A little while back we accidentally came across some Lomochrome Purple Photos that left us completely stunned. Naturally we reached out to the photographer and interviewed him for our magazine. But that was only the beginning. It turns out the Chicago-based genius is shooting Lomography Film on a regular basis - so much so, that we can hardly keep up with his projects. But Daniel Stewart is restless. He happily took on yet another project and became a LomoAmigo. Please meet the wonderful and talented Daniel Stewart.
Hi Daniel! Welcome back to the Lomography Magazine. We are thrilled to introduce you as a LomoAmigo today! At what point in your life did you come across Lomography and what do you like about us?
I actually came across Lomography early on when I got into film photography, but I didn’t know you guys made film! One day fairly recently, I tried out the Lomochrome Purple and was blown away. It was an effect I had tried to recreate for a long time and here was this film that did it for me. After that, I decided to try out the Color Negative films and had a very similar response. The colors are nice, the dynamic range is good and it’s CHEAP. Which was a huge factor for me.
How did you get into photography in the first place?
So this is always a funny story to me. I actually wanted to be a car designer, believe it or not. I used to draw cars and concepts and my grandpa used to buy them from me (of course, he’d keep the money for “safekeeping”) but it really taught me that there can be a career in art. My family was always super supportive of my art but unfortunately, I lost both grandparents to cancer in the same year and I just stopped drawing. I gave up. Fast forward a year or two and I found out about Instagram. I was a tech nerd but kind of dumb so I thought all these amazing photos were taken on phones since it was a phone app! I tried taking cool photos of cars with my phone and slowly realized that wasn’t the case. So I began to research and teach myself how they do it. My mom bought me a Canon Rebel film camera from the thrift store and that was my first experience with film. I got a cheap roll of film processed at a local grocery store and I hated it. I actually stopped shooting film until a few years ago when I really learned how to shoot it and get it properly developed.
What do you especially like about shooting film?
Personally, I think the emotion conveyed by a 6x7 negative is unbeatable. I use other film cameras but my RB67 is my favorite so I’ll be specific. Using my RB67 and seeing how vulnerable people allow themselves to be in front of it, is something I’ve never experienced with digital. I love the smooth tones, I love the dynamic range, I love essentially having this person immortalized on a negative. It’s a completely different process and feel! To this day, I only shoot digital if the client requires me to.
Tell us a little bit about this very special series you are sharing with us today.
So I was walking to a friend's house after dropping off some rolls at my developer when I got a DM from a guy looking for press photos of his artist. He didn’t tell me who and it was around Lollapalooza so I was getting a ton of DMs about people’s “artists” and I almost blew it off. But something told me not to and it turned out he was 6LACK’s manager. For those of you that don’t know him, he’s a huuuge recording artist with Interscope Records. Anyways, he pulled up to my studio a few days later and we shot and I believe that was the day I created some of my most beautiful images for his new album, “East Atlanta Love Letter”. These images were used for album promotion, tour posters, merchandise, billboards, etc.
Looking through your Instagram, it's striking how diverse your work is. In terms of models as well as the aesthetic. How do you go about planning your shoots?
I’ll be honest: a lot of my shoots are “unplanned”. In the sense that we don’t have a stylist or MUA. We just shoot. I find people whose faces inspire me in some way and I take photos of them. Planned shoots do happen but there’s usually little pre-production. I tell them what I want them to wear, how I want their makeup, and ask them what music they want to listen to while we shoot.
What is your go-to gear?
My RB67 needs a new back, so I’m mainly shooting with my Mamiya 645AF and my Canon EOS 3. I’m not a fan of 35mm but the EOS 3 is the only 35mm camera I’ve ever loved. I had one a few years ago and sold it because I wanted to get into medium format. I regretted selling it and had a hard time getting one back for a decent price. Finally, a few weeks ago, I found some guy in Lithuania who was selling a super clean one for $200 USD and I bought it instantly!
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Honestly, I get my inspiration from movies, Instagram (gotta find the right profiles) and my friends. I’m lucky to have several amazing friends that are also photographers and they really keep me on my toes. My friend Dennis and I always send each other photos before we post them to ask for opinions or criticism, while simultaneously telling the other that we’re going to give up photography because they’re too good. (lol)
Any exciting projects coming up? Can we get a little teaser?
Well, I’ve got two shoots that I did for other rappers. One by the name of Saba PIVOT and the other is Lil Durk. I can definitely give a couple previews of the shoot with Saba but unfortunately, the label has Durk’s photos locked down until his album is released. :(
Here's your chance to give our international analog community advice. What do you want to share?
Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t use Lomography film in a professional setting. I used Lomo 400 and Lomo 800 to shoot a photo that ended up on billboards in LA, New York (including Times Square) and Atlanta. They were used for tour posters all over the world and in the album credits for 6LACK’s East Atlanta Love Letter. Don’t be afraid to take breaks from photography. This is something I’m still learning but sometimes it’s okay to not be busy. Take a step back, regroup, and kill it when you’re ready.