Fashion photographer Manuela Fraioli has worked with magazines such as Overdue Magazine, French Fries, & Contributor Magazine. She regularly shoots with medium format film and utilizes the aesthetics of this format to create unique and striking portraits.
We sent Manuela a roll of Berlin Kino B&W 120, LomoChome Metropolis 120 and LomoChrome Purple 120 film to test out and she responded with three different photo shoots which were inspired by the unique qualities of each roll. We talked to Manula about these photographs and why she loves medium format film.
Hi Manuela, please tell us a bit about yourself?
My name’s Manuela and I am a fashion photographer based in London. I moved to London from Italy five years ago and since then I’ve been mainly shooting on film. My photography is focused on exploring and enhancing femininity, and is inspired by dance and art.
How would you describe your photographic style?
I’m still evolving as an artist and so is my photographic style. I look to communicate my passion for ballet and incorporate some elements of movement in my pictures. I’m also a very melancholic person and I hope to communicate my feelings creatively!
How did you get into shooting film and especially 120?
Since I was a kid my mum took a lot of pictures of me and my brothers. We all have a personal photo book which covers the period from our birth to our early teens. I remember the routine of going to the lab and waiting a few days to get the pictures developed and printed, and the excitement of the unexpected. This is how my relationship with photography started. Later, I was always taking pictures with my Canon EOS 500N of my friends, at parties, at school, collecting memories and remembering people and places.
As I grew up so did my photography. It became more and more intimate and personal. Shooting film now is a choice that I make, mostly for my personal projects. I love the slow, deliberate process of taking pictures and I value the time I spend interacting with my subject. I think, when you work with a model, photography is a relationship of trust and giving. When working with film, I find I can be fully present in the moment without any distractions. I think shooting on 120 film is supporting me in this approach. Besides having only 10 pictures helps me focus and be more conscious of what I want to achieve. What is important for me is to “see” the photo before the act of pressing the shutter.
What do you like about the 120 format film?
I’m a member of the Darkroomlondon and after printing the 35 mm format for a while, I felt the need to move to a bigger format so I started shooting on 120. I usually work with my Mamiya RZ67 Pro II and I also own a Yashica Mat 124.
How did you find the different Lomography film stocks and did you prepare any kind of theme or idea for the shoot?
I was fascinated by the timeless and cinematic look of the Berlin Kino film. For the shoot I was inspired by the dancer Isadora Duncan, especially the pictures in which she was portrayed as a Greek muse. I collaborated with Antonia Latz , a professional dancer and friend, who I’d worked with previously.
Starting from the image of Isadora Duncan I wanted to explore the Classical female figure in relation to our contemporary urban landscapes. I’m very interested in the interaction between the human body and the spaces we inhabit, in particular how the body adapts to the environments that surround us.
I was intrigued about using the LomoChrome Purple and the LomoChrome Metropolis film for a fashion test shoot. So I put together my team (model Brianna Skinner, stylist Filippo Sandini, Make-up artist Natsu Tomonaga, hairstylist Takumi Horiwaki) and created a mood board with consideration for how the colors of the dress could be affected by the different emulsions of the films. I also selected locations to complement the unique facets of each film, for instance choosing a garden for the LomoChrome Purple film to highlight the color shift effect. The results were unexpected and exciting. I really loved the desaturation of the Metropolis, it really works well for a street fashion shoot, and I’m very pleased with the beautiful colors of the Purple.
Any tips for anyone wanting to try our 120 film for the first time?
I would suggest starting with something you like, and going to shoot without thinking too much about the results. Be keen to try new things, in the knowledge that some will fail.
I don’t personally like making mistakes but I also know it is the only way to learn and to grow as an artist.
You can see more of Manuela's work via her Instagram page. Thanks also to models models Antonia Latz & Brianna Skinner, stylist Filippo Sandini, Make-up artist Natsu Tomonaga & hairstylist Takumi Horiwaki.