Sébastien Panzarella and Florian Lanni, two photography lovers, traveled to Japan with the iconic LC-A 120 and the sturdy Lomo'Instant Wide. For Lomography, they share this landmark experience in the land of the rising sun.
Hello Sébastien, hi Florian! Tell us more about you.
Sébastien. Hello! I'm Sébastien, I'm 38 years old and living near Paris. I'm an amateur photographer. My favorite topics in photography are skateboarding and since recently, travels.
Florian. Hi! My name is Florian I'm a photographer since 7 years and I'm mainly working for skateboard magazines. Thanks to skateboarding, I have the opportunity to travel and discover many different countries and cultures.
Tell us your story about photography?
S. I started when I was young and when my father lent me his Canon FT for a trip in New York where I shot my very first film. My high school had a photo club so I got into film development. Then, after many years, I got involved again in photography but this time with digital cameras. At that time, I shot my friends during skateboarding sessions. Afterwards, I started to buy some gear and to shoot more seriously.
F. From my side, it started with videography. We shot some skateboarding videos just for the fun with some friends and one day I found a camera in the garage and was curious so I started to take photos. Since then, I've never stopped shooting.
Your very first camera?
S. My very first SLR camera was a Canon 40D. Before this camera, my father lent me his Canon FT then his Canon A1 camera.
F. I started with an analogue Canon camera owned by my father. Then I used digital camera I bought from a friend who was a photographer. It didn't work very well but I bought it for a very cheap price so I was still happy about it.
And what about analogue photography?
S. I came back to analogue photography pretty quickly because I was tempted by the material dimension of this medium. Step by step, analogue photography has become more important than digital.
F. I really got into analogue photography when I was 18 and met my father's girlfriend who was a photographer. He transmitted his passion by showing me all of his books about analogue photography.
You were in Japan this summer. Could you tell us more about your trip?
S&F. We joined together and started in Tokyo. We spent a few days there before taking a train to reach the South of the archipelago to Nagasaki where there was the Kunchi festival. Then we went North and stopped by Miyajima island, with its famous monastery and its torii. Then, Kyoto and its famous golden palace, Fuji, Nikko sanctuary and we ended up at Kamikochi, a nice natural place of Japanese Alps.
How did you choose a camera instead of another to shoot some particular places and topics?
S. The LC-A 120 Camera is simple compared to other medium format camera and is very efficient for street photography. We used the Lomo'Instant Wide Camera for portraits and landscapes. There is something magical about instant photography. Getting the shot a few seconds later is awesome. I remember once I shot a married couple and gave them the shot. This sharing aspect is the Lomo'Instant Wide's strength.
F. The choice was pretty simple. We wanted a camera which would be easy to use and carry everywhere (the LC-A 120) and another instant one. We picked up the cameras according to these requirements. And indeed we didn't have much choice since our backpacks were already full.
What is the first thing that come to your mind when you are shooting?
S. The frame and then the light.
F. Quite a tricky question. I have many things in mind but the light is one of the first thing I'm thinking about.
Please share your thoughts about these cameras.
S. The LC-A 120 is very fun and convenient, all you have to do is framing and triggering. It's my favorite. The Lomo'Instant Wide is a little more difficult to apprehend because its aim is a little particular; but once you've understood the trick, it's quite amazing. On the other hand it's quite greedy in films - we are willing to trigger more often due to its spontaneity!
F. I fell in love with the LC-A 120 which is my favorite one. This camera is lightweight and allows you to shoot easily and quickly and to get sharp shots.
What can we found in your backpacks?
S. Warm clothes, sleeping bag, ground sheet and a tent. And my faithful cameras and films. It's quite heavy in the end for this kind of trip.
F. Too many things! A sleeping bag, ground sheet and a tent, camping stove...all the backpacker gear, some negative films (some LomoChrome Purple films, a pack of Turquoise film, XPro slide, two packs of Fuji color and one of B&W) and all you need for coffee...
Any tipsters for people who are planning a trip to Japan?
S. Rent a car and follow the small mountain road. Take your time and enjoy city strolls.
F. I don't have any particular advice because I never prepare my trips. I like adventure. All I can say is that you must be prepared to double your budget because it's an expensive destination.
A funny moment to share?
S. I think that one of my favorite moments was the evening we spent in Nagasaki, when it rained all day and that in the evening we found ourselves in a typical Japanese restaurant where they were very astonished to see us. No waxing reproduction of dishes and menu written in Japanese only, which did not make it easy for us to choose! The atmosphere quickly relaxed when a woman who spoke a little bit of English came and asked us some question for her curiosity. The atmosphere warmed up a little more when the table behind us repeatedly offered us glasses of a plum-based alcohol. We came out quite happy of this rather well watered evening - we were glad of our restaurant choice!
F. All of the trip was funny. Many great moments but the funniest part was to sleep in a tent with a temperature close to 0°C with a sleeping bag not warm enough, and to spend the night filling hot water bottles.
A favorite picture? Why this one in particular?
S. The one with Florian who is taking a picture, leaning at the train window. We were so excited! We just had left Tokyo, it was the beginning of the adventure. For me, it sums up our stay in Japan: train, photos and fun!
F. I love the photo of the little kid with his school bag called "RANDOSERU". In Japan, all the elementary school pupils have the same bags, they keep it several years, it's like a uniform... My friend Shinya had talked to me about this, so when I saw this young boy, I took this picture which is very representative of Japan for me.
Lomography rhymes with...
S. Photography? Sorry, my imagination is quite limited haha!
Follow the work of Sébastien and Florian on their websites and social media channels:
• Sébastien Panzarella: his website, his Instagram account & Facebook Page.
• Florian Lanni: his website, his Instagram Account & Facebook Page ; his travel blog and its Instagram account.