Rodrigo (@Heymars) on the Creativity of Instant Photography With the Lomo'Instant Square Glass

Rodrigo is no stranger to the Lomography community. In the past he’s shared with us his black-and-white photojournalistic style of photography as well as his takes on the LomoChrome Color 92’ and LomoChrome Metropolis. Now we get to see another side of his photography through his instant photos.

Rodrigo was looking for a way to use the instant format more professionally and creatively, and soon got hooked on the Lomo'Instant Square Glass. Recently he’s been immortalizing the many important figures and faces of the Marseilles hip-hop scene through his project Planète Mars - New & Old French Hip Hop Legends of Marseille. In this interview, Rodrigo gives us some tips on how to use the Lomo’Instant Square Glass, and tells us more about his instant project.

Credits: heymars

Greetings Rodrigo! It’s been a while since we've had you on the online magazine. Can you re-introduce yourself and tell us what have you been up to since your last feature?

Well, thank you for reaching out to me once again. It's always a pleasure to share my thoughts and visions on photography, especially analogue photography! For those who are discovering me for the first time, my name is Rodrigo. I am based in Marseille, where my current project and ambition is to create a photographic mapping and a collective memory of the city in analogue and instant format. I am Colombian, and in my second hometown of Medellin, I am developing a similar project that led me to win a major international photojournalism award. Last year, I was able to showcase a part of the project in a beautiful gallery during the Rencontres d'Arles. I have so much to say because I do quite a lot of things, after all! The best is to follow me on my social networks. The year 2023 was intense. I balanced my productions of contemporary art and fashion photography with more instinctive, raw, and, in short, instantaneous work, particularly through my project "Hey Mars."

You’ve been using many Lomography products lately but we wanted to ask you about your experience using the Lomo’Instant Square Glass. Can you tell us how you started using the camera and what you like about it?

I noticed that instant photography has made a comeback in our lives but it is often used for personal moments such as travel memories, celebrations, family, etc. Few people use it as a professional tool to enhance a series or photography project. So, I reflected on "how can I integrate instant photography," and then, I wanted a tool with a cool, retro "look" that also guarantees beautiful shots. After some research, the Lomo'Instant Square Glass caught my attention. I also believe there must be a minimum amount of work to be done with it. It's not just about "pressing" a button! I treat the format like other analogue formats, and that's the challenge I appreciate a lot.

Credits to heymars

Using the instant format is quite a departure from your typical work. How can you still showcase your identity and style with this tools?

As I mentioned earlier, the challenge was to turn the instant format into an additional and professional tool, using it in fashion shoots as well as in my documentary projects. Moreover, there is always a surprise effect when I pull out this camera, catching the attention of those who approach me. What makes it interesting for my photographic identity and style is playing with the tools that come with the Lomo'Instant Square Glass! I mean, it's not instinctive for me to be "creative"; it requires an extra effort compared to some of your very talented Lomographers who produce incredible photos and snapshots. I am more of an "old school" photographer, even though paradoxically, I conceive my fashion shoots from A to Z.

Can you tell us about your album “Planète Mars - New & Old French Hip Hop Legend of Marseille” and the story behind it?

This "Planète Mars" project is dedicated to shining a light on the city's best beatmakers, dancers, graffiti artists, and talented DJs who have contributed to a well-rooted urban culture. Marseille is a hub of creativity and talent in the French rap scene and I feel like Parisians might not readily acknowledge it but they drew inspiration from Marseille's scene and it adds a playful touch to the greater story of French hip-hop culture.

Credits: heymars

I think I started this project because I wanted to recreate the iconic album cover Bad Boys de Marseille, by the legendary Akhenaton from IAM, who is a Marseille native and a true legend in French rap. The concept of capturing the spirit of Marseille's hip-hop scene, both the emerging talents and the trailblazers, through instant portraits is a powerful one. The spontaneity of my approach, encountering subjects on the streets or at events without prior preparation, adds an authentic and sometimes unpredictable element to my work. The fact that there are occasional "beautiful mistakes" in the process only adds to the genuine and raw nature of the project. I really want to pursue this project even more and I hope to get the chance to meet even more people from the scene especially the inspiration of this project Akhenaton. I already took portraits of his fellow members of IAM so hopefully, he can be next.

Did your approach to photography change when you started using the Lomo’Instant Square Glass camera?

I would say when I started using these cameras I started to reflect more on my photographic practices. Instant photography prompts a reevaluation of my approach because there's always this 'fear' of failure or the happy accident much more than with other analogue formats where you have time to forget what you've captured. With instant photography, failure is immediate, you see it unfolding right before your eyes. It can be very frustrating – a blur, an unexpected element, etc. In essence, instant photography allows one to embrace a form of humility."

Credits: heymars

What do you think is special about Instant film?

The rendering, of course, and what I mentioned earlier! I would say instant photography should be taken more seriously. Compared to other instant cameras where there's little or no control, the Lomo'Instant Cameras allow you to have some form of control, and though limited, at least it allows you to be part of the process. Other than that, holding the result in your hand and seeing what you were able to capture is what makes the format special.

Is there anywhere you want to shoot the Lomo’Instant Square Glass that you haven't tried yet?

A very good question. I don't know. . . I take it with me very often. Ask me again in six months, I'll have found a place where I hadn't thought to use it! Other than that I would really want to meet some American Lomographers and learn from them because my photography is often described as akin to the way the West usually shoots, which seems natural to me, as my references are photographers like Martin Parr, Elliot Erwitt, and Lindghbergh'! So maybe use it in New York, in the Bronx where Hip Hop was born, and create a 'Planet Bronx' project!

What are your upcoming plans for yourself?

Oh, I prefer not to plan! What I do wish, however, is to continue doing what I do, so doing what I love! Whether it's in Colombia or Marseille!

We thank Rodrigo for sharing his instant photos and tips with us! Be sure to keep up with him on his LomoHome and his personal and Hey Mars Instagram accounts.

What do you want to shoot with the Lomo'Instant Square? Comment down below!

written by rocket_fries0036 on 2024-02-17 #gear #culture #people #places #street #marseille #instant #rap #hiphop #france #lomo-instant-square

Mentioned Product

Lomo'Instant Square Glass

Lomo'Instant Square Glass

The Lomo’Instant Square Glass is the first and only fully analogue instant camera on the planet Earth to produce Instax square pictures. It lets you capture the world in a powerful snapshot while the square frame paves the way for wacky compositions. With a 95mm glass lens (45mm equivalent) and an automatic mode that takes care of exposure, the Lomo’Instant Square makes shooting super sharp, perfectly exposed snaps easy.

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