Gavin Lowndes' Environmental Portraits with Lomography Film

When you look at the work of Dublin based photographer Gavin Lowndes you can see a rich and diverse mix of portraits, each with their own style that is perfectly executed. From soft focused color shots in the countryside, sunny seaside backdrops or more urban and industrial street scenes in B&W, it's clear that Gavin has a vision for each project he works on.

In this interview we talked to Gavin about his experiences of shooting with a mix of Lomography films – LomoChrome Purple, LomoChrome Metropolis, LomoChrome Color '92 and Redscale and he shared with us some tips on planning for photo shoots.

Photos using LomoChrome Color '92 & LomoChrome Metropolis by Gavin Lowndes. Model: Anastasia Sazonova & Vivian Diamond

Hi Gavin, welcome to Lomography Magazine! Please tell a bit about yourself.

I'm Gavin Lowndes, a Photographer and Digital Media Instructor from Dublin, Ireland. I shoot mainly portraits of models, artists and people in general, but I also do street and landscape photography work too. I am also the founder of 'The Shoot', which is a community mainly of photographers and models, but also include videographers, stylists, make-up artists etc. We meet up at monthly events that I organise, network and work on different projects together too.

Photos using LomoChrome Color '92 & LomoChrome Metropolis by Gavin Lowndes. Model: Emma Leigh & Micaela Garabello

How did you get into shooting film and what's the appeal?

I've been shooting film for over four years now but it honestly feels much longer than that. I've consumed so much film content and information and I've shot with and I own many different types of film cameras. Some of my favorite cameras would be the Pentax 6x7, Canon AE-1 Program, Ricoh GR1, Contax RX, just to name a few. When I first started shooting film I had given myself a challenge to shoot Irish hip hop artists only on film. After seeing the results from the first photo shoot and seeing the more genuine skin tones and colors I was hooked. I then went back to visit one of Dublin's best camera shops, John Gunn Camera Shop, and bought a variety of film stocks to try out.

One of the main appeals of film photography for me is that it slows you down more and it makes you take in the moments that are in front of your camera. You've got to make sure your settings are correct and are adjusted to what film stock you've loaded into the camera. Then you have to use your photography knowledge to challenge yourself to get the right exposure and composition. Each photo you take then feels that more important. The tactile feeling of using all the different features of each film camera feels more personal too, in comparison to a digital camera where everything can be automatically done for you with no effort made.

Photos using LomoChrome Purple & LomoChrome Metropolis by Gavin Lowndes. Model: Vivian Diamond

How do you prep for film shoots? Is there a lot of planning involved?

Usually prior to the shoots I've done, I would have visited the locations beforehand and seen in person what the location has to offer in terms of compositions, props, environment etc. I would add new locations I find onto my Google Maps 'shoot location list' just to note for future opportunities and projects. Another tip I'll add is using street view or satellite mode on Google Maps to scout some locations too. Once I've a suitable location in mind, I would bring the appropriate film stock to test out at that location. If the photo shoot is with a model, we would discuss the arrangements, outfits, theme etc. For example, the LomoChrome Purple shoot with my modeling friend Vivian was shot at the Botanic Gardens in Dublin, where her blue dress stood out more against the purple flowers (made possible by LomoChrome Purple) in the background.

When I'm out shooting with models I want them to feel comfortable and open with me. Shooting on film slows the process down and allows for a genuine conversation and connection with a person and I feel you get better work. Also, there is no digital screen so both parties won't be distracted and the model doesn't need to worry about reviewing any photos of themselves so I feel they trust us as a photographer more. You would talk more too and work together to make any adjustments for different compositions and ideas at different locations.

Photos using Redscale film by Gavin Lowndes

LomoChrome Metropolis I feel is more suited towards the streets and cityscapes so that's why I shot some models (Emma and Vivian) with some surrounding buildings with a bit of nature and structures too. One of my favorite Lomography film stocks would have to be the Redscale. I've really enjoyed shooting landscape photos to get contrast between red and green colors. When shot exposed correctly or slightly underexposed some of the results can come across as stylistics stills from a movie or TV show. Making the cars that I shot stand out more among all the trees and grass was achieved by using this stock.

Lastly, with LomoChrome Color '92 I shot it on 35 mm and 120. The weather conditions were stormy and cloudy when I shot it on 35 mm with a model (Micaela) on the streets on Dublin but it gave off some interesting brown and dark cream toned textures and colors. I shot this film in 120 recently at a beach with my modeling friend Anastasia who wore a very colorful scarf and red coat. This film stock was able to make the colors really pop from the rocks. I was surprised by some of the shots on 35 mm and 120 as they did have a bit of a nostalgic look to them.

Photos using LomoChrome Color '92 by Gavin Lowndes. Model: Anastasia Sazonova

What are your favorite films to shoot with right now?

Lomography Redscale for landscape work, Kodak Portra 400 for portraits, Reflx Lab 800 for night photography and then NoColorStudio has a few black and white films I'm excited to try out more while shooting portraits as it'll give off a moody dreamy grain.

Photos using LomoChrome Purple & LomoChrome Metropolis by Gavin Lowndes. Model: Vivian Diamond

What's coming up for you in 2024?

I will be hosting more events each month for "The Shoot" community, so if anyone in Ireland, or visiting Ireland, is interested in attending all they have to do is to message me on Instagram. I am submitting more of my work to photography festivals, making prints, and also I hope to start and complete most of my photobook idea that I've had for awhile now. Lastly, I hope to do more themed work with models, travel and shoot new landscapes and then do some more studio and street work too.

To keep up to date with Gavin's work you can follow him on Instagram or check out his website.

2024-03-01 #news #portrait #redscale #dublin #ireland #gavin-lowndes

LomoChrome Color '92 ISO 400 120 Film

This new, unique color negative emulsion provides a burst of retro charm and classic analogue character in any film shooting scenario.

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