Much of Niamh's passion for photography is deeply rooted in her childhood. Her father served as her mentor and captured their travels together with a Nikon F90x, which she still uses today. Get to know our featured Community newcomer @kneec from Madrid, Spain.
Please tell us something about yourself and what you do.
Hola! My name is Niamh. I’m from Ireland, but I currently live and work in Madrid as an English teacher. I’ve been here since September 2017. Before I moved to Spain, I lived in Cork City for seven years and graduated from Crawford College of Art & Design in 2015. My artistic practice mainly concerns performance art, video and photography.
I’ve been in love with analogue photography since I was a child. My father is a photographer and I have many fond memories of him taking me out to different locations and teaching me how to shoot. He gave me my first ever camera, my Nikon F90x, which I still have and cherish today. It has a lot of sentimental value to me, so I didn’t bring it with me to Spain for fear of losing it. So, in October, I bought myself a Lomo LC-A+, which has been my travel buddy ever since.
How did you find the Community and who/what convinced you to join?
There’s a great Lomography store in Madrid called Caprile Photo. It’s where I bought my LC-A+ and I go there regularly to use their lab and buy film. The people who work there are super nice, even though there’s a bit of a language barrier and most of the transactions happen in ‘Spanglish’. When I bought my camera, the girl working there (I wish I knew her name) gave me a free book about Lomography and this website was naturally mentioned in the book. I had been lurking on the website ever since I bought my camera back in October, but only recently decided to join and show my own work.
I’m very glad that I joined. Everything in Madrid still feels relatively new to me and I haven’t yet been able to find an artistic community similar to the one I left behind in Ireland. I’m sure that’s not because there isn’t one here, it’s just that I haven’t been putting myself out there and the language barrier can be a bit intimidating. The community here is helping me slowly get over that feeling of intimidation. I never expected that my work would attract so much attention. It’s encouraging me to try and be more active within Madrid’s artistic communities.
As you have read the 10 Golden Rules of Lomography, what rule do you apply in your everyday life?
Of all the rules, I think my favourite is don’t think. It’s one that I make a conscientious effort to practice every day.
I developed anxiety soon after I finished college. I found myself overthinking absolutely everything, to the point where I was afraid to enter a supermarket in case I would run into someone or have a meltdown over which brand of orange juice to buy. I didn’t create much art or use my camera at all during those two years. When you’re busy overthinking yourself to death, you tend to shy away from the things that make you want to live, the things that open your mind and make your heart beat a little faster.
Leaving Ireland was a last-minute decision, and it’s one that I didn’t give much thought to. I miss Cork dearly but coming here is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. One Saturday morning in Madrid, I walked past the Lomography store, thought ‘fuck it’ and went back and purchased a camera without much thought either. I take that camera everywhere now and I shoot simply when I feel like it or when the opportunity presents itself, regardless of whether the subject is interesting enough to be photographed. Now when I have a day where I feel anxious and I want to stay under the covers, I apply the don’t think rule and I go outside with my camera.
In this digital age, why still film?
I guess my answer to this probably relates to what I’ve said above about overthinking. I enjoy shooting in digital and I especially enjoy shooting and editing videos digitally. But I guess when I use a digital camera, I feel somewhat separated from what I’m photographing because the moment I shoot a series of images, I stop everything to review the shots I’ve taken. When this happens, I’m more focused on how I’m using the camera as opposed to why I’m using it. I no longer care about why the subject was so interesting that I wanted to photograph it in the first place, because now I’m more concerned with taking ‘the perfect shot’, if that makes sense.
I use film to explore my own head for when I can’t put into words how I feel. I love that my camera has no screen on the back. There’s a magic in being in a darkroom processing your own film and being reacquainted with the shots you’ve taken a couple of days or even a couple of years beforehand.
Your favorite analog camera as of the moment? Why?
At the moment my LC-A+ because I’m still figuring out how to use it and get the best out of it. I love the lens and the quality image it produces.
What is the Lomography camera you’d want to have someday?
I’d love a Lomo Lubitel+ or an LC-A 120.
Any song, book, or movie you live by?
That’s a difficult one! One of my favorite authors is Charles Bukowski and I’m currently reading a book of short stories by him. I love how brutal and honest his writing is. It can go from beautiful to disgusting from one paragraph to the next and for some reason I find him oddly comforting because of that.
Share your current favorite Lomograph, could be yours or a friend’s. Why?
I love this portrait by @denkbeeldig. Looking at it almost feels like you’re having a conversation with the guy and he’s said or done something cheeky. I just think it’s a successful shot because you can feel the humor shine through.
Any Community member you look up to? If so, why him or her?
What are you looking forward to in our Community?
I’m just looking forward to seeing new images and members appearing. I love scrolling through albums and never get tired of what I see here. I’m hoping that down the line there will be a mobile app so that I can be even more anti-social in public!
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, Niamh! Welcome to the Lomography Community and we're all excited to see more of your photographs!