French photographer Julien Boutet, also known as @jb93, got into photography through the influence of his dad who was also a dedicated enthusiast. He delved into digital photography for a time, but found his way back into analogue where he was truly able to find a style that he remains eager to develop.
We asked him a couple of questions about his art and were delightfully surprised to read his insightful and philosophical approach to photography! Viewing his LomoHome, you’ll be immediately enticed by his photos, especially his multiple exposures which he says is “at the heart” of his craft, and which he aptly described as “dreamlike”.
Here’s our interview with him.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself, and your film photography background? How long have you been into film?
I started photography at the age of about 10 years old, my father who was himself a great photography enthusiast, then offered me an automatic camera in 110 format. I still have my first black and white shots at home that I look at today with great emotion. I remember the pleasure I felt doing my first frames and pressing the shutter button! I always knew deep down that I had a special connection with photography, but it was only recently that my photographic adventure took an artistic turn.
In 2012, I returned to film with a great thirst for experimentation after a short break linked to the advent of digital. I learned everything, or almost everything by myself, apart from the silver print that I practiced for two years in an associative lab. This experience was of great help to me to better understand the fundamentals of photography: exposure, light, contrast, etc.
What I like about film photography is that the exploration of possibilities are much wider than in digital photography–between the choice of camera, formats, the variety of films, the choice of development process, the print and the possibility of exploiting the images after digitization.
For me, film has an organic side that connects it to the living world, to its strength as well as to its fragility and also to the notion of chance which, in my opinion, is an essential component of silver photography.
Which cameras/film rolls do you love using right now?
I have experimented with many cameras–reflex, automatic or even pinhole cameras–but today I mainly use a Lomo LC-A+ and a Canon A1 because they both have a multi-exposure function. Double exposure has been at the heart of my photographic practice since the first lockdown in 2020. In terms of films, I like to test new things or films that I have never tried. I don't really have a favorite film.
Thanks to the Lomography France teams, I was also able to test the splitzer very recently on my Lomo LC-A+. It was quite a jubilant experience, I really had fun with this accessory with its very interesting narrative potential.
As you will have understood, I am a big fan of Lomography which, in my opinion, is much more than a brand. Lomography embodies and promotes this contemporary vision of film photography based on pleasure, experimentation and creativity.
You have some really fascinating double exposure shots, how do you go about taking them? Do you have a theme in mind that you go for when you put scenes together, or do you prefer to just play around?
I started experimenting with double exposure during the first lockdown. To escape the monotony of everyday life and a territory reduced to a trickle, I imagined a dreamlike photographic journey in my perimeter of confinement by creating mirages from my daily landscape. When I discovered the images, it was a real revelation for me. Through the double exposure I was able to find a style, an artistic direction and a purpose.
All of this has led to several artistic projects, including a series of three exhibitions, the last of which will be held at the end of the year in a gallery outside the walls of the contemporary art center in Montreuil, where I currently reside.
My practice of double exposure has improved over time. At first I proceeded in a fairly instinctive and improvised way, today I generally have a fairly precise idea of what I want to achieve when I shoot. I jot down ideas in a notebook beforehand and plan ahead for their technical realization.
Despite everything, it is always necessary, I think, to keep a part of improvisation–the best images are often born in the spontaneity and the present moment.
Do you have a favorite out of your photos and can you share the story behind it?
I think this image is quite emblematic of my current photo work. I did it in two stages, first photographing a sky lined with trees from a low angle shot at dusk. At the time, I did not yet know which subject I was going to superimpose in my composition.
Then the same evening I found my daughter dozing on the couch. I immediately imagined the final rendering by photographing it in a slightly blurred close-up to place it in my image as if enveloped by clouds. When I saw the final result I was amazed and it reinforced my idea of continuing my dreamlike series.
Do you have any tips/advice for beginners wanting to try out double exposures?
You have to be patient and accept learning by failure to achieve good double exposures. The inherent randomness of the double exposure makes all its beauty. In addition, the choice of the shooting site is crucial. I advise that you start by shooting in a park where you can find many vegetable textures for overlays.
One last thing, the choice of a black and white film can be wise because it allows you to overcome the constraints related to the color agreement between the two shots. The final result is therefore often more satisfying than with color film.
Thank you very much @jb93 for sharing your images, photography journey, and tips! Congratulations, too, and we wish you the best of luck on your exhibitions!
Click here to view Julien's LomoHome. We hope this interview inspired you to look at your surroundings in a new light. Keep shooting and sharing those experiments with us!