Lomography cameras love the sunlight. With their experimental nature, they're perfect when taken on fun trips to capture spontaneous moments, when we can be carefree about the results. Nevertheless, each roll teaches us something, be it something more profound like capturing life to its fullest with our chosen craft like film photography, or being patient as we learn the uniqueness of a camera.
Australian film photographer Caleb's (@spannerino) album of La Sardina photos entitled La Sardina test roll - disappointing piqued our interest, and in this interview we got his thoughts on his first roll with one of Lomography's iconic cameras, as well as his long history with Lomography classics such as the Lomo LC-A and Sprocket Rocket.
Hi, Caleb! Welcome to the magazine. Can you share a bit about yourself? How did you start with film photography and why do you still shoot film now?
My name is Caleb and I am an Art and Photography teacher. I am 50 years old and first picked up a film camera in 1990 (Practica MTL3) loaned to me by my Grandad. As a teenager I left my job in a bank to go back and study painting, photography and sculpture. I was always interested in photography as a student but couldn’t afford the film and paper.
I have always liked the aesthetic and challenge of film, however I really like digital as well. I know it is possible to replicate film in digital editing but don’t see why if I have access to film and film cameras. I went on to do a Masters degree in Sculpture and then trained as a teacher. I properly picked up a camera again about 15 years ago. I use cameras on a daily basis for work and like to experiment with editing and developing techniques that will help my students explore ideas.
How did you find out about Lomography? Do you have a favorite Lomography camera feature?
My first Lomography camera was an ActionSampler in about 2005. I bought it in Liverpool U.K because it looked interesting. I took a few rolls with it but still couldn’t afford film. I started taking photos again in 2014 and realized quickly that I valued vintage images rather than crisp digital images. This realization bought me back to film. I bought a Yashica D because I liked the look of it.
As a result I started exploring film again. In recent years I have experimented with a range of Lomography cameras and other classics as well as developing my own film. My favorite feature is difficult to identify. I still value the surprise (and disappointment) of a developed film and sometimes leave cameras with half a roll unused for months before completing the roll. Each camera has its own character and requires time to learn the best way to use it. I am afraid I am too easily distracted to fully explore each camera properly.
In relation to that, can you tell us about the photos you took with the La Sardina? You mentioned about it being disappointing in the title and I'm curious to know why!
I tend to jump between cameras which can be frustrating as I tend to forget the quirks of each one. This can lead to some pleasing images but also means I don’t always make the most of the situations I am in. My La Sardina – Disappointing album is me getting it totally wrong. I used the wrong film (ISO 100), I rushed the roll, and developed it badly (rushed it in old chemicals).
I wanted to get a film through the camera rather than explore imagery. As a result, there are a couple of images I am pleased with, but I really need to take more time and learn the camera. Instead of persevering I have picked up other cameras instead of sticking with one and using it properly.
You've also tried the Sprocket Rocket and the Lomo LC-A. How was the experience and can you share with us some stories behind the photos?
I particularly like the Sprocket Rocket because it is a very different aspect ratio. I also seem to have more success with it compared to my other Lomography cameras. I think because it is so different in format it is easier to appreciate how quirky the end results can be. I picked one up second hand originally and have since purchased a new one which I am happy with.
I have had two original Lomo LC-As from the 1990s cameras which I really love. The pictures in color and black and white are fantastic, and appeal to me, however, both have developed issues due to my mishandling and are too unreliable. I should purchase the new one but have so many other cameras that require my attention and deserve to be used.
Are there any other instances or places you'd like to try out these cameras in?
I am lucky enough to live in a vast and varied country. I am keen to go on a road trip to the red center of the country and take photos along the way. I am always rushing between places rather than taking my time.
I want to make shorter trips and photograph along the way rather than rush to my destination and take photos at the end point. I am still learning how to take photos.
We'd like to thank Caleb for sharing his photos and stories with us! To keep in touch, visit his LomoHome. If you liked this feature, also check out our 2021 interview with Caleb on his film experiment with an expired Ilford HP5.