Inspired by the city of Rome and the American Dream of the 1970s, Lomographer Flavia Slick, a.k.a. @flaviaslick returns to the Lomography Magazine for a nostalgic portrait series that marries both concepts as she revisits various imageries of her childhood. The series, Urban Country, is born out of several analogue cameras and films. Get to know more about the project and Flavia’s own description of the ”low-fi life”.
Welcome back, Flavia! Firstly, how did you come up with the series concept?
From a technical point of view, I started shooting for this project because I had to try several new cameras, I had some expired rolls, and some shots left from a photo-shooting work. The concept behind this work is born to create images that could express my daydreaming fantasy of the countryside — the American dream — from the point of view of an Italian city girl. Horses, naked rocks, and frayed jackets paint my mind and project me in a parallel reality where everything is suspended and everything is still possible. Since I was a child, an only lonely child, one of my favorite games was to imagine being in another place, far away, around the world while I was actually not so far from home. My parents have never been great travelers, so I really never be to other countries with them, but I felt this urge to discover and see the world since I was a kid.
Because of this, I have developed this kind of dissociative game where I travel with my mind and make of local places exotic, adventurous, and faraway landscapes. "Low-fi life" is referred, even in this case, to a technical factor that is the low quality of some of the scans and print I have exposed. Low fi life is also to live using imagination to fulfill your dreams, a constant utopia, low fi reality for hi-fi wanderlust.
What films and tools were used?
As I was saying above, this project started as a test for some 35 mm new cameras. I used specifically my first loyal lady Nikon FM2, Nikon F90X, Petri E35, and Panorama camera, combined with LomoChrome Metropolis, Rollei Retro 80's, a cool infrared panchromatic black and white film with a nominal sensitivity of ISO 80/20°, and Kodak Gold expired film.
Please share with us the best and most challenging moments when doing the series.
I guess it was when I met the free horses on Monte Cucco, a suburban place of the Roman countryside, famous for Pasolini's movie, "Uccellacci e uccellini" which it's really an authentic heritage of the past century Roman landscape. It was the first time I went there after a long time that was on my shooting location list, I was all by myself excited in my discovering mood with my camera on my shoulder when I reached the highest part have seen free horses and I immediately felt magnetically attracted by them. It was crazy to meet horses in that kind of place in my own city, it has been like time traveling. I felt a strong connection and attraction to that place.
Why opt for the film photography medium for creative experiments?
My love for film photography is probably always correlated to my need of travelling, across time and space using light. Film photography allows me to use materials that have passed by many hands and through times, tell the story of many lives. I am in love with experimental photography because I am a scientist, I live by experimenting, with a good dose of curiosity, keep on going through trials and errors you can open many doors of knowledge and infinite possibilities to expand yourself, to evolve. And Lomography is a comfortable place for people who love to shot in this way.
What's next for Flavia after this series?
Honestly, I still have lots of films to develop and scan, and I cannot wait to do it! My last Lomo purchase was Sprocket Rocket and I am so excited to see what will come out of the film I have shot. After this series, I would really like to make something more dynamic, like a short film or musical clip, that's why at the top of my wishlist now there's LomoKino!
Make sure to follow Flavia on her LomoHome for more of her work!