New York-based artist Chris Cook, who is known for his photographs documenting the Black Lives Matter Movement, recently tested out the LomoGraflok 4×5 Instant Back. Let's get to know more about him and his first impressions of the LomoGraflok.
Hello, could you tell us a bit about yourself and your photography background?
Hey, I’m Chris Cook. I’m a New York-based artist, born and raised in Brooklyn. After a friend recommended the Canon AE-1 to me, I began photographing my neighborhood.
How would you describe your photography style?
My photography styles are documentation and environmental portraits. It’s somewhere in between candid photography and studio portraiture. I enjoyed capturing a subject at work, at home, or in another important location.
What experience do you have with large format?
I have 3-4 years of experience shooting in large format photography. I started with a Graflex Crown Graphic 4x5 camera. I was inspired to buy one from photographers such as Gordon Parks, Louis Mendes, and Jean Andre Antoine.
Could you tell us why you chose to shoot with the LomoGraflok 4x5 Instant Back in particular?
I chose to shoot with the LomoGraflok Back in particular because of the ease of use. I can use Fuji Wide Instax which is still available in stores. After FP-100C was discontinued, it was hard to produce high-quality polaroid quality images within my setup.
What were your first impressions of setting up and using the LomoGraflok?
My first impression when using the LomoGraflok was stimulating. It felt like it was giving my large format camera another life. I was also happy to give the person I’m photographing an instant photo.
Can we hear more about the projects that you chose to use the LomoGraflok for?
One of the projects I choose to use the LomoGraflok for is “Relationships”. This body of work focuses on black interactions between two or more concepts, objects, or other people. Each person shares their studio space, home, or craft of how they are all connected to it through each photograph. I usually start off slow to adumbrate particular standard poses and features I see. Afterward, I break those rules and focus on the next shots capturing the decisive moments where everything connects. It's a fun but challenging process because I'm using a large-format camera. I enjoy working on this ongoing project bringing out the personality of each person/person(s) I work with and learning more about them and myself.
Could you share your favorite shot that you took with the LomoGraflok and the story behind it?
I recently enjoy the shots I took in Jamaica with the LomoGraflok. It was a personal project of creating a photographic family tree. It displays where I came from and who’s part of my family.
How would you compare the experience and results of the LomoGraflok to the experience and results of taking a more traditional large format photograph?
The experience and results of the LomoGraflok and traditional large-format photographs are very similar. Both mediums need prep time to compose the photo. The only difference is one is an instant photo.
Do you have any pointers for someone using the LomoGraflok for the first time?
The top pointer for someone using the LomoGraflok for the first time is practice. It becomes easier to use the LomoGraflok after a few test runs.
Any final thoughts on your experience?
I’m excited to create more with my large format with the LomoGraflok.