My Analogue Life: High Concept

10

I am not so much a snapshot person. Sure, I take them: of friends having fun, of pretty landscapes and strange signs. But what I really like are concepts. I like big, unwieldy ones that I have to wrestle under control before a single frame can be shot, and I like small ones, six-shots-and-under deals in which everything I want to say can be communicated in a handful of images and shot over a single weekend.

Shooting a series is one of my favourite things to do. I love thinking about it, strategizing, collecting the props and costumes and deciding which camera and film to shoot. Sometimes, the series are ongoing and the concept broad, like “portraits” or “prairie.” But on most occasions, the ideas are contained and specific, like the ones I’ve done of children in animal masks, the creepy “Ladies of the Balaclava” or the “miniatures” series of surreal photographs featuring tiny Schleich toy animals set against sixties and seventies backdrops.

Once I get an idea for a series in my head, there’s no letting go until it’s been executed. And while I can see the shots so clearly in my head, they always end up different than I had first pictured. I’ve learned that even though you plan something, there will always be surprises and that there is always room for spontaneity. I’ve also learned that not every series works or that something I thought would yield at least 12 images, bores me after six. Series, I’ve found, are the catalyst for all sorts of unexpected lessons.

Ideas can come from anywhere: a word, a prop, a person, a dream. There’s always a story, and as the cliché goes, everyone has one, even if it’s nonsensical and only in your head. The greatest challenge of a series is communicating that story without words and the payoff is not any recognition that may come, but the feeling of accomplishment when you see the individual shots that make up your series printed and lined up in a row.

Taking on a series is a great next-step for shooters who are tired of the same-old, same-old and want to step up their game, jump-start their imagination and focus on the fun that creating a cohesive set of images can be. Rather than limiting your vision, the personal parameters you set for your series can be strangely liberating, often pushing your eye out of its comfort zone and prompting all kinds of creative flow.

If a single picture is worth a thousand words, just imagine what four or six or ten images might yield.

Have you shot a series or are planning one? Share your shots and stories with me!

Pamela Klaffke is a former newspaper and magazine journalist who now works as a novelist and photographer. Her column appears weekly in the Analogue Lifestyle section of Lomography Magazine.

written by pamelaklaffke on 2010-10-13 #agfa-vista-400 #bear #pentax-k-1000 #lifestyle #pamela-klaffke

10 Comments

  1. mikahsupageek
    mikahsupageek ·

    Hey Pam, I love every article you write cause it just perfectly coincides with my thought process of the week. I've been planning on a couple of series shoot for different projects I want to undertake. I'll be sure to come back here and post the results, will probably also write an analogue lifestyle piece when i get the series done =) Thanks for the inspiration !

  2. stouf
    stouf ·

    Nice article again ! I made a series that took me about two years to complete: www.lomography.com/homes/stouf/walls/304-the-tree

  3. orpheuswasawoman
    orpheuswasawoman ·

    YES! This puts in words what I've been wanting from photography for the past month... Thank you for the inspiration, again =)

  4. pamelaklaffke
    pamelaklaffke ·

    mikahsupageek: definitely let me know when your series is done! i've always thought it would be awesome to do a series with other like-minded lomographers where i get to travel around and meet people like yourself and shoot together in an evolving world-wide series that would then become a book with diaries and interviews. (doesn't hurt to dream big, right?)
    stouf: gorgeous series of trees. i'd love to see one printed about 6 feet x 6 feet on a clean white gallery wall!
    orpheuswasawoman: great — i'm so pleased! you should totally take on a series , it's worth all the time, effort and those crazy moments of self-doubt!

  5. wilfbiffherb
    wilfbiffherb ·

    i did a small series, just on one day of my fiancee dressed up in a forest. not sure if its up your street but check it out if you fancy: www.lomography.com/homes/wilfbiffherb/albums/1635223-fairy-…

  6. discodrew
    discodrew ·

    This was a series I put together on the subject of transport. It was a rumble I had with a friend to prove analogue was better than digital. It was also the first time I tried cross processing.
    www.lomography.com/homes/discodrew/albums/1644847-transport

  7. boredbone
    boredbone ·

    yeah. ideas, images. i love them: www.lomography.com/magazine/news/2009/01/08/a-slice-of-anal…
    got so many things written in my head. got to upload.

  8. pamelaklaffke
    pamelaklaffke ·

    wilfbiffherb: great shots — i love the atmosphere, it's very dreamy and ethereal!
    discodrew: transport is a super concept; i like series that can be ongoing and evolve over time (i especially like this one: www.lomography.com/homes/discodrew/albums/1644847-transport…)
    boredbone: the whimsy & humour is fabulous!

  9. lomoteddy
    lomoteddy ·

    Very well written and really interesting. I also love to shoot a series of something that interests me, It is not as easy as it looks, creates all sorts of challenges, and as you said really steps up the creative process and opens many doors. thank you for this amazing article, I look forward to reading more by you !

  10. pamelaklaffke
    pamelaklaffke ·

    lomoteddy: you're sure right that series are often not as easy as they look, but tackling a series is definitely worth it. and i'm glad you like the article — i have a new column every wednesday!

More Interesting Articles

  • Lomography x Everything Everything Rumble

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-09-10 #videos #news
    Lomography x Everything Everything Rumble

    Everything Everything is an eclectic, glitch pop band from Manchester, England. Their music is known for complicated song structures laid with striking falsetto vocals from lead singer Jonathan Higgs. We have teamed up with Everything Everything in celebration of their new single "Spring/Sun/Winter/Dread" to offer you the chance win a signed copy of their new album "Get to Heaven" and a Sprocket Rocket SUPERPOP edition.

    4
  • Join the LomoWalk@Hong Kong - Lomography Photo Collage - 13th Street District

    written by lomographygallerystorehk on 2016-06-30 #culture #news #places
    Join the LomoWalk@Hong Kong - Lomography Photo Collage - 13th Street District

    13th Street, To Kwa Wan could be one of the most underrated local icon. Have you ever encountered a situation where you just can't fit the whole view into your frame? Worry not… we are going to fit everything into one picture. How? Find out and join us!

  • Remarkable Photographs From the Lomography Smartphone Scanner

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-08-09 #news #gear
    Remarkable Photographs From the Lomography Smartphone Scanner

    Take a look at this pool of snapshots scanned by our community members using the Lomography Smartphone Scanner. While you're at it, find out how you can earn piggies and have your own scans be featured on the Online Shop!

  • Shop News

    LomoLab Europe has moved!

    LomoLab Europe has moved!

    The LomoLab EU has moved and is now open for business! Analogue lovers from Austria, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxenbourg, and the rest of Europe can send their films to: Lomographische AG LomoLAB Kaiserstrasse 34/12 1070 WIen Austria However, if you're based in Germany - and you don't mind a longer waiting time, you can still send your rolls for processing to: Lifesmyle Store Berlin - LomoLAB Friedrichstraße 133 10117 Berlin Germany

  • Fun Instant Portraits from the Community Courtesy of the LC-A Instant Back+

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-09-27 #news #gear
    Fun Instant Portraits from the Community Courtesy of the LC-A Instant Back+

    Take a look at this week's selection of instant snapshots and find out how you can earn piggies and have your own photos be featured on the Online Shop!

    1
  • First Impressions of the New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens: Natalie Wells

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-08-03 #people
    First Impressions of the New Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens: Natalie Wells

    Natalie Wells is one of the original UK Lomography community members who can always be seen at our events, workshops and parties. She recently took the new Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Lens for a test drive around London.

    3
  • Portraiture in Reverse: a Candid Study of Toby Harvard

    written by Ciel Hernandez on 2016-07-23 #people
    Portraiture in Reverse: a Candid Study of Toby Harvard

    Everything about a person can be read upon the sight of his face -- the squint of eyes, turn of lips or raise of brows immediately paint one's feelings like an open book; but these elements are shrouded in English photographer Toby Harvard's portraiture.

    3
  • Shop News

    Additional Member of Diana F+ Family is Here!

    Additional Member of Diana F+ Family is Here!

    Snap your happy memories with the medium format Diana F+ Cortina! This special edition camera is a nod to fun winter holidays: snow-capped mountains, skiing and good times with friends and family!

  • Long Exposures Around Europe with the Minitar-1 Art Lens

    written by antoniocastello on 2015-12-10 #gear #places
    Long Exposures Around Europe with the Minitar-1 Art Lens

    One of the things I like the most about the Minitar-1 Art lens is how sharp the focus can be when you shoot with a small aperture. So if you are one of those that like to shoot at night, get a tripod, add this to a late dark winter afternoon, and you will end up with a bunch of beautiful long exposures. This is what I did on my last trip to Europe.

    4
  • Remarkable Lomographs Captured with the LC-A+ and LC-A+ Wide-Angle Lens

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-09-20 #news #gear
    Remarkable Lomographs Captured with the LC-A+ and LC-A+ Wide-Angle Lens

    Capture all the sights in one sweeping frame with your LC-A+ and LC-A+ Wide-Angle Lens! Check out these images from the community and, while you're at it, find out how you can earn piggies and have your own photographs be featured on the Online Shop!

  • A Compilation of Lomo'Instant Stories

    written by Jill Tan Radovan on 2015-08-04 #news #gear
    A Compilation of Lomo'Instant Stories

    There are many possible reasons for taking pictures. It could be to document an event, to capture breathtaking scenery, to preserve a fond memory, or simply, to have a snapshot of someone close to your heart. Whatever the reason, there's almost always a story behind a picture, no matter how significant or trivial it may be. And for lomographers, nothing beats the feeling of having that story unfold in your hand, in the form of a print. If you want a quick keepsake from that treasured moment or a snapshot of that special someone though, you can have it instantly, through Lomo'Instant Stories!

    2
  • Shop News

    The Lomography Bazaar

    The Lomography Bazaar

    We constantly search far and wide, meticulously seek out, hunt down, and hand-pick some of the most experimental and alternative gear out there - and we've now gathered them all in one easy to browse shop category, ready for the picking! In the Lomo-Bazaar, you canalso be part of our process of collecting fresh new products, rare treasures, and crowd-funded creations to sell on the shop - after all, they’re all for you! Get in touch with us to share your suggestions for amazing gear - go on, we’re all ears!

  • How to Develop Photos on Stone in a Darkroom

    written by tomas_bates on 2016-02-17 #gear #tutorials
    How to Develop Photos on Stone in a Darkroom

    I have always loved the idea of seeing my photos on stone and other natural materials. So, a few months ago, I began googling how it could be done. This is how I discovered (and fell in love with) liquid emulsion. Liquid emulsion is photographic emulsion which you can melt down and paint on any surface. You can then expose an image and develop it using traditional darkroom chemicals. In this article, I would like to explain the process a little, so that if you are also interested in giving this fun process a go, you can!

    12
  • Black and White Photography: The Forms of the World

    written by lomographymagazine on 2016-01-19
    Black and White Photography: The Forms of the World

    Colors may be amped to look unreal, like nothing of this world. Shots may be doubled, cross-processed, post-processed, mixed up into collages. The possibilities are infinite, yet some photographers still prefer black and white. Even in 2016, it is an ode to classic values of precision and balance. Light and shadow must be one pleasing dance. And just like in a well-choreographed piece, forms are obvious or playing coy. It all depends on how you're looking.

  • My New York City Bike Ride Through Purple Eyes

    written by cecilialeitinger on 2015-08-14 #news
    My New York City Bike Ride Through Purple Eyes

    What do you do when you don't have much time in a city like New York but you want to see everything, feel the vibe and be part of the community, even for a short time? Jump on a bike and enjoy what trains, buses and cabs can never give you: be part of the city. Take a camera with you to capture the moments and sights you don't want to forget. I did this with my LC-A 120 and LomoChrome Purple film.