Lorraine Healy always brings the unseen into the light. Whether it is unearthing the forgotten golden-aged American towns or shedding light on new techniques, Lorraine continues to shine through every photo.
"Actually, a friend of mine suggested I wrote it as an eBook so that I could publish it easily. I’m a writer (of poetry and essays) and I had been a teacher for many years, so he thought I’d be good at explaining things. When I was given my first Holga in 2002, I felt very frustrated with it for the first few rolls. I knew the way I wanted the image to come out, but it wasn’t happening. Roll #5 was magic, and that was it! When my friend suggested that I should write a Holga booklet sharing all the tricks I had learned by trial and error, I remembered that initial frustration I had felt, and so wrote the book from that particular point of view: for the raw beginner, with detailed steps, and with as many examples as I could think of."
Lorraine is known as the author of “Tricks With A Plastic Wonder,” which is a guide on how to use Holga cameras. However she doesn’t limit herself when it comes to cameras. Going through her albums you can see how wide her arsenal of cameras is. She has even reviewed some of them such as the Contax G2, Lomo Instant Wide, and even a comparison between the Holga and the Lomo LC-A 120.
"I learned a LOT at the Lomography website, and I still do. So I felt compelled to contribute and share what I know as well. I love the spirit of generosity that permeates the Lomo community and other analogue communities, and I always want to be part of that."
Lorraine is not afraid to share her knowledge with the world. Her articles for Lomography are vast but the common theme is that they impart something new to the reader, whether it’s a beginner looking at how to push film or a veteran looking for how they can reuse their old scans. Her articles through the years have contributed to the growing creativity of Lomographers.
Lorraine’s photography style is vast. At times she can do a one-for-one replication of whatever is in front of her camera but she also has the creative palette to play around with techniques and colors to recontextualize what many have already seen. She sets out to capture many lost and overlooked places such as old rural American towns that flourished in a golden age and far-flung towns that get overlooked by tourists just like in her trip back to her native Argentina. For Lorraine, every place she has visited has left her in awe. There has never been a location that disappointed her.
"Rural forgotten places are like a magnet to me, same as old urban areas and stores. I don’t know, I suspect many photographers have a built-in nostalgia that draws us to those abandoned or semi-abandoned places. I love to look at them and try to understand and visualize what life must have been like for the people who lived there. What made them leave, what happened?
Every place I have been to has been memorable and a gift, in some way or another. I have never returned from a trip saying, 'well, that was a total waste of time!' I think the reason is that I do a ton of research before I travel, so by the time I commit to going, I know what to shoot, what film and cameras to bring, and how to pace myself. However, two places feel truly memorable right now. One is Morocco, the sheer exotic quality of it, the richness of color and texture, and the differences in culture. It was a real feast! And also Cuba, for different reasons. I have family connections to the Cuba of the 1920s, and because of the historical processes there, I was able to see that Cuba of the ‘20s that I had grown up hearing about: those same buildings, those same exact places, in possibly quite the same condition. Apart from that, Cuban people are warm and welcoming and fun, and the whole country is a photographer’s dream."
Lorraine updates us on her new favorite pictures that she has taken as she talks about her experience last January.
"I have a new series of favorite photos, all taken one same morning on January 30, 2022. It’s a series of b&w photos in the fog, in an area about an hour and a half from my home. We had been experiencing severe foggy conditions longer into the day than usual, so I decided to take only b&w film, (Ilford HP5 and Lomo Potsdam) [an] orange filter, and one of my Mamiya 6. When I got where I had initially thought I’d go I could tell the fog was starting to burn, so I practically ran to get these images. You know, when experienced photographers say you should always look back, not just at what’s ahead of you? I never forget that now… After this one image, I got back in my car and drove to a nearby area, also rural, where I could see the fog still hanging in. That’s where I shot the rest of the series."
"As I answer your questions I am on a fast train from Madrid to Sevilla, backpack full of gear and rolls of 35 and 120 film. Yesterday I spent the day shooting at two places I first visited when I was 16— I remember the huge impact they had on me and I did not yet have a camera! It would be another 6 months before my parents bought me a Yashica Electro 35 and many years before I merited a Canon SLR. I love traveling and I love photographing. I’m almost 60 so I have to be realistic about the weight of the gear I can carry and about how far and how long I can go. But I’ll do both for as long as I’m able."
Still always on the move Lorraine is also still regularly contributing photos to the Lomography Community. We thank her for her many contributions and it is always a treat to see what she is able to uncover next.
Lomography Pioneers is an ongoing tribute to our earliest community members, whose stories and photographs helped shape our thriving online community into what it is today—diverse, creative, and inspiring. See the Lomographers we've featured so far!