For community newcomer tomka13, Lomography serves as a ticket to "a poetic, sentimental, surreal rendering to ordinary life," which is in tuned with his desire to record fleeting moments of freedom from the daily grind. In this interview, the young teacher from France shares more about his passion for experimentation and a selection of his favorite photographs.
Location: Paris, France
Please tell us something about yourself and what you do.
I am a young teacher in economics and sociology. I live in Saint-Ouen in the suburbs of Paris with my girlfriend and my cat. I’ve lived there for almost two years now, but I grew up in the south of France and that’s where my heart and my origins are--in Provence! Down there you can make beautiful pictures because there's much sun, my friends, the sea and mountains. That’s what I like to do in photography: Catch the moment of escape from daily life. So I’m very fond of this quote from Proust: "To travel is not to go to a thousand different places, but to see with the eyes of another..." about photography.
How did you find the Community and who/what convinced you to join?
If I remember correctly, I became interested in Lomography shortly after starting to photograph in film. I was really passionate about the history of the company that made LOMO and what the Soviet Union had achieved in general. I found a brilliant idea to continue to photograph with this kind of device. I went through the website before I decided to buy a Lomo LC-A in the Lomo Gallery Store in Paris. What really convinced me is the fantastic, even psychedelic rendering of this camera when paired with cross-processed slide film. Also, I saw that the passion of photography was very dynamic in this community of young and passionate people.
As you have read the 10 Golden Rules of Lomography, what rule do you apply in your everyday life?
"Take your camera anywhere with you" sums up pretty well the spirit of photography and of the Lomographic philosophy. Unfortunately, I still spend a lot of time thinking about the kinds of photos I'm going to make so Rule 6--Don’t think--is not for me yet. I like the idea that free styling and ignoring the rules presuppose that one has already integrated these same rules.
I’d like to get closer to my subjects and considers Lomography as more than just a period in one's life. Lomography allows an impressionist, surreal and "retro" rendering of life and that’s really fun! We are not in the faithful reproduction of reality but in its sublimation! And the Lomography devices make it possible to give a poetic, sentimental, surreal rendering to ordinary life.
In this digital age, why still film?
This is a very interesting question, for example I take a lot of digital photos (with a D5500 mounted with a Sigma F1.8 18/35mm) but with the film there is something different before, during, and after taking a photo. It requires one to think, imagine, build the photo, trigger, forget, and rediscover the photos later with better perception.
In the beginning, the use of films for me entails the possibility of giving a second life to high-quality and reasonably priced cameras and also to learn to make photos for real. To return to the source of photography is fascinating. What a texture! What a grain! What a feeling! Gradually it became exciting shooting on film and especially with Lomography because it is a real challenge. It is a bit like wanting to exploit all the classic defects of photography (chromatic aberrations, vignettes, saturation...) and succeed in making it something beautiful! Well at the moment I am still far from being able to do what I want but I’m having fun!
Your favorite analogue camera as of the moment ? Why?
I have several but I think that the Kiev 4AM with its Jupiter 8M 53mm F2 is really a sensational device. It is a pure pleasure to take pictures with this solid telemetry. It goes through time and it really has an incredible story 1, 2.
And it has an incredible precision, apart from the "light leak" that appears in the pictures. Moreover, the lens is really fast and bright at f2 so you really come back to the basics of photography with this kind of device, which seems eternal, unbreakable and far from the programmed obsolescence of modernity.
What is the Lomography camera you’d want to have someday?
The Lomography camera I would like to buy is the Lomo LC-A 120 or LC-Wide for example. Obviously I’m thinking of soon investing in a Kiev 88 to take photos in medium format. That would be a possible approach to achieve the perfection of the Hasselblad 500C at a lower cost.
Any song, book, or movie you live by?
At the moment, I like listening to old albums of Rollings Stones including a cover of a standard of Gospel "Can I get a Witness?". Why? Because I like the collective effervescence. Another song is "The Weight" by The Band which reminds me of escape and travel.
For movie: The Big Lebowski by the Cohen Brothers is for me an institution in popular movies.
For a book: The Road by Jack Kerouac. I find in it an atmosphere that I appreciate and that makes me want to photograph! The atmosphere of great spaces, comrades and political struggle!
Share your current favorite Lomograph, could be yours or a friend’s. Why?
Do you hear the “call of the wild” when you look at him?
Any Community member you look up to? If so, why him or her?
I love surfing around the site seeing the photos taken by the community. I am a fan of photos taken with the Hasselblad 500 and especially those who took these amazing photos with the incredible Kodak Aerochrome III 1443 film. The rendering is totally crazy.
But I also love all the lomographers who don’t hesitate to experiment and take pictures on the go. Those who pushes the limits of the photography. Those who creates a particular universe.
What are you looking forward to in our Community?
I would like to meet other lomographers and discover their universes. Share their passions, discover new devices, tips, showcase photos that I appreciate and obviously share my new photos and experiences.
Thank you @tomka13 for sharing your thoughts with us! We're looking forward to seeing your future work!