Toronto based photographer Anojan Sathasivam has a soft quality to his photographs. Continuously observing the world around him, he shot with The Lomo'Instant Automat Glass. We were able to chat with him about working with the camera and instant photo format.
Hi Anojan, welcome to the magazine! Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Hi, I’m Anojan and I’m an urban planner and photographer from Toronto, ON, Canada.
How'd you get introduced to photography?
I first got into photography when I had bought a Minolta X-370 from a thrift store. I had always wanted to shoot film for fun growing up, but wasn’t able to as my parents mainly used our 35mm point and shoot for parties and travel. When I first bought the Minolta, I was floored at the build quality, the way life looked through the lens and on the film itself. It was different, in the best way possible.
What qualities about shooting analog do you think hold over digital?
The process. I think you have to learn to be patient with film photography. You will make mistakes, you will mess up a couple or few rolls sometimes. I enjoy the fact that I’m limited to a certain number of shots and can’t be firing away like I would on digital. This makes me think about the composition even more. I also love the film grain, colours, and textures.
What about instant film do you enjoy?
I love that it gives you something tangible to hold onto right away. You capture this raw moment that is imperfect (the colours aren’t always accurate and the sharpness isn’t comparable to other photography formats). I also love the fact that I can just give it to someone, this physical memory, right away.
You shot with the Lomo'Instant Automat Glass, what was your experience working with that camera?
This camera is amazing, and honestly underrated. It’s light, sharp for instant film cameras, and the design is well thought of. I shoot a lot of low light and the f4.5 lens makes it very nice to shoot with. The lens cap doubling as a remote is genius, avoiding camera shake when I am shooting bulb.
You certainly have an observational quality to your photos, what's your process like when you decide to go out and shoot?
Keeping my eyes wide open at all times. I walk, drive, and bus a lot. If I see something, I’ll note it down to come back to later, or I get out and shoot right away. It’s best to shoot right away as the moment might not be the same the next time you arrive.
Who or what are your influences?
Music and cinema are my biggest influences. Every time I watch a movie with great cinematography it inspires me to shoot more photos. Some of my favourite photographers include Ernst Haas, Andrei Tarkovsky, Todd Hido, and Ansel Adams.
You seem to have a pretty diverse portfolio of subjects ranging from street to portraiture, what about these subjects do you find interesting?
I try not to limit myself in terms of subjects. I’m easily inspired by many things and want to try new things. Suburban landscapes are influenced by my background in urban planning. I love portraits simply because I get to make a one-on-one connection with the person.
What advice can you give to photographers working with instant photography?
Take your time and be very patient. You will be frustrated when you get shots you don’t like. Instant photography is unique because different cameras perform differently. It will take a few packs of film to learn what your camera is like in different settings and situations. Make notes on your outcomes so you can avoid the same mistake. For example, I learned instant film tends to hate varied lighting situations. If you have deep shadows with harsh highlights, the camera will try to expose for either the highlights, making your image too dark, or the shadows, making it too overexposed. Try to find even lighting and don’t be afraid to experiment with flash! I used to avoid it all the time, but learned to love and accept flash in instant photography. It’s honestly a core feature that’s been used for instant for a very long time.