Konstantin Lenin initially captured our attention with his black and white portrait work. However, as we found out in this interview, the subjects of his photographic interests extend well beyond portraiture. To keep himself interested in analogue photography Konstantin likes to mix things up all the time, trying out new styles and different gear. Perhaps it’s to be expected from someone whose diverse interests include punk rock, cycling and wrestling.
These days he's focused on street photography, capturing the beautiful mundane moments around his home city of Vologda. We caught up with him recently to find out more about his process and inspiration.
Welcome to Lomography Magazine. Can you start by telling us about yourself and how you first got started with film photography?
Hello. My name is Konstantin Lenin (real surname, not a pseudonym). I live in Russia, in the provincial city of Vologda. In 2018 I stopped playing in a local hardcore punk band and decided to try my hand at photography. Digital photography was out of the question right away, not that I don't feel good about it, just that film is closer to me in many aspects, but I couldn't know that yet. I had some kind of intuition and love for analogue things.
You take quite a mixture of photos: portraits, streets photography, B&W and color. How would you describe your style of photography?
Of the genres I shoot, street photography is the one I'm most interested in. I'm more into color now, but I also shoot black and white from time to time. I shoot portraits and landscapes when I can't see anything on the street, as an outlet for street photography. I also like to take pictures of my friends just when I meet them or when we travel together. And what would travel be without landscape photography? Nevertheless, I'd call my style street photography, as even with staged portraits I strive to do "street style."
What cameras and film do you like to use?
I have 8 cameras now. I use all of them.
Polaroid sx70 sonar
My favorite color film is Kodak portra 400, black and white films are Ilford Hp5 and Ilford Fp4. The prices have gone up a lot but at same time, I want to shoot a lot of color films, so I mainly use film stocks like Kodak color plus and Kodak aerocolor (120 type).
What is your process of creating photos? Do you prepare a lot or do you work in a more spontaneous way?
The process is simple - I always try to leave home with a camera or two. I don't like long preparations, even for staged portraits. In most of cases it happens like this: today I ask a person if they want to be photographed, and tomorrow we're already doing it. On the street everything happens at lightning speed. My favorite shots are taken so quick that I don't even remember what I saw in the viewfinder, but I know intuitively that the shot will be good.
What are your interests outside of photography?
My hobbies are cycling (I have Specialized AWOL frame bike), motorcycling (I own Honda XR250 motorcycle) and wrestling, which I stopped because of an injury I suffered when falling off the motorcycle. I also like music, movies and literature. I collect vinyl, mostly local hardcore punk bands with a small run of records.
Do you have any exciting photography projects coming up that you’d like to tell us about?
I do not shoot projects, but there are spontaneous series, which arise as a consequence of shooting in the same places, or shots that have the same "style", let's say a long exposure, where a person is in a frame for a part of the exposed time.
Thank you Konstantin for sharing your work and words with us. To see more of Konstantin's photography be sure to follow his Instagram account.