Sofia Hammache on Her Love for Instant Photography and Lomo'Instant Cameras


Instant photography can be incredibly satisfying, as you get the wonderful charm of analogue photography as well as the gratification of seeing the result right away. With the dawn of digital photography, instant cameras fell out of favor as a fast image-making method, but those who loved the format pushed it even further and continued using it not just for its convenience but as another form of self-expression and experimentation.

One user who is an avid lover of the medium is Sofia Hammache. When looking at her Instagram feed you can see how she uses instant photography to capture her daily life as well as create fun and interesting experiments. Owning over 50 cameras, including many from the Lomo’Instant line, she uses this hobby as a way to find human connections and keep memories that she wants to preserve.

Credits to Sofia Hammache

Hello Sofia! Could you introduce yourself and tell us how you started film photography?

My name is Sofia, I am 35 years old, a mother of a 6-year-old boy, and in a relationship for 18 years. I am French of Algerian descent but recently moved to Dubai - before that, we were in Togo. I am an industry engineer (expert in GPS language and 3D design).

A few years ago, during an IQ test with a psychologist, I learned that I'm HIP (Very High Intellectual Potential). People like me only represent 0.13% of the population, and it changed my life as it allowed me to understand why social bonds have always been so difficult (or non-existent) and why I've always been alone. Thanks to this step, I finally accepted my difference, my very different brain mechanism, and I stopped wearing social masks (which always protected me). Photography and cameras were the first tools I used to go outside and be myself (while being protected behind said tools). Beyond that, the camera is a real companion that makes me feel less alone and accepts my madness and my uncompromising nature. It also allows me to explore my creativity (long hidden by fear of being attacked or appearing weird). It is not the only tool I use in this way, but it was the first, so it is linked to something liberating.

Photography allows me to analyze if what I see is reality. When we get into the eye organ, we realize that our eye doesn't send images to the brain, it sends electrical signals. When these signals reach different parts of the brain, it is the combination of these parts that "imagines a reconstruction." This reconstruction is largely possible thanks to our memory and our emotions. Since we are all different, we do not perceive the same image reconstructions even if we look at the same landscape. And that's amazing! So sharing my photos with other people via social networks or by postal exchange is an opportunity for me to analyze others' image reconstructions and compare it with mine. It's sort of a quest for truth about the most accurate reconstructions.

The first camera I bought was a Polaroid Instant 1000 deluxe five years ago in France. It had been a few years since I dreamed of purchasing an old-model instant camera, but my financial situation didn't allow it. But when my son was born, the desire to capture him in instant format became so strong that I took the plunge. For the first photo, we went out to the park, and when I pressed that old red button, I immediately felt something inside me. Since that day, I became addicted to instant photography.

Quickly, I took interest in the brands and models that existed, and that's how I discovered Lomography.

Credits to Sofia Hammache

What photographic equipment do you primarily use?

I currently have around 50 cameras at home, including four 35 mm cameras (the Lomography Sardina, a Canon A1, a Praktica B200, and an old manual model called Ifbaflex T1000). The rest of my cameras are quite varied. I believe I have almost all brands, all types of films, and all film formats. I also have a few accessories and storage bags. I own additional flashes because some of my models support synchronization (Lomography flashes, Polaroid flashes, and another one for my film cameras). Finally, I own some LEDs to use bulb mode (the list of my cameras and accessories would be far too long, but I could probably open a store with my collection!)

From Lomography, I have:

Credits to Sofia Hammache

How would you describe your photography style?

My style is sometimes experimental, sometimes "souvenir" like, and I also love testing new models. I even have a YouTube channel for French speakers. But what I love the most is going on adventures alone and letting my instinct guide me in photography, sometimes by thinking, sometimes by not thinking at all. I equally love the perfection of a really sharp picture and the blur of a poorly framed one. I am hypersensitive, so my style is mainly linked to my emotions and my current instinct. I also really enjoy creating frames for instant photos and doing scrapbooking when one inspires me.

What is your favorite Lomography instant camera and why?

I have two favorites from Lomography that I use very often: the Lomo'Instant Square Glass and the Diana Instant Square. They are both unique cameras, and the feeling I get when using them is very pleasant. In fact, they often inspire me! All it takes is for me to pick them up, and then inspiration comes to me. The Diana Instant Square is the ultimate camera when it comes to creativity with all the accessories included in the luxury pack. It's the camera I use outdoors to experiment. Regarding the Lomo'Instant Square, with its interchangeable back, it offers the possibility to shoot in both mini and square formats, and its glass lens is perfect for portraits. However, the Lomography accessory that I cherish the most is the remote trigger!

Sofia using the Diana Instant Square and Lomo'Instant Square

You've been practicing analogue photography for a while now. How has your journey been since you first started?

My journey can be summed up in one word: perseverance! My learning method has always been self-taught, in all aspects of my life. At first, I knew absolutely nothing and I learned everything by myself. For example, to learn how to take photos on film, I started with my Praktica. I watched a video about film loading, then I went outside and tried lots of settings, took notes on each shot and when I got my photos back, I compared the results to my notes. The same goes for instant photography: I used astronomical amounts of film for each camera to master them and understand how each one worked. When I have a precise idea in mind for a photo, I use five or six film cartridges until I get it right! And to understand how aperture works. I admit I've even disassembled my Lomo'Instant Automat in order to see how the mechanism works, then carefully reassembled it!

What do you like about the instant format?

What I like about this format is its reality. Once the picture is taken, you can't do anything about it. It's close to reality, and that's what touches me. I also like the effort it requires to think before taking each photo. The instant format is above all a photo that can be manipulated, given, and shared. It is, in my opinion, the most "human" format. But honestly, what initially attracted me were the designs of the cameras and the desire to create photo albums of my son and my husband, as I didn't want to lose certain memories.

Credits to Sofia Hammache

What experimental experiences in instant photography are you most proud of?

There are two experiments of which I'm particularly proud. The first one is being able to take self-portraits! It's simple, but I hate appearing in someone else's photo. So I had to push myself to take self-portraits and prove to myself that my image is not as bad as I thought it was. It was a long experimental journey for myself! And the second experience is a very nude (almost naked) photoshoot for a friend. I am naturally very introverted and very modest, but in the end, I loved this photo session for her. I found it extremely artistic and very beautiful. And I really enjoyed searching for the right light, the pose that suited her best, etc.

And what is the instant photo you are most proud of?

There are two photos that I am most proud of. One is a self-portrait taken with the Lomo'Instant Square and its glass lens. This photo reminds me that my image is not always what I imagine. And the other is a representation of my social masks taken with the Lomo Instant Wide.

Credits to Sofia Hammache

Is there something you haven't had the chance to try with instant photography that you would like to try in the future?

The camera I would like to try is the Belair with its Instant Back in wide format. It's a model I've wanted to try for a long time. I really like the feeling of shooting with film cameras in instant format. I find the experience to be richer and more demanding than with a classic instant camera.

Do you have anything to share with the rest of the community?

I often chat with enthusiasts like me via my YouTube channel and social networks, and I disagree with the image some people have of Lomography as a brand. You know, thoughts like: "gadget" cameras, "difficult to get a sharp photo" or "not sturdy."I strongly disagree! In my opinion, Lomography is primarily a brand that values its users and fosters creativity. The designs are also noteworthy, with amazing colors, and the 10 Lomography Rules provides a great framework to explore photography. Everything is in place to help us achieve our best in photography."

Thank you very much, Lomography!

We thank Sofia for her story. You can keep up with her on Instagram and Youtube. What's your favorite Lomo Instant Camera? Comment down below!

written by rocket_fries0036 on 2024-05-15 #gear #culture #people #instant #portrait #instant-photography #france #la-sardina #lomo-instant #lomo-instant-wide #lomo-instant-automat #lomo-instant-square-glass

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.

One Comment

  1. sirope
    sirope ·

    thank you to Sofia for this very interesting testimony, particularly on her search for a form of truth about herself through analog images that do not cheat. it definitely made me want to buy the Lomo’Instant Square Glass.

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