Photography is one of the most accessible forms of media of our time and takes up a huge part of our everyday lives through smartphones and social media. But where does film photography in particular find its place in current art practices? And how do young artists deal with this analogue medium? To explore these questions, we are devoting this new series to the work in the photography classes of different art schools.
Our first stop is the Art and Photography class at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Five students could choose Lomography equipment and films to work with. First up is Stephan Wiesinger, who picked the LomoChrome Metropolis 2021 35 mm and the Color Negative 800 120 films for his project.
Dear Stephan, welcome to our magazine! Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi Lomo! I'm actually quite simple, which probably has something to do with my childhood in the Waldviertel (austrian countryside). I love nature, but I can't live without the big city. Sport is also very important to me - it's really hard for me to keep my feet still for a day. I also have a great fondness for Scandinavian design furniture from the last century.
How and when did you get into photography?
I've been taking analogue photos for a long time. It started with discarded cameras from the family - I think I thought it was a shame to throw away these technical artefacts. In general, I am someone who always sees a story in things and struggles a little with the fact of finiteness. This circumstance also runs somewhat through my artistic activities. I actually bought my first digital camera only last year, but really only for documentary purposes.
You study art and photography at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Why did you decide on the artistic path?
The idea that others might be interested in my work came to me quite late. A very special person once opened my eyes and showed me that the apparatus of the visual arts allows you to express yourself in a unique way. In return, it is a privilege to study at the Academy and to be able to use all the workshops and studio spaces. The exchange with fellow students and professors is also very valuable.
In your opinion, what is the significance of analogue photography in modern visual art?
Photography has never had an easy standing. But I think it can be an essential tool. For me, analogue photography is very often simply the starting point for later works. Through the lens of analogue cameras, you see the world differently, a little more decelerated. I tend to be a rather impatient person, which often leads to me not being in the present but stuck somewhere in the past or in the future. When I'm out and about with my camera, I have the feeling that I can perceive situations more consciously.
Do you have photographic role models?
If I had to name someone, it would probably be Eadweard Muybridge. He was a pioneer of photography and I was particularly fascinated by his experiment The Horse in Motion from 1878, where he used cameras to prove that when a horse gallops, there is a moment when all the hooves lift off the ground.
Why did you choose LomoChrome Metropolis and what was the concept behind the photos?
Basically, I wanted to break the concept of the film by not setting it in a big city, but in a rural setting. The place I chose for this is my home village. In fact, I have photographed very little here, which is probably because I always took it for granted. It didn't feel special for a long time. It was only after I moved to the big city that I began to appreciate the place in a different way.
So the concept also has parallels to my personal development. I wanted to examine the hometown with the mature eyes of the big city. I like to experiment and let my intuition guide me. I was also interested in how the film properties behave in circumstances not intended for them. I hardly thought about motifs before I started shooting the film. The aim was primarily to intuitively capture impressions and feelings in very familiar surroundings.
What equipment did you use to take the photos?
Camera: Olympus OM-4
Lenses: 1:2,8 f = 24 mm / 1:1,8 f = 50 mm
And how about the Color Negative 800? What was the concept behind these photos?
The picture series shows macro shots of artefacts from my childhood - things that my grandparents, my parents - or later me - could not part with. I didn't want to photograph the entire object, but only parts of it. Since I had to get very close to the objects, I used a total of 3 extension rings to create more distance between the body and the lens of my Hasselblad, I therefore needed a film with high light sensitivity.
Conceptually, I wanted to link both series of images. While with the Metropolis film I wanted to visualise my own development and a nostalgic look back, with the Color Negative 800 the goal was to show details of very personal things from back then. I deliberately wanted to show only details, because on the one hand I wanted to leave room for interpretation and on the other hand I didn't want to show my most personal objects in their entirety.
Due to the use of 3 extension rings, there is an exposure error in some photos, which is probably due to an incidence of light on the extension rings. However, I find this accidental slight imperfection very coherent.
What equipment did you use to take the photos?
Camera: Hasselblad 500 C/M
Lenses: Zeiss Planar T✻ 80 mm f/2.8
3 x Hasselblad extension rings (21 mm, 55 mm & 55 mm)
Are there any future projects or exhibitions you would like to tell us about?
In September, the exhibition "Fotografie am Brillantengrund" will take place at the Hotel am Brillantengrund. It is a group exhibition with fellow students from the Art+Photography class. Exact date tbd.