On a gorgeously hot day in Paris, international photographer Timothy Nesmith took to the streets with the Lomo'Instant Square Glass. We caught up with him to talk about his time capturing giggling kids, solitary sunbathers, and fabulous French characters.
Hey Timothy! Welcome back the Lomography Magazine. You’ve been busy since we last spoke — tell us about your trip to Paris?
Thank you for having me back. Paris, as always, was incredible. It was a weekend filled with good friends, exceptional food, plenty of wine, and great memories. I spent almost the entire weekend outdoors walking around the city bouncing from café to café to park to café. It was one of the rare trips where I allowed myself this uninhibited indulgence and it is something I really love.
It looks like the weather was brilliant for shooting. How did you get on with the Lomo'Instant Square Glass?
It was brilliant weather for just about everything and I got on quite well with the camera. No frost bite this time!
You used the Instant Mini Back this time. How did you find it switching between formats?
Switching itself is quite easy. I prefer to have as much frame to work with as possible, so I have to say I like the square format more and I am excited to try the wide as well. The mini format is quite unique to me and I think the way to get the best out of it is to find scenarios that are suited to that specific ratio… patterns, textures and so on.
What’s your favorite instant shot from this series?
There’s a few photos in this series of my girlfriend, who was with me in Paris. Not only because I find that they have an extremely cool aesthetic, but also because of the memories associated with them (this is one of the things photos are for, right?), they’d be my favorites.
Aside from those, I have two other ones. There’s a photo of a little girl playing in a fountain that I love. First, the composition worked out perfectly with another kid running through the background and second, (and more importantly), everything in this photo is pure emotional joy. The happiness that comes from playing in a fountain is essential childhood, and the feeling that goes along with it is contagious. It's Paris on an unseasonably hot day.
The second photo I love is of an older woman standing in line at a pâtisserie. She has flip-up sunglasses and a wicked polka-dot dress. Here, I not only love the colors, but also the feeling that this could be Paris from 40 years ago just as much as it could be today.
You seem to have a real knack for capturing the beauty of strangers just going about their daily lives. Do you ever face any problems approaching people on the street with your camera?
Occasionally people will ask not to have their photo taken, but usually they’re quite polite about it and it’s something I really understand. I’ve never had a confrontation and I really dislike this idea of photographing people who don’t want to be photographed.
With the Lomo'Instant Square Glass, all my interactions were positive. People loved the camera and were exceptionally curious about it. It’s a conversation starter and I even let the bartender at one of my favorite apéritif spots give it a try. He had a blast.
Do you have tips for people who want to take up street photography for themselves?
Look for emotion… look for things that mean something to you, personally, rather than trying to imitate an aesthetic.
What’s coming up for you in the future? Any interesting projects you’re working on?
Yes! Tons! May and June should be quite exciting months. In May, I’ll head to Bangladesh with the IRC to shoot a project about the ongoing crisis involving the Rohingya refugees who are fleeing shocking violence in Myanmar. There are nearly 700,000 refugees who have arrived since August and we’ll focus on the support they’ll need to endure the potentially devastating monsoon season, which will start at the end of May.
In June I’ll head to Bogota for another stop with Pleasurekraft on his debut album tour. I’ve never been to Colombia and I’ve only heard great things about Bogota, so it should be a great trip.
From there, it’s on to Morocco where I’ll shoot a wedding for an incredible couple who are bringing their international friends and families together in Marrakech. I’m going to stay a couple of extra days there and head to the World Sacred Music Festival in Fez. I’ve never been and the music seems too special to pass up.
From there, I’ll be in London and then Russia shooting with Beats by Dr. Dre at the 2018 World Cup.
In July, I’ll sleep.