Last month Lomography hosted a Simple Use Camera workshop at the Museum of London as part of their London Nights exhibition. We talked to Tara, a participant of the workshop and she shared some her favourite shots from the session.
Hi Tara tell us abit about yourself?
Hello! I’m Tara, I’m a photographer and Ice Cream seller by day, but I am about to start my Masters in September. I have no formal training in Photography, I didn’t even own my own camera until I was 22, but I’ve been drawn to it my whole life. At the moment I’m primarily a digital camera person but I fell into film by borrowing film cameras from friends and family, and I loved buying disposable cameras as a kid and documenting my family, friends, school; pretty much everything. I remember the first day I bunked off school at 14, I took a camera and explored the Southbank by myself. I’m a Londoner and I try to focus on that in my work, I have a deep connection to London; it’s history, its inhabitants, its contrasts and its playfulness.
How did you get on shooting with the Simple Use Camera?
I loved it, it was so cool to have the gel filters on there. I really enjoyed mixing the colours and when I got the prints back I was so amazed at how bright and powerful those little strips of gel were at changing the colour. I found myself having to double check the flash was active each time as we were shooting in the evening and I’m not used to having a flash (I use an old Voigtlander Vito B) but to be honest, that was a novel experience and I want to shoot flash more. I think the portraits come out better as the colour flash really worked in the low light. I’ve never shot portraits on film but now, I’m going to keep using the Simple Use Camera to do it, I LOVE the way they turned out, and with the gel filters it’s easy to produce really vibrant results. The camera itself was great, it’s lightweight and easy to hold with a powerful flash and fab instructions on the back to explain how to use the gel filters, the flash and how to reload! I currently have a second roll of film in it - with a little experimenting as it can be a little tricky. I can’t wait for it to finish and see how that roll has fared.
What is the appeal of film photography to you?
Well, I’m primarily a digital camera person but I fell into film when I recently worked on the project ‘Beyond Documentary’ at the Museum of London where we looked at the work of Photographer Stephen Gill and how he pushed the boundaries of film photographs which inspired me to pick up a film camera and try film photography. So far I’ve been borrowing film cameras left right and centre. I’m a Londoner and I try to focus on that in my work, I have a deep connection to London; it’s history, its layered nature, its playfulness - Lomography just seems the perfect way to capture it. It’s playful, vintage, bright and intriguing. I am LOVING it, it's so freeing and fleeting and I love the wait to finish a roll and get the images back from development. It’s always a fantastic surprise when images come out the way I envisioned but it also helps me to understand myself better as not every image develops the way I hope so I have learned to embrace uncertainty, practice patience, and not care about mistakes so deeply.
Also I love the weight people place on film cameras - nearly everyone has a memory of a film camera and regrets getting rid of it or they can’t bring themselves to do so. People want to pass these cameras to people to see them be used again. I think we place a lot of sentiment into cameras and can’t really break the deep connection to the device - while we shoot it becomes part of us - so I love getting hand-me-downs and old vintage cameras. I can almost feel the love and warmth everyone has felt for it before.
Would you go on another workshop in the future?
For sure. I tried new things, learned quite a bit, and felt more connected to the film photography community. I really enjoyed the location - the Museum of London is really quirky and the Barbican has some great structures and contrasts. The workshop also gave me some constraints which pushed me to try new things, such as portraits of my friend, and shooting in light. It helped me to get more creative to be honest. Also Hannah was sweet and showed us how to use the camera and we got a goody bag too, I mean who can say no to a goodybag?
To see more of Tara's work visit her website.
If you like the sound of this workshop then book your space on the next one on October 12th. Tickets include access to the London Nights Exhibition, one Simple Use Camera and film processing. Visit the website to book your space.