UK-based Lomographer Meita and her sister, who resides in Japan, rely on photography to overcome the distance between them. Instead of shooting random snippets of their daily grind, they challenged each other to use only one roll of film while hunting for particular subjects to take photographs of. Along the way, this simple bonding activity developed into a storytelling platform for fellow film photographers. In this interview, Meita talks about their aptly titled worldwide photography project, 36 Frames Later.
Please introduce yourself to the Lomography community.
Hello! My name is Meita (@meitads on the community). I’m an Indonesian currently based in the UK. I’ve been shooting film for about 6 years now. It all started with a plastic Holga and my most treasured La Sardina.
What is 36 Frames Later and what is its aim?
36 Frames Later is a worldwide photographic storytelling project that aims to document the daily lives of photographers living in various exciting places within the lovely 36 frames of film. Our participants are from Japan, Spain, South Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, and UK.
Who or what inspired you to start this project?
I created the initial idea with my sister @rianieve who’s currently living 9,000 km away from me in Tokyo. It has been nearly four years since we last lived together so we wanted to find out and document how similar or different our lives have become. Realizing how exciting this could be, we decided to open the challenge to the world of analogue shooters.
Walk us through the process. How did you decide on the themes? How did you gather your participants?
The idea behind this project revolves around spontaneous creativity, how one could capture one’s daily life into a thrilling photographic narrative. Participants were given 36 days to shoot 36 frames inspired by particular themes. Some are straightforward such as “my morning routine,” “my style of photography,” and “my city under the sun or rain.” Other themes were more challenging to interpret such as fear, bliss, and space.
The themes were co-created with the participants because we want these to be simple enough to shoot in between our busy lives but still remain exciting to allow room for creativity. The catch is that we were only allowed to shoot one photo per theme which forced us to rethink the way we see our everyday routines!
We gathered participants online through word of mouth and before we knew it a number of amazingly talented photographers joined us.
Any challenges you faced while doing this project?
Creative thinking was the most challenging factor for a lot of us especially for open-ended themes like: “This is how we do” and strength! But it was definitely a fun challenge to face.
Why did you choose to focus on photographers who shoot on film?
I personally feel that film photography has that indescribable ability to create memories. Like when you look back at your old childhood albums, all the pictures that make you smile now were probably shot on film. I want this project to be a part of this memory creation process. It’s about us documenting our current selves. Someday we’ll look back at these pictures and hopefully they would make us smile.
What does it mean to be a film photographer in this digital age?
I think more than anything it gives us a sense of community. I love that even when film photographers use the same medium they can create results that are different from each other! It’s such an inspiring and exciting circle to be in.
What’s next after 36 Frames Later? Any plans on making a follow-up project?
We are definitely planning on doing a second project. Maybe something slightly different from 36 Frames Later just to shake things up a bit! Do drop us a message if you’re interested in participating.
Any last words or is there anything that you’d like to add?
We are a group of photographers who are really keen on sharing stories and collaborating. So if you ever fancy exploring a certain city, especially the ones listed above, or creating a new project with us, drop us a message.
Follow 36 Frames Later on Instagram to see more photographs from this project.