Felipe Lofrano creates incredible images by selectively damaging his negatives and prints with bleach, chlorine and other destructive chemicals. The results of this unorthodox practice is the creation of astonishing and unique images that embody the spirit of spontaneity and experimentation. Let's find out more about the Brazilian artist in this interview.
Hi Felipe, welcome to Lomography Magazine. Can you start by telling us a little about yourself and how you started shooting film?
I started photographing when I was very young, with my parent's cybershot cameras. At the age of 15 I had my first contact with analogue photography through a Lomography camera, I think it was the ActionSampler. There I began to understand and fall in love with the countless possibilities for experimental photography that Lomography provided. I had at least 10 cameras, among them the ActionSampler, a sunny fruit juice cam, the Diana F+, and a Lomography Colorsplash camera.
When did you start experimenting with physically altering your negatives and prints? How did the idea come about?
This idea came to mind as a child who always liked experimentation. When I was little, I took a negative from my parents and threw bleach on it. The image detached from the film and made it transparent in seconds, there I realized that the chlorine reacted a lot with the photographic film, melting all the emulsion on the negative. At the age of 15 I started with analogue photography, where I was always thinking about how to make it more experimental. So, I started experimenting until I had a “control” of the corrosive agents and possible interventions on the already developed film.
Why is experimentation important to you in photography?
Experimentation has always been something I've really enjoyed exploring. In photography, the idea is always to transform something that has already been done into something new, totally different from the “original”. The re-signification of the image goes beyond aesthetics, and where it also touches on an important point about recycling. Through interventions in the image, I manage to give a new meaning to the image, which would end up going to the drawer, without any use since today we can make our backups in different places.
You use a variety of alternative processes to create your images. Are there any methods that stand out as your favorite to use?
Yes, I am passionate about the corrosion that chlorine or bleach can cause on photographic film or paper. Corrosion with chlorine is almost always unpredictable, even so I try to have control over where I put the liquid so as not to corrode the whole image.
I have a recent work that I really liked, an etching with chlorine on the film of a monochromatic film that can be developed in the C-41 process, giving characteristics of a color pulled towards violet. When I put the reaction on and the layer melted leaving a purple and black trail that I called “spectral”.
What are your favorite cameras and film to use?
My favorite cameras are the Minolta x-700, Zenit 12xs, and Belomo Vilia. Films: Kodak ektar, Lomography Color Negative 100, fujifilm xtra 400, kodak vision 250D, cinestill 800T.
What about the people in your photographs? How do you choose the individuals you want to photograph?
Some people I photograph are friends, but mostly they are clients or people who inspire me to do a portrait. What most attracts me about these people is their authenticity, their life stories and their artistic side, which inspires me a lot.
Do you have any exciting projects in the works that you can tell us about?
I have many projects in mind, one of them is to make an exhibition about my work. Being able to explain about my art and what I want to convey through it, leaving it exposed for people to see is something that excites me a lot.
What advice would you give to others who want to experiment more in their analogue photography?
Analogue photography ends up being experimental at some points, and many people are frustrated with their first experiments. The possibility of making mistakes will always be part of it, whether it's when photographing a scene or even in the development. I can give you some advice, don't be afraid of making mistakes, it was by making mistakes that I found my art.
We'd like to thank Felipe for sharing his work with us! To see more of his photography make sure to follow his Instagram.