Come one, come all. Lomography has partners all over the world to help serve your analogue needs. If you're from Argentina then it's your lucky day. We're featuring our Buenos Aires-based stockist Diego di Michele of the Lomography Embassy Store in today's installment of Lomography Partners.
Lomography has a colorful history shared by many photographers all over the world. That history wouldn't be complete without the Lomography Embassy Store in Buenos Aires. Headed by Diego di Michele, the 10-year-old Embassy Store has seen its fair share of stories, not to mention a colossal job that entailed scanning 1,000,000 negatives. Learn more about them and their story in this interview.
Can you introduce yourself to the Lomography community?
My name is Diego Di Michele. I am a professional photographer since 2009 and the manager of the Lomography Embassy Store, Buenos Aires. I have been in the business for ten years now and I live with my dog, Timon. ;)
What does analogue mean to you?
Analogue means my preference for photography. My first camera was a Canon A1 and I immediately fell for it the first time I peered into that viewfinder. Long story short, when I was studying, I switched to a full digital setup - I had the finest gear you can imagine but it just did not work for me. I was not feeling right. At that point, I realized there was something about analogue that was irreplaceable. I can point out the shooting experience, the turnaround experience, and the film imprint. All of that makes shooting with film a very personal experience.
What does Lomography mean to you?
Lomography means an alternative way of seeing things. I can match Lomography with analogue in many ways too, enjoyable things about it. For instance, I decided my photojournalism project at school should be with a Holga and had so much fun with it. It really connected me with simplicity and letting myself go through a totally different experience from what everybody else was doing. And one of my favorite cameras of all time is my travel camera - the LC-Wide. I find Lomography as a technical mental release and a challenge at the same time.
Why do you choose to work with Lomography?
Why wouldn't I? It is awesome to work with a company that is constantly evolving and truly believes that "the future is analogue". Lomography pushed through all the digital revolution and today in 2021, we all can say with confidence that this is the truth.
What is your favorite Lomography product and why?
The LC-Wide camera is my favorite. I like to travel a lot and this camera features a very unique ultra-wide 17mm lens. It lets me capture places as no other camera can.
Are you doing any creative projects right now in the store or personally? Please tell us more about them.
Well, the pandemic has caught up with me with one project in the making. There was a Lomowall in the store that I would have loved to make but had to put on hold. I don't know if stitching about 6,000 pictures is very creative but wow it looks really impressive when it's finished. Also while in the store, I am always active thinking of new ways to improve our job as a technician, salesman, and boss.
Personally, I am always learning and applying new things. These days I am developing a project with a friend on designing a fully automated "Clean In Place" equipment for his brewery. I like everything about automation. In my old days, I learned a lot working at IBM with robotic equipment.
What does the future of analogue photography look like to you? How will this impact your store in the next ten years?
I am not really certain about what will happen ten years from now. In retrospect, I may say that ten years have passed since I started this business and so so many things have changed. We will have to adapt as quickly as possible as always to keep up with this roller coaster business and that means relations with customers, suppliers, foreseeing better, and all to preserve the roots and identity of what the store was all about when it started.
What hardship did your shop/lab have to face during the lockdowns and what kept you going through these hard times?
Like most of the stores and shops, we have suffered an economic punch, problems with supplies, with the gear and processes we were used to working with. We had to redefine our work. Basically, we moved 100% online in just a matter of days, while before it was 80% in-store and 20% online. We were a bit prepared anyway.
For film processing, I installed a new mailbox where we receive all films and the image delivery is digital. All of our orders for the moment are online and delivered to the clients' homes. Until better times come back, we will stick with this structure.
What's the most annoying thing about running an analogue lab?
Machine failures, basically.
What's your favorite memory from the lab so far?
We have been contacted in 2014 to do a job. It was for scanning a massive amount of negatives. It turned out to be for Telam, the government news agency. We scanned 1,000,000 negatives in about 4 months. It was very challenging and we had a special team working on this in shifts and the team was 300 km away from where we had the negatives delivered. It was a total success of a tornado during that time. Not to mention we had the pleasure of seeing our own history through the eyes of the best Argentinian photographers.
What's the weirdest thing you have received when developing films?
I can't recall anything really weird at all (luckily).
What would you do if you didn’t run a photo lab?
I would find something else I would enjoy doing. I like challenges
Official Name: Lomography Embassy Store Buenos Aires
Year Established: 2011
Address: Vidt 1611, C1425 DJA, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Services offered: 110,135, and 120 film developing, C41, E6, and ECN2 processing, hand developing, camera, and film sales
Film lab staff: 2
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