The Italian Born, Berlin Based Andrea Russo is a Vet Surgeon, but also published analogue photographer. He is a well-known member of the Lomography Community and shares his wonderful creations in his LomoHome on a regular basis. Due to the Pandemic not allowing any exhibitions for so long, Andrea decided to share his Series B L N K D Z in a different way and turned it into a Magazine.
How did you start out with Photography, especially analog Photography?
In 2010 I brought a Diana Mini to New York with me. Back then I didn’t have any clue about photography but somehow managed to capture some candids that caught Lomography’s attention. That was the beginning of years of collaborations.
What do you like about this Medium?
I love how it makes me focus. I shoot only if what I see through the viewfinder seems worth capturing. This means that in a photoshoot I very rarely shoot more than one roll. Also, I personally adore the end results much more than anything shot on digital and edited. There’s a realness to it that the digital world simply can’t quite compete with.
What Equipment do you use? You also used Lomography Films - which ones and what did you like about them, why did you choose them?
I started with a Diana Mini and I moved on to a Lubitel 166+ and Lomo LC-A. During the years I mostly shot on 35mm with old cameras belonging to my father, grandfather or friends’ relatives. Olympus OM-10 and OM1, Canon EOS 300, lately my absolute favorite has been a Miranda Sensomat RE.
I also made good use of Lomography’s Petzval 85, Petzval 58, Lomogon, Daguerrotype Achromat … was lucky enough to collaborate with Lomo UK and got asked to test them all. Film-wise I mostly shoot on Kodak Portra 400, Kodak Gold, or Fujicolor. However, I’m a massive fan of the Lomochrome Purple and have shot with the several formulas that have come out during the years.
How did you start your Series B L N K D Z?
I realized that I just didn’t want to take portraits of pretty faces. Because these pretty faces, my Berlin friends, are so much more than that and their voice deserves to be heard.
Jake was the first Berlin kid, in October 2017. I realized that, as it happens very often during a photoshoot, in between one shot and the other, we covered topics that I thought could be relevant for many other people. This is why I started to ask my models to write a caption about a topic that they held dear. And it turned out that, regardless of age, profession, sexual orientation, nationality… many could relate to what they read. I guess the Berlin Kids show how, eventually, we all deal with the same struggles and that we have much more in common with each other than we can possibly think of.
Can you take us through the process of a Photoshoot for B L N K D Z?
Every photoshoot has its pretty much unique story: some are inspired by a specific vision, some are more spontaneous. What all the shoots have in common is the connection that I try to build with my models. We take our time, we get comfortable with each other, we make fun of ourselves, and open up. What I love is that no matter if I’m close or not to the people I shoot with, in the making I see their confidence growing stronger and stronger. This allows them to play around, let go of their inhibitions, and, eventually, to deliver at their best.
You also created a Magazine from B L N K D Z, why did you choose this Format?
Few years ago I promised myself that I wanted to arrange at least an exhibition a year. 2020 messed up my plans and I was left with more than thirty shoots that people had seen only through my IG account. I was very determined not to be one of those photographers whose main drive is to produce content for social media, and I asked myself “what now?” The magazine seemed to be the right answer to my question. Not so hard to put together, tangible proof of my work, an affordable way to say thank you to all of those who had supported my work.
Any inspiring words for our creative readers? Do you have tips for anyone who wants to turn his Photography into a Photobook?
Don’t let IG algorithms and the number of likes you get or don’t get influence how much you’re proud of what you’ve created. If you believe in your project and feel like printing it, just go for it. There are plenty of affordable solutions. And trust me, holding your own work in your hands is a pretty priceless feeling.