LomoAmigo and music photographer Sophia Ragomo chats with us about her inspirations, working with bands, and her experience with the Lomo'Instant Square. She's always getting Instant photos signed in amazing ways, and the Instant Square is no exception!
Welcome back to Lomography Magazine! Since we last chatted can you tell us what you've been up to?
I got to shoot a lot of things this past summer that I never expected a year ago. I went to London for a few weeks, and while there, I shot Alt-J and Blaenavon at The O2 Arena. It was my first arena show, so that opportunity will always be special to me. I also got to shoot some portraits with a few bands that were on my bucket list for a while, like The Orwells, SWMRS, and Joywave.
So as a music photographer, you're using pretty nontraditional gear already. Can you talk about that?
One of my favorite cameras to use for band portraiture is the Lomo' Instant Wide. I love the somewhat retro colors that come out of the Instax film and the camera's flexibility to shoot in a variety of lighting situations. I have been shooting performances on film for a while now, but I have recently been getting into using more non-instant film for portraits as well. I am especially loving the Diana F+ with the Lomography Color 400 120 film. I love the lo-fi haze of that camera and the accidental light leaks it sometimes produces. They always add a unique touch to the photo that is completely unexpected!
How do bands react to the use of different cameras?
Band members are always fascinated with the different cameras I bring. Most people in the music photography world now shoot on digital, mostly because of quick deadlines and turn-around times, and all digital cameras have a fairly normal look to them. When I pull out one of my Lomography cameras, I always get lots of questions about where I got the camera, how old it is, and what kinds of photos it makes. Especially when I shoot with my instant camera, band members are excited when the first photo pops out. Instant film isn't really a common practice in music photography, so bands love to watch it develop because some of them have never seen anything like it before.
So do you feel like it helps you connect to your subject in a special and unique way?
My main inspirations for my work are photographers from the 60s/70s/80s, like Neal Preston, Mick Rock, and Brad Elterman, who shot some of the biggest names in music at the time such as Led Zeppelin, Queen, and David Bowie. It's amazing to me that these photographers shot completely with film. It gives the photographs a nostalgic and personal quality that I think is missing in digital photography. Especially in photographs of bands backstage or off-duty, I love the intimate, candid feel when using film. In my work, this is the effect that I am trying to achieve. Because film gives you an incredibly limited number of shots compared to digital, it makes me think a lot more about the photos I am taking with a band instead of continuously snapping away, hoping I get the shot.
Regarding instant photography have you used the square format before?
I have! In addition to my Lomography instant camera, I also own a Polaroid camera and shoot Impossible film with that.
Are there any advantages to square format?
Absolutely. One thing I like about the square format is that it is reminiscent of old family photos that my parents have from their childhoods, taken in the 70s and 80s with Polaroid film. I also love that square format film is a similar shape to an album cover. Being a music photographer, one of my goals has always been to shoot an album cover for a band, and with square format, it's like the photos are little mini album covers.
What do you like about Lomography instant cameras compared to others you've used?
My favorite thing about my Lomography instant cameras is the control over photos it provides you with. On my Polaroid, it only has one setting — automatic. Lomography cameras have the ability to turn off the flash, use bulb mode, or expose photos many times. The multiple exposure is my favorite feature simply because it's something so different that has never been possible with a Polaroid.
written by Katherine Phipps on 2017-09-25