Frances Bean Cobain on the Joy of Letting Go of Control With Film Photography


Recently, we stumbled upon an Instagram account that was filled with amazing, creative photography shot on a variety of our wildest Lomography film stocks. Everything from LomoChrome Purple, and Turquoise to Redscale and our Low ISO film stocks were featured. Even the way the images were captured looked like a visual guidebook of our Lomography Golden Rules.

It's always a joy to discover a fellow Lomographer, and this time it was a particular honor to learn that the creative eye behind these visual masterpieces is Frances Bean Cobain. Today we are thrilled to introduce you to her creative catalogue of experiments on a variety of our film stocks.

Frances emphasized that film photography is merely a hobby, and in our conversation it becomes clear why this is, in fact, a very important aspect of the medium for her. Film photography and this style of shooting allows her to let go of control, to submit to the unknown and be lead by nothing more than a gut feeling.

shot by Frances Bean Cobain with LomoChrome Metropolis 35mm ISO100-400, Lomography Redscale XR 35mm ISO50-200

Hi Frances, welcome to Lomography Magazine! Please briefly introduce yourself to our readers in your own words.

Hey! Thanks for inviting me, happy to be talking with you guys. My name is Frances Bean Cobain, I’m a visual artist originally from Los Angeles. I paint, draw, sculpt, tattoo, do hobbyist photography & am currently working on writing + illustrating some children’s books!

When and how did you start getting into the hobby of shooting film?

I started shooting film in 2018 after having a near death experience the year before, which is a weird catalyst, but through that incident I decided I had to take up things that would help me find meaning in the present moment. I've always found meaning through creative expression and film photography has been a really beautiful way of searching for that on a daily basis. It’s a motivating factor to participate in the world and break down barriers with people.

Why even shoot film in this day and age?

Because the unknown is captivating. There is something gratifying about following my instincts and being surprised by what the final result is. With film photography we’re at the mercy of what’s happening beyond our control. We only have control of the exterior functions, like what angle we’re in or what film is being used, everything else is dictated by the environment or emotion of the subject.

We love that you seem to have experimented with all our fun and wild film stocks. Which Lomography film stock are you currently loving, and why?

I did not know how the LomoChrome Turquoise was going to end up but I really loved it so i’ll definitely be using that again!

shot by Frances Bean Cobain with Fantôme Kino B&W 35mm ISO8 and Berlin Kino B&W 35mm ISO400

What are things in this world that catch your attention when you have your camera in your hand? How do you choose your images?

I am just drawn to being a witness to life at this point. I try to be intentional about leaning into the concept that we’re lucky to be alive and I am lucky to capture the things I am a witness to. Things that tend to grab my attention are moments that tap into a gut feeling about what has potential to be beautiful or unique on film. The images I select are based on what I hope is pleasing to the eye, exciting and honest.

You’re a visual artist — do you think your hobby in photography is influenced by your artwork at all? or vice versa?

Showcasing a surrealist viewpoint through every medium is intentional but painting, drawing or digital art tends to be more of an expression of an internal world where as photography is more of an expression of being in the external moment along side someone or something else. I’m attached to photography in a less protective way, because it’s about capturing a subject which is beyond my control. With painting sometimes it’ll take me a year or more to finish a piece, because of the cathartic process associated with it.

shot by Frances Bean Cobain with LomoChrome Turquoise 35mm ISO100-400

Do you have a favorite shot taken on Lomography film? If so, please tell us a little bit about it.

There is a shot in this selection I'm sharing, of this super graceful, chic retail worker in Tokyo. Their eyes are closed and its taken with LomoChrome Turquoise. We had a really sweet exchange, they were very taken aback and lovely about my asking to take their photo, so I associate it with being affirming for someone else as well as beautiful to see.

You recently posted shots from a trip to Japan. Do you see photography as a tool to capture and remember moments or rather to create something completely new that exists on its own?

It’s probably a combination of both. It’s about looking for the act of creation in real time. Equal parts preserving a moment and imprinting a specific viewpoint onto that moment.

shot by Frances Bean Cobain with LomoChrome Purple 35mm ISO100-400 and Lomography Color Negative 100

Are there any photographic experiments you’re hoping to take on next?

I would like to make my own film soup with some LomoChrome film that’s already been color manipulated. I’m curious about LomoChrome Purple and film soup! We will see if that ends up being rad or an absolute disaster.

Before we say goodbye, is there anything you have learned or heard that has helped you express yourself creatively that you’d like to share with our community?

No one else has had or will ever have your exact lived experience, that in and of itself is beautiful and worthy to explore, as long as it’s not hurting other people. And your version of success or failure can be different than what other people associate with those concepts. Every day that I get to have a little access to awe and some moments of peace, feel extremely successful.

Thanks to Frances for sharing her images and thoughts. To see more of her film photography, follow the channel seenby_a_spacewitch. For everything else, follow her main channel thespacewitch.

written by birgitbuchart on 2023-05-08 #lomochrome-purple #lomochrome-turquoise #berlin-kino #lomochrome-metropolis #fantome-kino

Lomography LomoChrome Turquoise XR 100-400 (35mm)

Unique chemical formulas set our LomoChrome color negative films apart. Pick up this color negative film to explore a wonderland of tantalizing turquoise tones.


  1. hervinsyah
    hervinsyah ·

    "Hi Francis please introduce yourself" 🤭

  2. hannah_brown
    hannah_brown ·


  3. 24horas
    24horas ·

    Daughter of the late Kurt Cobain, Nirvana frontman?

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