Ben, who has also recently joined the team at Brooklyn Film Camera, sat down to tell us about why the LomoApparat is the perfect point-and-shoot companion.
Hello Ben, and welcome back to Lomography magazine! Could you fill us in on what you’ve been up to since your last feature with us?
It’s simply lovely to be back, thank you for having me. In all the times I’ve been fortunate enough to swing by Lomography Magazine, I may have the biggest update of all! I recently joined Brooklyn Film Camera as partner and creative director, where we’re sprinting toward opening a new street level retail location in East Williamsburg, New York. Not only that, I got married! Like, just moments ago. 2022 has been spinning me around like a washing machine, but I’m here for it.
What was your overall first impression of the LomoApparat?
The LomoApparat caught me off guard before I even snapped a frame. The look of the thing really pops. The lens hood, sleek style, unusual flash design, and overall silhouette bring an elevation to the proceedings. It frankly took me by the hand and threw me into action.
How did you feel about the wide angle that the LomoApparat offers?
This is where we’re really cooking with pots and pans. Once I stopped ogling the camera itself, I immediately plunged myself in the 21 mm way of seeing. 21 mm is quite wide, forcing you to bring foreground subjects up close and personal. This immersion makes shots more personal, immediate, and dynamic (if you use it right.) I’ve long been in love with the 20 mm focal length when it comes to my full frame glass, but those lenses have always been a bit too bulky and precarious to use as daily drivers. However, in this "Lomoficated" package, the wide focal length delightfully fits right in your pocket.
What’s your favorite feature of the camera?
Did I mention this can fit right in your pocket? Any pocket will do. The compactness and ease of use made this camera an instant favorite for me. The Lomo Sprocket Rocket and Fisheye are common companions of mine, chiefly because they seem to fit anywhere I can shove them (within reason.) The LomoApparat takes this portability to another level, traveling with me over thousands of miles and some seriously important life events that necessitated nimbleness.
Can you tell us about the photos that you took with the camera?
I was handed this camera the day before departing for my bachelor party. I quickly shot a burner roll and developed it that night at home, you know, just to check that it took actual photos. With certainty that it did produce images, but not much clarity on how the shots looked beyond the negatives, I somehow intrinsically trusted it and bounded up the mountains with my closest friends.
The images from that trip are so meaningful to me. I ripped a few rolls of 120 for sure, but the many shots I tore through with the Apparat put me squarely back in the moment. They are casual, almost like notes in a journal, and the dreamy results from the unique lens almost feel like looking into a memory. Being with these folks in my favorite place on Earth felt utterly surreal and having an extremely accessible tool that could function in any scenario was essential. From the confines of a cramped car to overlooking the grandiosity of the rocky mountains, the Apparat was ready for the scene.
Do you have any tips or tricks on how to shoot with this camera?
I’m not often strapped with strobes, so this camera’s handy flash really carried me through all phases of this grand adventure. Whether in the ever-changing weather of the Rockies or inside our wedding venue a month later, I was comforted knowing this chic rectangle could fill in any light necessary. Even with intense backlighting, you can get right up to a subject and balance it right out. It’s as common a photographic method as bokeh, but as someone who doesn’t typically use fill-flash, the stylistic flourish of this lens pairs nicely for a look I love. And it saved my braciole more than a few times!
What does it mean to you, to see new film cameras being released in 2022?
This is what it’s all about. Well, the photo-making process is what it’s all about, but this is a close second. To see these sort of useful cameras continue to spring out of the well fulfills my analogue heart. This is an industry that needs continuous evolution— the few camera-makers that exist are a beacon for the ongoing refresh of our toolkits. Our antique cameras aren’t getting any younger, and companies like Lomo are bringing interesting options to market in an accessible way. This camera also represents a more streamlined player on the Lomography roster, a camera that isn’t so much offering something “weird,” but serving deep function for daily use. I’m proud to carry that with me!
Who would you recommend this camera to?
I think the Apparat is a wonderful general-use camera, which is part of its beauty. Everyone could stand to whip a featherweight wide shooter around. If you don’t want to finick around with electronic point-and-shoots and just get down to memory-making, this darling is for you.
If you could bring the camera anywhere in the world where would that be and what would you want to take a photo of?
Ironically, I brought it to the two places I’d want to bring it most, and that’s what has me feeling so connected to the camera. To capture some zany moments at my wedding and bachelor party— to fly with it from Colorado to Atlanta to New York amidst one of the biggest changes of my life— well that’s as good as it gets.
Do you have anything else you’d like to share about your experience with the LomoApparat?
Everyone and their mother are going to ask you about the flash gel slider. It’s a funky bonus to such a clean design. I often get stopped on the street about all manner of giant cameras I’m lugging hither and thither, but this small snapper stopped more people than a crossing guard. People love it! And that’s always a good start to a portrait.