Nick Collingwood is a New York-based photographer and filmmaker, running his own small business Nick Collingwood Vintage shooting weddings or music videos on Super 8, Polaroids and film. He's well known and quite active in the city's film community and not a stranger to Lomography either. He has been supporting us for a while and helps us testing any new Lomography gear.
We have recently featured his amazing series of LomoChrome Purple photos and were naturally all ears when he told us about his next adventure: Everest! We equipped him with some Lomography Color Negative 35mm ISO 400 Film as well as a roll of Berlin Kino Film and sent him off.
Tell us a little bit about your recent trip in general and what sparked the idea for it?
If you asked me 6 months ago if I wanted to go to Everest, I would've laughed and said Ya it's on the bucket list but not been serious. Yet in December, my old roommate in NYC, a fellow photographer, told me she was planning a trip to hike to Everest Base Camp in Nepal and was setting up a fundraiser to raise money for girls to go to school in India. Secondary education is prohibitively expensive for families and often they opt to only send the boys to school. I thought this was an amazing cause plus my wife and I are always down for a cool trip so we joined! We ended up raising around $8000 for the organization in the end.
Last time we chatted you took our LomoChrome Purple to Spain and California. For your recent Everest adventure, you chose to take the Lomography Color Negative 400. What cameras did you take with you and how do you pick your gear for your trips?
For any of my trips, I tend to overpack only on cameras. Ha. Clothing is optional. With such a insane trip like this, I wanted to cover all my bases. For 35mm, I brought my main companion, my father's Canon AE-1P with 50mm and 24mm lenses, an Olympus XA as a secondary/backup camera to have loaded with a different film than the AE-1P. I also love instant photography so I brought a custom and bit heavy Polaroid 110B with a modified Lomography BelAir back and 2 packfilm backs (with some Instax Wide, FP-100C and 669 film)! And I shoot a lot of Super 8 so I brought two Canon 514XL cameras along with some expired Ektachrome film to make a short film with. As far as film, didn't want to run out halfway so I brought around 25 rolls of 35mm, 10 packs of instant film and 5 rolls of Super 8 as well! I love the variety in aesthetics these formats gave me although I will say, it doesn't necessarily make for a light hiking pack!! Worth it in my opinion though!
An expedition to the Everest is a once in a lifetime experience! Shooting on film always brings some risks with it, why do you still stick to analog for something so special?
For sure, film is a risk. But I think in the same vein as digital, everything has a risk. But if you are careful and treat your gear and film with respect, it shouldn't be an issue. Plus these days, I really only shoot film. I love the look of film. I love the process. I like that I don't come back with 5000 images I'll never look at. So many reasons. I used to travel with both digital and film but found that I was always looking at the film photos more. And with insane vistas and mountains to be seen, I was pumped to capture them on a medium I love.
With that said, I did have some issues with my Polaroid camera and my Super 8 camera hated the below-freezing temperatures but in the end, it all worked out and I'm extremely happy with the photos I took. Just remember to have the airport hand-check your film!
Do you have a favorite shot from this series?
Definitely this one of the valley at the entrance to the Sagarmatha Park. It was taken from a little ledge right after you enter the actual park that contains Everest and you finally get a bit deeper into nature. It happened to be one of the first images I saw when I got the scans back and instantly fell in love. Just the scene itself is stunning but the way the film handled the colors as well as the light rolloff on the mountain in the background, just faintly visible, just really makes the image pop.
Also I'm a bit partial to this shot of my wife with a mountain I believe to be Lotse in the background. She looks totally badass in it!
Any shot(s) with a cool background story?
The shot of a Nepalese [top of article] monk comes to mind. Throughout the 8-day hike up to Base Camp, there were numerous large boulders and rock faces that had hand-painted Hindu symbols on them. I didn't realize until a few days in that these paintings were all actually reliefs hand-carved into the rock by the monks and then painted!! A truly insane amount of work. So I snapped this photo of one of the monks in action, painting a newly carved rock-face. In addition to these, the monks created numerous shrines and spinning prayer wheels throughout the hike.