Meet Galina Mushinsk AKA gmushinsky who is an active member of the Lomography community and shared her story about her passion for analogue photography.
Hello, tell us a bit about yourself
I was born in Siberia and lived there (Omsk, Novosibirsk) for almost 50 years, then we moved to USA. I worked for University of Massachusetts, molecular biology laboratory. Now I am retired.
How did your interst in film photography start
I was amazed by photography from the early age. I got my first camera when I was eleven (in 1952). It was a Lubitel. My first prints were made without enlargement, by direct contact of the negative with paper. I performed it inside a wardrobe using table lamp. Later I got access to a well equipped dark room. It was not often available to me. The hours I spent there were unforgettable. At 15 I tried color film. To develop it I used several substitutes for chemicals that I couldn't get (after somewhat prolonged research when I read a lot about photography) and the result was disappointing.
Tell us about your story? You said you came back into film photography after a 15 year hiatus, what spurred you back into it?
No, it was only during one single year (about 15 years ago) that I shot mostly digital. It was when I bought a digital camera and for some time I was strongly amused with new possibilities it provided. But by the end of that year I suddenly realised that something very important and very valuable to me completely disappeared from my photography. So next year I was back to my 35mm film cameras. I tried to use digital as a support camera ( to shoot digital in preparation for shooting same subject on film) but it didn't work for me. I found it difficult to switch promptly from digital camera to film, though I did have experience of working with two or three film cameras during the same session. That's when I realised how different they are. My connection with the camera is of a different nature for film and for digital. With digital I feel very much as I felt when working in the laboratory with old spectrometer. It required many steps of choosing parameters for a better result and all it was based on your previous experience and your knowledge of the instrument and of the subject. No place for mystery in this process. When I shoot film I feel much more of a personal relationship with the camera. The process is not so rational but rather intuitive. And the moments when the intuition suddenly force you to do something completely "against rules" are wonderful. Not always the result is good but here is a chance to produce something you can't predict but only could guess that it exists. With digital you have more control over the process and it is more easy to predict the result. So probably it is easier to get it exactly as you want . But not something beyond it.
For about 10 years after that till recently I did not shoot digital at all. I even didn't use mobile camera. Now I use it occasionally but my main cameras are film cameras. What is it exactly that makes film photography so different from digital? To say truth it escapes my comprehension. I have only vague ideas though I read a lot trying to find an answer. I believe some part of it is an absence of original in digital photography. With film camera you create something - a real thing, a strip of film, when with digital you create only a record. This record can be converted into image and finally transformed into a copy that may be very similar to a copy of a film shot but the similarity of copies does not mean that the originals are identical. There is no original at all for digital. From what I read about the matter I especially like Kay Silverman "Miracle of Analogy". I am looking forward to reading the second volume which wasn't issued yet.
What is it that you like about Lomography and what made you set up a lomohome?
I joined Lomography in 2014. Before that I was active at Photosight.ru, Photoline, Street-photo, Ipernity and I am still active at Flickr. I heard about Lomography from my friends from Street-photo and I sometimes browsed Lomography long before I joined it. There are so many different sites for photographers but not so many for those who prefer film photography. And for those who do Lomography is probably the best. I like very much the friendly atmosphere here.
Do you have a favourite Lomography camera?
I love the Lubitel and Konica AutoS3. As for SLR cameras I'd rather speak about lenses not cameras because I used my favorite lenses with different bodies. My favorites are Helios 44 and Super Takumar and several Pentax 50mm lenses as well as Canon lens FD 50mm and Carl Zeiss Planar 1.8/50 and I love my monolens. I prefer prime lenses to zoom. At some point I had a Polaroid cameras but I resisted the temptation to use it. I like Polaroid photos but I just feel need to restrict myself, I have enough plans with my 35mm cameras. But last year I got Lomo'Instant Automat Glass as an award for Ten and One Competition and after I tried it I cannot stop thinking what and how to shoot with it. It is such a pleasure to watch how the picture emerges on my palm.