Social Media has its pros and cons, but if there's one big advantage: A lot of creatives are making use of it these days to connect with other kindred spirits and find collaboration partners. So did photographer Jamie Ceasar and model Rechel Renay, who both got in touch over Instagram and inspired each other to work together on a photo shoot. As many photographers know, working with a person that inspires you can sometimes push you to try new things, bring out more ideas, and encourage you to get out of your own comfort zone. It’s going to be a shoot one will never forget. Jamie and Rechel shot together for the first time and harmonized right off the bat, just like the two completely different Lomography film stocks used for this series.
Hello Jamie! It’s great to have you here at Lomography! First off, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hello, and thank you for having me. I consider myself a street and documentary photographer, and my lens is usually focused in that direction creatively. I love hitting the streets, exploring, and going to events. I’m always open to experimentation, and I’ll shoot a portrait session from time to time, just have a controlled environment to challenge myself. Portraits don’t come as easy to me as street photography, but I think that’s because things fall into place organically when I shoot street photography. Portraits take a little more planning and intention. Either way, as long as I have my camera in my hand, I’m having fun!
When did you get into photography?
I’ve had an on-again/off-again love affair with photography. As a kid, I use to love to go through the photo albums around my parent’s home. There was something special about seeing people, places, and moments in life that has always appealed to me. Photography can take you to places you’ve never been. I loved seeing the pictures of me before I even knew who I was, and trying to imagine what could have been going through my head at that time. There is also an amazing tactile experience when holding an image in your hand. I was shooting digital early on, but digital just wasn’t doing it for me, and so 4 years ago I switched to film, and haven’t looked back. Photography is my outlet, and it’s helped me through some tough times.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from images created by legendary photographers like Gordon Parks and Don Hogan Charles, but I’ll also admit that social media inspires me as well. I love following photographers in the film community, and I also watch YouTube videos related to film photography. I’m always fascinated by the talent, and hustle of other film photographers. Photographers tell stories in many ways, and I love being moved by an image.
How does a day of shooting work for you?
It really just depends on what I have going on that day. If I don’t have anything specific in mind, most days it starts out with me taking forever to decide what camera, and film stock I want to use. I do a lot of photography outside, so I usually start out by driving to some hotspots that I know will be populated; with hopes there will be something interesting to capture. I love to capture human interaction. If that doesn’t pan out, then I’ll typically do some exploring to find new places to shoot or uncover new scenes in places I frequent most.
Your portraits are beautiful; how did the shoot go? How did you make your model so comfortable?
The shoot was absolutely amazing! I say that because this was the first time Rechel and I worked together, and it was the first time I decided to use LomoChrome Purple for a portrait session. I met Rechel on Instagram a little while back, and I loved her look and style, but we hadn’t had a chance to work together. We finally set a date and time, and I knew she would be perfect for the type of shoot I wanted to do. We are both fans of anime, so it was easy to break the ice talking about our favorite shows, and current watch lists as we put each shot together. Some shots were even inspired by our conversations.
How did the LomoChrome Purple complement your style? What about the Earl Grey BW?
The LomoChrome Purple did not disappoint! I got exactly what I was expecting to get from this film. The purple tint and color conversions created the other-worldly/alien planet look I was trying to create. The grain structure added the grit I wanted, and I thought the clarity was very good for 35mm. The best thing about shooting LomoChrome Purple is waiting to see the results. I also brought my Holga 120 GCFN along, and I had it loaded with some Earl Grey B&W film. I love my Holga for its distorted, imperfect view of the world. It allowed me to add some mood, and dreamy effects. Earl Grey has awesome contrast, and good clarity in the blacks and highlights. I feel like that makes it a solid choice for portraits.
How did your approach differ when using the two different films?
I knew I wanted the black and white photos to be more dreamy, moody, and dramatic. I had some shots planned just for that camera and film. For example, the double exposure images. My Holga is built for double exposures, and with the characteristics of Earl Grey, I think we made some awesome images. I knew I wanted the LomoChrome purple to give that altered reality look. It also does those cool color conversions, and I wanted to experiment to see what those conversions looked like. The area I picked for the shoot had graffiti, and other colorful designs painted on the walls. I know most photographers will typically shoot a lot of greens with LomoChrome Purple since that will give you the most purple tint, but I wanted to see what else it was capable of.
From the pictures you sent us, do you have a favorite one? Can you tell us the story behind it?
So, two of my favorites are the screaming photos. That was actually Rechel’s idea. She thought it would be a dope to do an action shot with that look, and I couldn’t agree more seeing the results. The LomoChrome Purple really makes those photos pop, and feel like they could be scenes from a sci-fi/horror movie! It’s always a fun experience when you work with someone, and you both can vibe creatively.
Are you working on any long term project we should be on the lookout for?
I’m currently putting together a photo book, showcasing the images I’ve taken over the last year documenting the fight for injustice here in Columbus. I’m a part of this struggle, and I want to do my best to share the love, the conflict, the fear, and the hope as we continue to fight for equality!
written by birgitbuchart on 2021-07-16