For Romania-based Lomographer Păpară Ioan-Paul, or @paultronicus in the Community, the camera is more than just a tool. It's an inseparable part of his everyday life that allows him to see the world from a different perspective. In this interview, he opens up about his passion for shooting the analogue way.
Please tell us something about yourself and what you do.
Hello, there! My name's Paul and I was born and brought up in a small town near Sibiu, Romania. I am currently 19 years old and I study computer science in a nearby city, Cluj-Napoca. I became interested in visual arts at some point in middle school, yet I never took it serious enough, although I'm pretty determined to get into a design school after I get my computer science degree. In regards to photography, I've only started a couple months ago (directly with film photography) and the passion and love for it have struck me with power and continue to last ever since.
How did you find the Community and who/what convinced you to join?
I found the community while searching online for sample images taken on different films I was about to try myself. I had prior experience with photo-sharing websites, but Community housed exactly that kind of photographic content, taste, and feeling that I was particularly into, but without me knowing that there's a place out there for all of it. I have to say it was some sort of revelation for me.
As you have read the 10 Golden Rules of Lomography, what rule do you apply in your everyday life?
I pretty much live by the first three rules, but the third rule (Lomography is not an interference in your life, but part of it) is truly special for me. The camera has become an extension of me, an object that augments my perception of reality and makes me a lot more aware of my surroundings. It is not just part of my life, but part of my peers' life and a tiny bit of every person's life that I come across. A medium through which people that I encounter share and express (voluntarily or not) a completely random and unique part of their life.
In this digital age, why still film?
Film adds a ton of more value to a photograph just by itself. I see in film a medium of expression that enables each individual picture to be completely unique, impossible to reproduce. Thus, it creates personality and character for the images. I believe that the technical imperfections of an image resemble us, humans, and allows me to bond with my work. Besides, for me, film implies more difficulty, as I have to (mostly) carefully plan each shot, I have to make sure it is exactly that what I want to capture. There's also the costs and the quality of scarcity, the thought that my film roll will come to an end, the fact that I won't be able to undo or delete my actions and the risk that part of my work might get lost or destroyed. All of these aspects add to the difficulty of it. Personally, I enjoy art, or generally a product, exponentially more if I'm aware of the quantity of effort and work that was put in it, so film photography really does bring an extra chunk of satisfaction for me when I get to see the end results.
Your favorite analog camera as of the moment? Why?
I'm especially fond of my current camera, the Minolta 7000. It's not much of a big deal, but it manages to fulfill all of my needs. I'm in love with that genuine vintage design and feel of it and it always gets an admirable job done. It became a close, intimate friend of mine.
What is the Lomography camera you’d want to have someday?
I'd love to get my hands on the Horizon Perfekt camera. The immersiveness of that wide, panoramic look is mesmerizing. It's like a pool inside of which I can throw my whole visual field.
Any song, book, or movie you live by?
Considering the fact that I'm a Christian, my life ethic is based on the Bible. Apart from that, I'm a huge fan of all art fields. In terms of literature, I'm really into modern and romantic german works, mostly poetry, and I also intensively study philosophy on my own. The movies that really got to me are Andrei Tarkovski's, Sergei Eisenstein's and Cristian Mungiu's, but generally all of the Russian cinematography fascinates me. Regarding music, I'm into the jazz, world, classical and experimental genres and I can also play a couple instruments. When I have the time, I adapt some favorite musical pieces of mine to my own style and vision. All the art I come in contact with enriches and further polishes me and thus, what I "give back" to the world, be it in terms of photography, for the sake of this interview, is deeply influenced and modulated, so to speak, by my personal experience with all of these art forms, so the role they play in my life and in my work is definitive.
Share your current favorite Lomograph, could be yours or a friend’s. Why?
The Community is filled with extremely valuable work, but I have to consider this lomograph particularly special for me, as it was after seeing this picture (and the whole album, afterwards) that I decided to become part of the community. I'm not entirely sure what makes this image so great in my eyes, but it evokes a feeling of sweet mystery in me, a maladive, sickening nostalgia of a time I never got to experience at all. The subject, the lady, creates in me that feeling of the 1980s in the Eastern Bloc, in communist Romania, that I only got to know from other peoples' tales and stories. It gives me the taste of a mythical time whose aftermath I experience today.
Any Community member you look up to? If so, why him or her?
I feel like his style and vision suit me very well. I find his pictures more than just extremely aesthetically pleasing; they relax and caress my retina. They're almost therapeutic. Definitely an example, a model for me.
What are you looking forward to in our Community?
I hope that through the help of the Community, I will grow and mature as a photographer. I will learn from fellow lomographers and come in contact with new ideas, concepts and techniques. I also perceive it as a place where I can become relevant to some people, where others can appreciate and criticize my work and where I can feel that my pictures reach an end-of-the-line in the eyes of a public and fulfill a greater purpose, where they can tell a story and serve as windows, portals into my life and into the life of people surrounding me.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, Vineeth! Welcome to the Lomography Community and we're looking forward to seeing more of your work.