Being one of the largest analogue photography communities on the web, we are proud of the creativity and diversity of our members. For this month's Community Spotlight, we are pleased to introduce to you Lomographers Austin Hess and Galina Mushinsky and their unique way of seeing the world.
What do you do and what got you started with photography?
I work and go to school currently, so any time I have free is spent doing photography. I started photography in high school, after taking some initial art classes. I found that photography better suited my artistic vision and could communicate better through visual pictures.
How did you discover Lomography and what made you join our analogue Community?
I feel like I've always been aware of Lomography, from seeing your Kickstarter projects to cameras and films. I haven't had much experience when it comes to shooting film but I've enjoyed the Lomography films I have shot. I joined this community because it really feels like a place to share film photos with other people. There's somewhat of a mutual appreciation that can't be found in other social places online.
Who are your favorite photographers here?
What is your favorite subject to photograph? What do you usually look for in a scene before you hit the shutter?
I feel most drawn to shooting landscapes, cities, really anything that catches my eye. When framing, I take everything in the scene into consideration. What looks the most visually appealing, most of the time it's how the subject interacts with the area around it.
In this day and age, why choose with film?
Film is really important in remembering the roots of photography. There's something so pleasing about having negatives, which are physical reminders of that moment in time you released the shutter. Film can be unpredictable and yield different results compared to getting similar results again and again with a digital camera.
What does a perfect day look like for you?
Personally, maybe a bit chilly, intense clouds, and a little bit of sunshine.
Location: Lynn, MA, USA
Hi, Galina! What do you do and what got you started with photography?
To me, it is hard to recall the times when I wasn't fascinated by photography. In my childhood in the 1940s in Siberia, one didn't see people with cameras every day everywhere. When we saw the person who took pictures, we abandoned our games and watched the photographer as if he was a magician. Among the friends of my parents I remember only two camera owners. One of them allowed me to make a single shot with his camera when I was 8 years old. The result was not worth printing, the negative being blurred in comparison with adjacent frames that contained recognizable shapes, anyway it was an exciting experience I would have liked to repeat. Three years later I got my first camera (it was a Lubitel) and that's when my photographic life started.
How did you discover Lomography and what made you join our analogue Community? Who are your favorite photographers here?
I heard of Lomography from my friends about ten years ago. I became a frequent visitor to Lomography and I found a lot of interesting things here. When the street-photo community where I belonged stopped to exist I tried other sites but pretty soon some of them either vanished or became overwhelmingly digital while I after a short period of fascination with digital photography start to realize that I strongly prefer film. And that's why I became a member of Lomography five years ago. I found here a lot of great photography. Some of the photographers whose works I admire were not new to me, I met them outside Lomography, but there were much more of those whom I never met before.
Among my favorites photographers here are @akula, @aleatorius, @argine... but it would be a very long list and it doesn't make sense just to name them, without any explanation why I like their photography, and that is a goal I want to accomplish but so far I hardly started with a short note about horilyc
Here is the link to some of the Lomo collections (mostly albums) that impressed me. It is very far from being a full list of everything I like very much but rather bookmarks for myself when I discovered something that was of great interest to me but I wasn't able at that moment to spend enough time with those photos, so I saved the link. Actually, notes are not very convenient for this purpose and I mostly saved those bookmarks somewhere outside Lomography... And it's a shame that some part of them was lost without being used.
What makes you stay with film photography in this day and age? What's your favorite subject to shoot?
You mean why I am shooting film and do not stop to do it because "in this day and age" digital photography emerged? It's just because I love photography. For me, digital photography is not an alternative to film photography but it is something else and very different. Now I do have a nice digital camera and I use it and find it convenient for many purposes but in no way this occupation substitute for film photography.
My connection with the camera, I would say more — my connection with reality though it is different. It's hard to explain to those people who don't feel similar. Usually, all the explanations start with something that is not essential, something that is secondary, that is "side effect" because the most essential thing here is hard to catch. Imagine if somebody asks: “Why do you still read and buy old paper books instead of reading the same text using your tablet or iPod or Kindle device?” The possible answer is: “Because I like the book itself as a thing, I like to turn pages, to admire the elegance of edition, it makes some difference to me that I am reading the real book.” But if suddenly the new novel or story or poem of your favorite author was published and it is only available as an electronic copy you certainly would not wait for the “real copy” but read what is available. Because the text is the same and that's what is essential.
Well, I believe that such an essential thing as a common text does not exist for film and digital photography. In spite of the fact that the digital copies of them may have more semblance than digital and paper copies of the same text. But still, there is nothing like the same text here.
As for subject to shoot — I think the main subject is always the Light itself, it is the subject and the object, all other subjects are objects to light and completely depend on it, and an interplay of light on the surfaces of things, the changing visual music of light spots and shadows is the everlasting attraction to the photographer.
Well, if to speak in a more narrow sense of a subject as a thing, probably people provide the most interesting subject, human faces and figures, and their mimic and movement. Though I am now not quick enough and probably never was bold enough to be a skillful street photographer, but I memorize my experience of this kind with great pleasure.
Much more time I spent photographing landscapes, returning to the same place over and over again hoping to capture something in the very core of it, its "genius loci". But it is again about the connection that exists between things and not a stand-alone thing. As far as the latter is concerned, I would name a tree as an ever-attractive subject. I remember one photographer saying: “I would like to photograph each and every tree if only that was possible.” I'd say more: to every tree I ever photographed I wished to return, to capture it in the early morning and in the evening, in different season, lit by sunshine and wet after rain under overcast sky, covered with snow and still as stone one day and disturbed by the stormy wind and wild another day.
Another ever-attractive thing is water. Bodies of water, ponds and rivers and lakes and the ocean, still waters and waves attacking the rocks; reflections of trees and clouds on the surface of still water. Once I spared the whole roll photographing tree branch reflection that changed because of circular waves on the surface of the water caused by the rare drops from that branch, and every time it produced different outlines. Actually, it is hard to name a thing that cannot be attractive to the photographer under any circumstance.
For you, what's the best part about being a Lomographer?
One of the best things at Lomography for me is an abundance of good photography I can see during my everyday visit. Almost every time I discover something wonderful. Though to see if you don't need to be a member and I enjoyed my visits here long before I became a member, and it is great that it is available to everybody. But it makes my answer not quite appropriate.
Another thing. Here at Lomography, I am not among the people who ask me with a scornful smile: "Are you still using this mastodon, this ancient camera? It's a good-for-nothing. Don't be so stubborn, buy some nice modern camera and start to do it in a normal way, considerably easier and better."
What is your favorite Lomography camera and film and why?
Among several dozen of cameras I used during my life my most warm memories belong to my first cameras - Lubitel and FED, then Zenit and Konica Auto S3, Canon SureShot and Canon AE1, Mamiya/Sekor 1000 DTL and different kinds of Pentax. I tried Brownie at some point and use Lomo'instant automat glass and I also have La Sardina. My favorite lens is Helios 44, Super-Takumars, SMC Pentax-M 50 mm F1.4, I like auto Mamiya/sekor 1.4/ 55 and planar 1.8/50 and of course my monolines.
I am not sure which of my cameras are Lomography cameras strictly saying. The same about films. I love Velvia and Provia, Orvochrome and later Agfa CT Precisa but I mostly used color negative 35 mm Kodak and Fuji of different kinds. I certainly name the Kodak UC 400 that is discontinued now. Portra 400 is very similar but not exactly the same. I also like Rollei CN200 digibase pro (without orange mask) very much. But again it depends on the subject and light, on what you want to capture. For example, I usually don't particularly like the colors produced by ektar but sometimes you see something and think: “This is certainly for Ektar and that's what Ektar would be delighted with".
As for black and white films, my favorites were Efke KB-25 and Neopan 1600, great films, it's a shame they are discontinued. From what is available now Agfa APX 100 is very nice. I also tried to use Fujicolor film as b&w developing it in Rodinal (just because I had a lot of Fuji and didn't have any real b&w at that time), but I don't think it worth doing, real b&w films are much better.
Stay tuned for our monthly Community Spotlight to discover the work of some of the most talented Lomographers!