Australia-based teacher Mike Crawley stumbled upon the Lomography Community while researching for a graphic design class assignment, where he asked his students to try their hand at film photography. Aiming to encourage the class to continue this analogue approach, he joined the Community as @drmanberrys, sharing photographs that are experimental and unique. Get to know our Newcomer of the Week in this interview.
Please tell us something about yourself and what you do.
I am a graphic design and film and television teacher at a private college in Brisbane (Australian Institute of Advanced Studies). I have always had an interest in photography because of influences from my father, uncle and cousins all of whom were into photography. I had been using film all the way up to the mid 90’s then completely abandoned it for digital due to my work requirements at the time.
I have a growing analogue camera collection including my late fathers Canon AE-1 Program which I love shooting with as it brings back so many memories of my childhood and sneaking into his cupboard to play around with it. I have particularly enjoyed getting back to my roots of shooting with film and my new found love of the Lomography way of doing things.
How did you find the Community and who/what convinced you to join?
I found the Community while doing research for an assignment I was setting my graphic design students. The assignment required them to research traditional and contemporary photography and experiment with a variety of techniques to create unique imagery to be displayed at the end of year graduation. I made it a requirement that they shoot a minimum of two photos using either 35 mm or instant film and I would cover the costs involved. As it turned out the students have enjoyed the process so much that it has snow-balled and everyone has shot at least three to five rolls of film, multiple instant photos, and we still have six months before graduation.
I decided to become a part of the Lomography Community to share my images with like-minded people and to encourage my students who are rediscovering or discovering film for the first time to join the Lomography Community.
As you have read the 10 Golden Rules of Lomography, what rule do you apply in your everyday life?
Rule 10 (Don't worry about any rules). Being a teacher I have enough rules to deal with so it is bliss to be able to just go with the flow.
In this digital age, why still film?
Coming full circle back to film has been a step back in time, reliving my childhood to early adulthood. It has allowed me to slow down and appreciate the whole experience of creating my imagery, from selecting a film stock from the huge variety of unique film that is available today, to testing the cameras I have purchased to show my students old camera technology and all of us enjoying the experimentation and varied results.
Your favorite analogue camera as of the moment? Why?
My favorite analogue camera is currently my Agfa Record III. It is a medium format folding rangefinder camera from the early 50’s. I just love the 6x9 medium format and although I have only had a single successful image from it due to shutter issues I really love the look and quality it produces.
What is the Lomography camera you’d want to have someday?
I would love to have a Belair X 6-12 Jetsetter to play with as I am currently loving the 6x9 medium format. Or a Sprocket Rocket because I really dig sprocket holes.
Any song, book, or movie you live by?
I don’t live by any song, book or movies but I do love the music by the Foo Fighters.
Share your current favorite Lomograph, could be yours or a friend’s. Why?
I like this particular Lomograph because it was completely unintentional, has a lot of depth and when I try to remember the shots taken, I can make out certain details but then they just seem to disappear.
The frame counter doesn’t work properly on this camera (Zenit 12S) and it was my first time using it since it was purchased. I had forgotten that the roll I was shooting was 24 exposures as it had been sitting in the camera for a few months. Thinking I may have 36 exposures I just kept winding until I thought I had taken enough shots to use up the film (the winding did feel a little crunchy towards the end but I decided to keep winding and see what happens). When I was spooling the film in the dark bag I felt that it had split and after the negatives had been developed I realised what had happened.
This is the last frame with at least five exposures that I can make out from memory.
Any Community member you look up to? If so, why him or her?
Not as yet because I have not had much of a chance to explore what others are creating but I was blown away by How to Take Symmetrical Images by Exposing Both Sides of the Film by @hodachrome. The technical difficulty to produce these stunning images is mind-boggling.
What are you looking forward to in our Community?
I always look forward to the tutorials and articles, they are always informative, inspirational and always drive me to try new things.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, Mike! Welcome to the Lomography Community and we're looking forward to seeing more of your photos.