Conceptual artist Olivia Locher is no stranger to the joys of Lomography cameras; in fact, they were near and dear to her heart from the very beginning of her photography days, perhaps contributing to the development of her playful, dreamy style. Now, she tests the Lomo'Instant Automat with delightful results. Read on as she chats with Lomography NYC's Jenna Masoud about the experience.
When did you first become involved with photography?
Growing up (in Johnstown, Pennsylvania) there was a strong local DIY-punk scene. The kind of thing where local bands would rent out fire halls, pack them with people, and play shows. This scene eventually evolved to four of my brother Brandon’s friends and himself renting and maintaining a warehouse specifically for these events. Having a brick and mortar space allowed for them to show visual art and have art shows. My brother's best friend Jacob (one of the co-owners) is a photographer, so overseeing his practice and curating was very inspiring. I was homeschooled during high school and this allowed me a lot of time to daydream. I was a subscriber to a ton of fashion magazines. Seeing fashion is what inspired me to create images of my own. I was into Marc Jacobs collaborations with Juergen Teller and I tried to copy their style using my friends as models. I fell head over heels in love with the medium and decided to pursue it wholeheartedly.
What gear do you typically shoot with?
I’m not much of a gear junkie at all! I got started by using stuff like Lomo cameras, webcams, Polaroid, etc. My first serious camera was a Nikkormat ft2, it was sent to me by a stranger who followed my blog when I was a teenager. That 35mm camera allowed me to truly learn the essential things about photography. Today I mostly use a Canon Mark ii 5D, I bought it halfway through art school (SVA) because that was the camera most professors pushed. I’m thinking of getting a new body soon! I also enjoy working other cameras into my practice such as 4x5, disposables, instants, etc.
Have you ever shot with a Lomography camera prior to testing the Lomo'Instant Automat?
Of course! When I was a tween Lomography cameras were one of the first things I found. One of my first cameras was the Yellow Fisheye, another took 4 separate colored frames in the style of Andy Warhol, was it called a Pop Cam? (Editor's note: So close! Pop 9) I also had a Holga! I loved my Lomo Cameras so much! My friends were always fascinated to see the film when I got it back. I still have the cameras in my childhood bedroom in Pennsylvania.
Who are your inspirations?
It’s funny because my inspirations are always and forever changing. The one artist who has always stayed with me and continues to inspire is Andy Warhol.
Describe your photography style in a few words.
Sarcastic, Tongue and Cheek, Colorful, Tasty?
How did you come up with your How To series? What sparked the idea?
How To came about because of my personal failures at following recipes in the kitchen. I quickly became fascinated with how things could become lost in translation. You know when you go to a dinner party and you love something so much that you get the recipe from the host? I’d soon after find myself in my own kitchen with an invention similar but not quite right. I got excited about how basic tasks could also be misinterpreted. I started photographing these misguided attempts at achievement.
Are you currently working on any new project currently?
Right now, I’m continuing How To. I just finished the art book for my other project, I Fought the Law, with Chronicle Books. It is due to be released in September! Around the same time, the work will be shown at Steven Kasher Gallery. I’ve learned so much throughout this publishing process and am very excited to watch the book come to life. I just saw the first test copies and I’m so happy with how it turned out.
How was it shooting with the Lomo'Instant Automat? Did you discover any tips/tricks to share?
I instantly (no pun intended) fell head over heels in love with the Automat. The quality of the images is so soft and dreamy. I enjoyed shooting portraits in my studio with the cameras flash off (in the daytime of course). I’m going to continue shooting moments at my studio and may even make a little zine eventually of the results! Some tips:
- Don’t get too close to your subject, your results will be out of focus. Keep a healthy distance.
- Get creative and tape other filters over the flash to modify the color results, tissue paper, cellophane, etc.
- If you have enough film shoot the same subject a few times trying other things. Flash on, flash off, etc.
- If you shoot a portrait of someone, shoot two, one for yourself and one for them. They will cherish having it.