After having experimented with the Simple Use Reloadable Camera & Underwater Case and Fisheye No.2 in Hawaii, now Philadelphia-based photographer and videographer Alexandra Bennett is back to share her dreamy stills and short film "Six Fingers" produced with our LomoKino.
Welcome back to the Lomography Magazine, Alexandra! Can you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Hi everyone! My name is Alexandra. I'm from New Jersey and love science, surfing, and practicing film photography. I'm currently a student at Thomas Jefferson University and just applied to a graduate program to become a physician assistant. Playing with Lomography’s products and working with film keeps me grounded and engaged with the world.
Last time we spoke you were surfing with the Simple Use Film Camera in Hawaii, now you're making LomoKino movies in Philly. How did that happen and where are things at for you creatively?
I was fortunate to live on the Big Island of Hawaii for two beautiful years. While I was living there and working as a medical assistant, it came to my attention that Hawaii is experiencing a serious health care worker shortage. I moved back to Philly to complete a few prerequisite classes before applying to PA school so I can hopefully go back to Hawaii and better serve the community.
I love medicine, surfing, and film photography so I juggle these interests in my day-to-day. I still escape to the Jersey shore when I can to catch a few chilly waves but with a heavy school workload, it’s been challenging. Since there are no waves in Philadelphia, I purchased the LomoKino to take pictures and have really enjoyed exploring how it works!
When was the first time you tried the LomoKino and can you tell us about your first experience?
I brought it with me to the beach this past March along with my surfboard and wetsuit. It was a really cold and windy day, which caused my hands to shake the camera. The results were a dreamy and wobbly arrangement of blue skies, Ferris wheels, and crashing waves. I was really impressed with how unique the images looked and soon started to plan out a scripted and more organized short film to shoot.
Can you tell us a little bit about the concept and idea for this movie?
I woke up one morning with a poem in my head then wrote it down. I knew it was silly but I decided to lean into its fantasy and nursery rhyme elements. While working on the poem and expanding it into my movie idea, we were still in the middle of the pandemic and I enjoyed this light-hearted escaping from the devastation of the virus.
How was turning the idea into an actual short film? Were you able to achieve the result you were hoping for?
I am very fortunate to have my college friend Alex (the main actor) who has always been supportive of my creative pursuits. I told him my idea for “Six Fingers” and without judgement he was onboard and excited to shoot. He even took his shoes and socks off on a freezing day so I could get the shot of his toes that I'd written into the plot. Haha thanks Alex! It was fun to goof around in the park and safely participate in an activity while everything was still shut down. I am really satisfied with the results, the footage is as whimsical as I had envisioned and the dialogue lines up nicely.
Any big (good or bad) surprises along the way?
While we were filming and being silly it was fun to see people smiling as they passed us by in the park. I believe that inspiring brief moments of joy and spontaneity helps the world go round.
“I also think that the LomoKino’s camera body is as eye-catching and unique as the images it produces. Every time I take it out people approach me and ask what type of camera it is which starts a great conversation about photography and art.”
I was also pleasantly surprised that my friend Emma was able to do the voice-over for the film. Even though she is currently living in Japan we were able to Skype and collaborate together on this project. Her soft British accent is very calming and further added to the nursery rhyme aesthetic that I was going for.
Any advice for other creatives who might want to try the LomoKino for the first time?
I would highly recommend using a hand-held mount or tripod while filming with the LomoKino. It can be tricky to keep the camera steady while quickly winding the reel to shoot frames. For this film “Six Fingers” I had particular shots I wanted to achieve so a tripod was a great asset to secure them. If you’re just having fun then freehand could be sufficient. Other than that, practice makes perfect and have fun!
What's up next for you?
I am currently working on completing a feature-length film within the next year or two that incorporates science, surfing, and my love of film. My goal is to shoot the movie as a child’s bedtime story but also have some thriller-style surprises. Shooting this short was kind of a test run and ended up being a lot of fun so I’m excited to create something on a larger scale.
For more of Alexandra Bennett's work, follow her Instagram.