Cultural diversity is the buzzword with one of our newest Lomo Amigos: Giant Robot’s Eric Nakamura who covers all things hip, cool and chic in the Asian-American front.
Eric Nakamura, magazine mogul and urban cultural aficionado/entrepreneur, hails from Los Angeles and graduated from UCLA with a degree in East Asian Studies. He got his start in magazine making through a stint at Larry Flynt Publications before branching our in his own right. In addition to publishing issues of Giant Robot Magazine, Nakamura has made an independent movie called Sunsets, has shot photos for punk rock bands, and designed some wicked t-shirts.
Applying know how and attitude from the co-editors’ punk rock zine background, the first Giant Robot Magazine was a stapled-and-folded photocopied digest with an edition of 240. Over time, Giant Robot has grown over 100 times larger, and has gained accolades as the best zines according to the L.A. Weekly, L.A. New Times, Wired, and Zine Guide.
Eric went on to open up 3 Giant Robot Stores in LA, San Fran, and New York’s East Village. The Giant Robot stores feature in house art shows from fresh talent and sell carefully curated items catered towards the skateboarder-artist-Japanese toy collector in all of us.
Check out this cool LC-A+ gallery, and enjoy a interview with Mr. Giant Roboto himself, Eric Nakamura.
REAL NAME Eric Nakamura
CITY Los Angeles
How long have you been a Lomographer (or are you new to this whole thing?)
EN: I used a Holga before Lomo got their hands on it, perhaps in 1990. I have an original Diana as well. I could say I was once a photographer since that was my main source of income. I shot a lot of punk rock, and journalism, but using the Compact Automat is completely new. Compared to SLR gear, this feels really tiny. Lomo can redefine how people see photography.
Describe the LC-A+ in five words.
EN: Forgiving, surprising, artistic, refreshing, restoring…
The strangest, funniest, or hands-down greatest photographic/Lomographic encounter that you have ever had.
EN: I can’t say I’ve had a funny one. I’ve heard of a few nightmares where “important” photos didn’t work out right at all with the Lomo. However, one thing that’s great about the Lomo is that when I get the images back it’s definitely special. Those moments that I may have discounted when I shot the photos feel nostalgic. The color shift, grain, and depth of field, work perfectly with my fading memories. Only with a Lomo LCA can the lack of focus really not make a difference and actually work out positively. I’d say, if I used my digital cameras for many of these same photos, they would have much less impact, nostalgia, and staying power.
If your photos shown here could have a soundtrack of three songs, what would they be (song title & artist please).
- Explosions in the Sky – First Breath After Coma
- My Bloody Valentine – To Here Knows When
- Cocteau Twins – Cherry Coloured Funk
Your favorite robot(s) of all time. What makes it (them) the best?
EN: Giant Robot, of course, I’m not even talking about our magazine, it’s something you’ll have to look up from the early 70s. A live action robot that was sort of like the Godzilla of robots. Of course Gundam, and Macross, but “Shogun Warriors” and Transformers did a lot for robot toys, which then influenced designers and led to even better on screen robots.
If you could be anywhere, doing anything, right now – where would it be and what would you do?
EN: I’d be in Tokyo, perhaps in Nakameguro area hanging out. It’s a mellow area, sort of like an old neighborhood paradise in a crowded area. There’s shops and all that, but it feels natural and laid back. Things are cute there, but at the same time, neighborhood like, and only a train stop away, it’s back to the crazy pop culture hectic-ness, which is also great.
Honestly now: Los Angeles or San Francisco, and why?
EN: LA. It’s my home. There’s more of everything and at the same time, in some ways, less, which would make a lot of people say that SF is in the middle. But since we’re talking about SF leaving out Berkeley, Oakland, etc, it’s an easy call. SF is now an upper middle class neighborhood. In LA, you can still be anonymous and no one would care. You can walk somewhere and die and not be found for a while. In SF, people would be in your face. For the exact reasons that I spell out what I like LA best, that’s exactly why some people in SF dislike
it and vice versa. Really, the idea isn’t to compete.
Tell us at least one musical act from Japan who we should all listen to.
EN: Eastern Youth, hands down. Emo, punk rock, and awesome. No one plays with more feeling that they do. The lead singer looks like he’s crying, when he’s actually yelling. Their shows in Tokyo can feature kids crying in the front row. They sing about the working people. They’re from the north, and completely an indie band who’s made it work.
Can you tell when a Lomographer walks into your store? Do they look or act in a special way?
EN: Not exactly, although, wearing the camera seems more common. I don’t wear my digital cameras, or an SLR for that matter, but for some reason, having a LOMO camera on a strap around a neck, or on a shoulder, is nearly a fashion statement. That’s sort of odd. Most are indie looking kids, often Asian in my shop. They’re seldom jock like, but we don’t get them shopping much anyway. Brendan Frasier comes in and he’s a Lomo freak. I like seeing what a Lomographer shoots. It can be mundane at first, but you can’t underestimate what they’re seeing and going to be get out of it, once the film is processed and printed.
Your advice to future LC-A+ shooters.
EN: Just shoot a lot and you’ll get the feel of what happens to the photos. It’s still unpredictable at times, so “mastering” the LCA isn’t really possible. Just shoot and ask questions later and forget the instruction manual.