Every photographer wonders how they can make their photos stick out from the rest. Cincinnati-based Lomographer Alexzandra Roy has found her way around this by constantly experimenting with her photos through things like film soup and at home developing. Shooting both 35 mm and instant photos, Alexzandra reccently created a LomoHome to provide a base for her experimental photography.
Hi Alexzandra, welcome to Lomography magazine! Can you start off by telling us about yourself and your work?
I’m a 25-year-old self-taught film photographer from Cincinnati, Ohio. I grew up in rural America and art for me has always been a type of therapy to escape boredom within the mind. I moved to the city a year ago and have taken more photos now than ever. Before the pandemic, I photographed my travels, and I started getting into shooting concerts. When Covid cancelled shows for the foreseeable future I felt unsure what to do with myself. Luckily, live music is back perhaps now more than ever. I spend a lot of time shooting shows around Cincinnati and have met so many wonderful people in the process. I’m forever grateful for the community I get to exist within. I love getting to capture others performing their art live. There’s a mutual respect for passion in art on both ends. I’ve uploaded a lot of show photos to my LomoHome and Instagram.
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When did you start getting into analogue photography?
In 2012 I was entering high school homeschooled, anxious, and leaning on art more than ever. I had a bulky little digital camera handed down to me from my father but I was always intrigued by the concept of film. The first 35 mm camera I ever picked up was actually the Lomography Fisheye 2.0. I was walking through the mall and bought it for myself without knowing where to even buy film. I would use it and disposable cameras on roadtrips with my internet best friend. Eventually I started thrifting whatever film cameras I found and it became a tradition to document our travels.
How are you liking LomoHome so far?
LomoHome has been great. I love getting to see everyone’s point of views on how their art and life go hand in hand. So many Lomographers capture day to day life as it comes, and I think it’s really something we can all relate to. I’ve also enjoyed reading all the articles provided and gaining new insights.
What gear do you typically shoot with?
Whatever I have available. The cameras I use change constantly. I pretty much use any camera I thrift or can borrow. I did use the Yashica T2 on and off for a long time until it finally gave up on me in a downpour. Typically, I just need any point-and-shoot, and I’m happy.
You shoot with both 35 mm and instant film — do you prefer one over the other for certain things?
I shoot whichever depending on how I feel. Sometimes 35 mm feels more intimate because its time consuming and the moments are ones you have to revisit. Other times instant feels more fun because I can watch it develop while still in the moment. As of late I’ve been choosing 35 mm for black and white and instant for color.
How did you start getting into film souping and home developing?
I began developing my own film at home three years ago because I wanted to understand my images from start to finish. I don’t think there’s a bigger thrill in life than hanging your film to dry, scanning in each frame, and experiencing the moments you shot all over again. Film souping became a habit for me semi-recently out of feeling stuck in art and life. I would destroy rolls that I shouldn’t have but it was a risk I was willing to take. The science behind it is fascinating. Half the time I’m still unsure of what I’m doing but the unexpected results make me happiest. Every image gains its own fingerprint, or DNA, if you will. Each unique to themselves.
Do you have a favorite photo that you've shared to your LomoHome? Is there a story behind it?
This is a hard one! My favorite changes often. In the moment I’d say it’s probably this photo of my friends Silas and Eike. I shot these lovebirds on a hot day over the summer in Red River Gorge, Kentucky, while camping. We spent most of the trip hiking and swimming in this pond formed by a waterfall. I shot it on Ilford HP4 with a Yashica T2 and film souped it in dish soap plus white vinegar. I developed it with Cinestill’s Monobath.
Can you tell us about any upcoming shoots that you have planned?
At the moment I have no particular shoots in mind but I’m having the most fun taking photos at shows for my friends and portraits of musicians. For the most part, I stay busy taking photos of things in my daily life. I’ve been carrying a camera with me everywhere for so many years I feel vulnerable without it. Art is everywhere and you never know what you might miss if you’re not looking!
Anything else you'd like to share?
I created a new website recently to showcase my work in one place, which was something I was nervous to do but glad to have finally done. In the future I hope to create more zines, portraits, and explore how I can further push myself to expand my perception of art. I’m never sure what I’m going to do next! It’s just part of the fun. A big thank you to Lomography for creating a community so like-minded creatives can connect.