for photography grew exponentially over the past three years in large part due to Instagram. I dusted off my cameras and joined a dynamic creative community of photographers. I’ve been fortunate to have phenomenal growth and the opportunities I’ve had thanks to that platform have been amazing.
You shot a really beautiful series with the Lomo LC-A 120. Could you tell us more about your adventures?
First I took it on an instameet along the east river. Walking from the Williamsburg to Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges, each represent a vital connection and have their own character. Walking around the city with other photographers challenges me to get creative with shots. My favorite from this adventure is the puddle reflection. I got down on the ground and got mud all over me just to get the shot. I also had the opportunity to take it up on the roof of the W Downtown, overlooking 1 WTC. It happened on a whim when a friend with access invited me up. I’ve also included things from my daily life such as a commute from Staten Island, to exploring around Grand Central during my lunch break. I’m also fortunate to be a contributing aerial photographer for NY on Air, and took the LC-A up on a sunset shoot. The motion and low light was a bit of a challenge but the mood was captured.
What inspired you to shoot this series?
When I capture the city, my goal is to represent it in a way that’s accurate for those that haven’t seen it, and excite those that see it all the time. I have a motto of exposing the extraordinary in the every day. Buildings & cityscapes rarely change, but lighting and perspectives do.
How did you find the Lomo LC-A 120? What was your impression of it?
The LC-A 120 is deceptively simple. I’m used to DSLRs and instant gratification, or a Hasselblad with precise manual controls. The LC-A allows you to just focus on composition. I also had many people stop me in the streets and ask about it. It’s not a typical point and shoot for sure.
What did you like best about this camera?
I love how wide the built in lens is. It can capture a lot more of a scene than most standard cameras.
I found the abstract series on your personal site very intriguing. Please share how you came about shooting it.
Last fall I injured my knee and could not go out and explore the city. I decided to get creative in my own house with a makeshift studio. I experimented with color, flash, long exposure, texture and abstracts. It’s grown to be an extensive series on Instagram under #chmstco. I continue to experiment with a variety of techniques and subjects with the mindset of a science inspired outcome, and the occasional double take of materials.
What advice would you give to current or future users of the Lomo LC-A 120?
Be mindful of shutter speed in low light. For crisp shots, use a cable release and a tripod. Also pay attention to the multiple exposure switch.
Besides photography, what do you love to do?
I’ve dabbled a lot in life from competitive ballroom dancing to recording classical guitar. Photography is still my longest running passion but I have a hunger for knowledge and trying new things.
If you could pick any place or anything to shoot, where or what would it be?
I’m a sucker for high perspectives in a city. Whether it’s a tall window, a rooftop, or a helicopter, I enjoy getting high (literally).