Jaga Galganek has a strong creative vision and uses portrait photography to explore her emotions and express ideas about femininity and beauty. When she started playing around with the LomoChrome Purple and LomoChrome Turquoise film she found the results fitted perfectly with this vision. In this interview Jaga talks to us about discovering these color-shifting films how they've helped her creativity thrive.
Hello Jaga, please tell us a bit about yourself.
I am Polish photographer, based in the UK. Film photography is my second, parallel life. In the first one I am an aspiring Web Developer/UX Designer. I taught myself how to shoot and every project is like a milestone to me. For years I was trying to shut my creativity and need of artistic expression down, but that urge always comes up. I started taking pictures of everything – landscapes, friends, events, food. Perhaps, most of photographers start like that. For some time I was totally into finding structures and repetitions among urban spaces, then I moved almost exclusively to portraits.
How did you get into film photography and portraiture?
My first adventure with film photography took place in college or maybe first year on Uni. It was a time when film photography lost mass interest of people in favour of digital photography. But I am a sentimental scavenger. I bought my first camera, a Zenit E (still have it), at the flea market, I loaded first film and I simply fell in love with it. I loved colors, depth of field, bokeh and general vibe. Within all those years I have been discovering landscapes, journalistic and food photography, using both film and digital cameras. I focused on film only 3-4 years ago, when I started shooting mostly portraits.
How would you describe your photography style?
I perceive my photography as a rich tapestry of contradictions and ambivalence. A central objective for me is to seamlessly integrate my feminine and feministic perspective into my work, embracing the complexity inherent in both. While my models may exude an apparent fragility and vulnerability, it is their profound sensitivity that becomes their ultimate strength. Their power and confidence emanate from a beauty that transcends mere physical appearance, instead rooted in the depth of their personal experiences.
Additionally, the portraits I capture serve as a profound reflection of my own inner self. Although it may sound trite, the act of photographing these individuals allows me to process and navigate my own complex emotions. Several years ago, I endured a period of severe depression that was like a very sad dream to me. Echoes of that sombreness can be discerned within my portraits – a touch of ethereality, an evocation of suspended realms between dreams and reality. Occasionally, even a subtle element may emerge, subtly unsettling the viewer, perhaps even evoking a sense of foreboding.
What made you decide to use the LomoChrome Turquoise and Purple films in these portraits and how did you like the results?
Well, first of all I am totally in love with purple as a color. It brings to me all reminiscences of things that are important to me like creativity, wisdom, extravagance, mystery, independence, and magic. So, my love to this color attracted me to LomoChrome Purple first. I had several rounds with this film on different cameras and formats, but my favorite set up is with medium format. I absolutely adore the range of color shifts and its playfulness. Same as the level of quality. For example, the mood in ‘Mushroom Girl’ series is just exactly what I wanted from LomoChrome Purple. Subtle but impactful, dreamy and soft. The series feels like a literal, but fluffy psilocybin trip.
On the other hand, I wanted to try LomoChrome Turquoise too. Wasn’t sure whether it would fit my aesthetics as the contrast between shifted colors is so sharp. And I must admit I love sharpness of expression and clear color shifts. I could not expect more. LomoChrome Purple and Turquoise seem to be from the same crazy family, but they are so different from each other, and I love both for that, because it gives a photographer huge space for creativity. I couldn’t appreciate it more.
What's coming up in 2023 for you?
At the moment I am still exploring my portrait expressions, and this is pretty much my goal for this year – shooting more and more portraits, to get to higher level of my creativity. I want to explore all the emotions and reminiscences of what I felt when I suffered depression in the most sophisticated and creative way. On the other hand, I would like to redefine portraits of women (and also men) in context of beauty, beauty standards, social and gender norms. However, this will be separate path for me, and it can take more than couple of months, maybe even years. I am also exploring cyanotype and I plan to master this technique.