Photographer Pooneh Ghana started her creative journey as a die-hard Lomography fan, shooting with the LC-A+, Fisheye, Holga, ActionSampler and all the different films she could get her hands on. Pooneh has now achieved the dream career working as a music photographer, using the skills she learned from her early passions to create stunning photos for the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Tame Impala, Courtney Barnett, The Big Moon, Angel Olsen, and many more. We talked to her about her journey from fanatic to professional and she shared some of the defining moments of finding her place in the world.
Hi Pooneh please introduce yourself to our community?
Hello Lomo friends!! My nameʼs Pooneh Ghana and Iʼm a music photographer currently based in LA (just moved to the west coast from TX about a year ago!). Iʼve has been working as a freelance photographer for about a decade now, and still, just wake up super grateful every day for this job. I love documenting all aspects of the music world, whether itʼs going on tour, shooting a festival, creating album art, etc. Iʼll be crying buckets at my first post-pandemic concert back, wherever/whenever that may be.
You sent us an amazing selection of Lomography photos using the Holga, LC-A+, Fisheye, etc. Tell us about how you discovered film photography and what part Lomography played in this?
Photography was something I fell in love with in high school as I was going to more and more shows and just shooting for fun. I heard about Lomography for the first time when the White Stripes put out that limited edition Peppermint Holga years ago. Of course, it sold out immediately, but through the initial intro to Lomography, I was inspired enough to buy my first classic Holga. In the years from there, I quickly started stockpiling film cameras and learning everything I could about the gear I wanted to get (which was usually something new from Lomo), lighting, experimenting with and developing film, and whatever else I could.
A lot of that was thanks to Lomography and how accessible/fun they made it to shoot film and to experiment with it through their community. As that interest grew and I started going to more and more shows in Austin at the same time, I eventually got to a point where I realized how much I enjoyed music photography and wanted to see how I could make these two things I love a more substantial part of my life. I think it helped me find my place in the music world, which is also something that I always wanted growing up.
You now shoot professionally using mostly film, how did that come about and what challenges did you face?
I think that primarily, working on film helps me shoot better and helps me continue to grow/learn as a photographer. It helps me be in the moment and think about what Iʼm shooting, as opposed to blasting off a million photos and hoping for the best. Even if I shoot on a digital camera, I tend to edit them in a way thatʼs heavily film-inspired (never the same as the real deal though). There are of course things you have to worry about sometimes that you wouldnʼt have to think about with shooting digital, like the cost of shooting analog, film availability, getting your rolls through the TSA X-rays safely, or even something as simple as making sure your film is loaded properly in your camera. But even with all the challenges, itʼs always been worth it for me to shoot on film, not only professionally/because of the results produced, but also personally. It keeps me truly inspired and pushes my creativity as a photographer.
You recently used the LomoChrome Purple on a shoot for The Big Moon. What made you decide to use the Purple Film for this?
I believe that was my first time using the LomoChrome Purple! We were planning out the album cover shoot for The Big Moonʼs “Walking Like We Do”, and wanted to do a majority of the shoot on infrared film. After a lot of research into Aerochrome and managing to get our hands on a few rolls, we also realized how difficult and risky it was shooting on that film, so we sought out some alternative stocks that were a similar vibe/could also be fun to try out in case we messed up the infrared. Luckily, I think we managed to get some decent shots from both.
What's your favorite Lomography camera and why?
The Holga 120 will always have a special place in my heart. That was my first Lomography camera ever (the one with the multi-color flash) and I took it everywhere with me for years. I think looking back on those few years in high school, those are the photos that make me the most nostalgic. The Lomo LC-A+ was also a favorite as well. Simple, powerful, and stunning little beast of a camera.