Poland-based photographer szymonburza prefers shooting on film for its tangibility and capability to capture emotions better. In this interview, he dives deeper into what makes analogue photography more “natural” than digital, the quality of a good photograph, and the Lomography Golden Rule that reflects his views on art.
Location: Poznań, Poland
Please tell us something about yourself and what you do.
I’m Szymon and I’m 22 years old. I bought my first analog camera in 2013 for less than $5.
I believe that the process of creating a good photograph goes beyond pressing the shutter button as I’ve always considered the element of meaning-making to be crucial in my work. For me, the process is just as important as the final “product”. To some extent, my way of thinking about art coincides with ideals of the conceptual movement which praised intellectualization of art and significance of the idea behind it.
How did you find the Community and who/what convinced you to join?
I’ve been following and reading Lomography magazine for a couple years now but I wasn’t aware of the Lomography Community until recently. I joined right away, seems like a perfect place to share your work. Contrary to most photography communities, it’s not digital-oriented.
As you have read the 10 Golden Rules of Lomography, what rule do you apply in your everyday life?
Despite the fact that I steer clear of labeling and pigeonholing my work, I’ve always admired Lomography movement for its ceaseless desire to think outside the box and to challenge the boundaries of photography. I think that rule #10–don’t worry about any rules–is the one I find particularly close to my perception of art. It also gives me every right to question the rest of them!
In this digital age, why still film?
I feel that film as a material is way more natural and “responsive” than digital sensors. It is capable of absorbing the feel and atmosphere so it resonates with the viewer’s emotions better. I strongly believe that as a medium, film photography has the potential to express the intangible, going beyond physical reality. There is a chance your picture turns out underexposed or grainy but digital photography is just too perfect for my liking: perfect light, colors, smoothness. Taking a hundred shots of the same spot before choosing the best frame makes the process artificial. Film is not that permissive but it lets you shoot the natural moment. And well, leaving a roll of film you’ve just finished for a few days before developing it lets you look at the shots from a different perspective. I do enjoy the element of surprise, too.
Your favorite analog camera as of the moment? Why?
My favorite camera is, without a doubt, Pentacon’s Praktica PLC3 alongside with Carl Zeiss Jena Pancolar Electric 50mm f1.8 lens. I own a few BC1s and a B200 too, but I don’t consider myself a collector. I treat my cameras as tools, but I do agree that this is a special form of partnership. Praktica BC1 was my main camera for a long time, but manual PLC3 has proven itself to be more reliable over time. As for compact cameras, I own two original, old LOMO LC-A cameras and I’m a big fan. Great choice to grasp the moment.
What is the Lomographic camera you’d want to have someday?
Definitely one of the new LOMO LC-A editions. It was a great initiative to revive this little camera. It’s easy to use and comes in handy, so the possibilities are endless.
Any song, book, or movie you live by?
As a matter of fact, I often seek inspiration in music, poetry or fiction. I’ve been hugely influenced by avant-garde musicians such as John Cage, Morton Feldman or Erik Satie, who believed that the thought behind the work, the process, and the work itself are all equally significant as artistic notions. Somehow, I find avant-garde music to be visually inciting, like a catalyst for imagination.
Share your current favorite Lomograph, could be yours or a friend’s. Why?
Street photography done right, definitely one of my faves.
Any Community member you look up to? If so, why him or her?
It’s still a new community for me and, to be honest, I haven’t made many new friends yet. I’ve come across a lot of impressive photographers, however, but here’s the one that stood out from the crowd. @mloscik is a Polish artist and a true lomographer. His voluminous collection of lomographs can be considered realist only subject-wise, as the feel is invariably ethereal. This immersive tale abounding with color, grain and light is, for me, a raw reflection of the way he perceives the world. This internally contradictory creation, devoid of artificiality, is the ideal I’ve always been pursuing in my art.
What are you looking forward to in our Community?
It’s always a huge satisfaction when your work finds its way out there, draws attention and gets appreciated. And I really look forward to getting to know about new photographers who still use film. It’s a great way to stay inspired and keep on shooting.
Thank you @szymonburza for sharing your thoughts with us! Welcome to the community and we’re looking forward to your future work!