Alex Grünig is an ardent traveler,and he has taken his La Sardinia across Canada. Old Gypsy Man’s Hat’s frontman is making music and roaming around Montréal. In this exclusive interview, he recounts how Lomo and Photography have been with him along the way.
Here’s a really cool LomoAmigo who’s truly a jack of all trades. Alex Grünig is the frontman of indie band, a friend, an artist and a thinker. He’s taken some cool shots in Canada on his way back from travels in Southeast Asia. Read on to hear about his music, his travels, and the photos he’s taken with Lomography Cameras over the years.
Tell us about yourself — where did you grow up, where are you now, and what brought you to music and photography?
Hi! I’m Alex. Or Alexander Lancelot Grünig, according to what’s written in my birth certificate. I’m Swiss and I grew up in in Muscat, Oman and in Thurgovia, Switzerland. I was born with a suitcase. Thanks to my parents I’ve got traveler’s blood running through my veins. I just came back from a year of focusing on my music and traveling through Australia and South East Asia. Well, to be honest I already left home again. Right now I am in Montréal, Canada. Music plays a huge role in my life. I’m the front man of the Indie Rock band called Old Gypsy Man’s Hat (also known as OGMH). Music is my way of expressing my feelings and thoughts though sound and lyrics. As a kid I was mesmerized by rhythm and music, so my parents let me take piano lessons. Then one thing lead to another and now I’m the singer and guitarist in a band I formed with my best friends and working on an album.
Photography came from a whole other side. Back in 2010, a classmate, I hung out with, had an interesting little Diana Mini. I fell under a spell. Not even days passed by and I possessed a Supersampler. And this little thing with four lenses got me going. I shot through rolls of film like a madman. Soon enough I got myself a LC-A, which is my all time favorite.
What have you learned from traveling? From all the places you’ve been, which one is your favorite?
I’ve learned numerous kinds of things during my travels
- a neverending list- but here’s probably the most important and simplest life lesson I learned during traveling: Taking it easy. Life nowadays is happening so fast and everybody wants to be in control of everything all the time. And if something doesn’t work out the way people want to, they get frustrated. What I learned during traveling is not to plan everything through in advance and go with the flow. I had the most amazing experiences doing so, and I’m convinced that this philosophy can be reflected onto life. It’s really hard to choose a favorite place in a world that consists of so many beautiful spots. But if I had to choose, I would go with Thailand. It has so much to offer and backpacking through the county is amazing. It has magnificent island with breathtaking beaches and everybody is so helpful there, and don’t even want to start talking about their delicious cuisine.
You shot some beautiful photos of early Montréal— what camera and film did you use?
I brought my La Sardina – Cubic with me and I have used Kodak BW 400 CN, Lomography X-Pro Slide 200, Lomography 100 CN, Kodak Gold 100 CN (expired)
What brought you to Montreal?
Montréal is an amazing city, but first I didn’t want to go to Montréal, because I just came home from my travels in South East Asia. But I after twisting and turning the thought in my head, I convinced myself to get on the plane to North America. The trip to Montréal is actually not related to my backpacking travels. I am attending a language school to collect a couple of credits for my master in education, which I will pick back up this fall. And one of our band members actually went traveling through Eastern Europe, so the timing was perfect.
What do you aim to capture in your photographs?
I aim to capture two things in my photography. One is the life that I live, seen through my perspective. The other one is to get weird with analog lo-fi photography and trying out new ideas to achieve results I have never seen anywhere before. I do this by manipulating the film or the camera itself, for example soaking the film roll into weird liquids, exposing it to heat before shooting it through or sticking little objects into the camera. I like just being creative and experimental to get unique results. And of course I combine these two goals a lot, and with my travels I have the chance to do this all around the globe.
What do you like about shooting Lomo film and cameras?
The simplicity and creativity that comes along with it. Lomography cameras are easy to use and have all the functions I need. When it comes to taking a photo I can concentrate fully on what I want to capture on the film without having to worry if all the settings on the Lomo cam are right. And the fact that you don’t have that many buttons and options on the camera forces you to be creative with what you have and I really like this. Lomography film is simply amazing and worth every cent you spend. The fact that there are various Lomo types of film is fantastic. It has a roll for every taste. I wanted to try out the LomoChrome Purple 400 for a long time, but I never got ahold of a roll. But my all time favorite is the Lomography X-Pro Slide 200.
What brought you to the Lomo community?
Actually the moment I got my Supersampler and developed my first few rolls of film I wanted to share them with world. And since Lomography is that awesome community, I created my own account and have been busy on it since. I really love the articles and all the pictures of the other LomoHomes in the community.
Where would you like to bring your artistry next?
I’ve been working on an idea of another analog music video, but it’s still in baby shoes. I’m still deciding on how to record it, but I know it’s either going to be the LomoKino again or on Super 8 film. But I definitely want to connect my photography with my music, for good if possible.
Of course I will continue traveling with a Lomo or another analog cameras in my suitcase and hopefully capture loads of interesting pictures during my adventures. But where I am going next is still written in the stars. Another thing I am really planning on is film swaps with other photographers from other countries. So anybody who’s into that – hit me up!
Follow Alex Grünig on Instagram for more roaming stills and video.