Meet our newest Lomo Amigos Tom and Melissa, self-described as the Brit and the Yank respectively. Tom and Melissa have embarked on an interesting journey, read after the jump to find out what it is they do!
REAL NAMES: Tom Dowler & Melissa Dowler
Tell the community a little bit about yourselves? What do you do for fun and is it the same thing you do for a living?
Our fun side is consumed by The Long Haul Project, which is a documentary we’re making about the modern meaning of marriage. We travel all over the world to interview couples who have something unique and interesting to say about marriage. We’ve interviewed six couples so far, and we’re aiming to shoot a total of 20. For our day jobs, Melissa is in travel marketing and Tom is in IT/marketing.
How long have you been Lomographers (or are you new to this whole thing)?
We started off with Lomography when Tom bought Melissa a Smena 8M for Christmas 2004 – the very first Christmas we were together. The LC-A+ was too expensive for his meager budget, so he found a Smena on eBay, and the rest was obsessive history. Since then we’ve added an ActionSampler, a Diana F+, a Sprocket Rocket and even a Lomolito, not to mention the fisheye, wide angle, and telephoto lenses for the Diana.
What is it about Analogue Photography that you like so much?
Lomography is all about the beauty of imperfection – how something can be truly beautiful not despite its imperfections, but actually because of them. That, to us, is a lot like life. Life doesn’t feel like the sanitized version you see in digital photography, it feels like the gritty, grainy, saturated version you see in Lomography.
Tell us a bit about your project, what inspired it and where do you hope it takes you?
The Long Haul Project came about because we’d hit a rough patch in our marriage. We felt like tackling a creative project together was the perfect thing to bring us closer and help reignite the spark in our relationship. We’re working towards a feature-length documentary to take to film festivals – taking lomos in Park City in January would be fun!
What aspects of Analogue photography contribute to your project?
From the very start we knew that the Lomo aesthetic was going to be a massive influence on everything we did with The Long Haul Project. We designed our website to reflect the Lomo look, and we take tons of lomos of our interview subjects, and the places they live. Even in our video footage, which is shot fully digital, we tend to up the contrast and saturation in post-production to get more of that Lomo feel. When is Lomography going to produce an HD video camera?
You guys travel around quite a bit, what has been your favorite location to shoot?
Another passion of ours is music, and any sort of music festival tends to provide good material. Last summer we went to Lollapalooza in Chicago, and came back with a lot of good photos. And we just got back from South by Southwest, in Austin, Texas, which was pretty incredible. We were spoiled for amazing shooting opportunities on 6th Street, the center of the action.
If you could travel anywhere in the world with your cameras, where would you go and why?
The souks of Morocco. When we lived in London, Morocco was on our list of places to visit, but we somehow never quite made it. From what we’ve heard, the rich colors, the crazy variety of people, and the possibilities for getting lost down narrow alleyways would all make for a pretty cool set of photos.
What is the strangest, funniest, or hands-down greatest photographic/ Lomographic encounter that you have ever had?
The first time we walked into the Lomography Gallery Store in Greenwich Village, New York, was about as close to a religious experience as we can imagine. It was inspiring to be surrounded by all the different film, the different lenses and accessories, not to mention the amazing images on the walls. It was hard not to blow our life savings in there.
If you could shoot any person alive or dead (or imaginary) with your Lomography cameras, who would it be and why?
Given the nature of The Long Haul Project, we should probably pick a married couple, but actually our favorite couple isn’t actually married – film director Sofia Coppola and Phoenix frontman Thomas Mars. They’re trans-Atlantic, they’re super talented and uber stylish. All things we hold in high esteem.
What’s your favorite photo from this selection and why?
Our favorite is the double-exposed shot of Tom, standing in Soho Square in London, taking a picture with the Smena. We have such strong memories of that afternoon – it was a sunny day in London (which itself is notable) and we sat in Soho Square, drinking and relaxing. The next day we shot our first ever Long Haul Project interview.
If your photos shown here could have a soundtrack of three songs, what would they be (song title & artist please).
All to All – Broken Social Scene (one of the photos in the collection was taken at an amazing Broken Social Scene concert in Central Park, New York, and their last album was a bit of a soundtrack to the first year of The Long Haul Project)
Home – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (as a transatlantic couple and avid travelers, home really is wherever we’re together)
Long Distance Call – Phoenix (favorite song by our favorite band – and we make a lot of long distance calls on our travels)
Your advice to future analogue enthusiasts:
Shoot with love.
Tom and Melissa wil be contributing to the Analogue Lifestyle section of the magazine. Follow their adventures on a monthly basis!