Filmmaker & photographer Jules Renault is deeply inspired by Street Culture, which influence we can find in both his personal and editorial works. The artist also has a strong passion for analogue that led us to lend him our LomoKino. He went to Coney Island with our 35 mm film camera and rolls of our Lomography Color Negative 400 ISO film to capture his vision of this iconic shore. Jules shot a contemplative movie that gives us a sense of nostalgia enhanced by the Lomokino's unique aesthetics. Discover this short movie and meet Jules through our interview:
Hi Jules, welcome to the Lomography Magazine! Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Hello Lomography! Jules Renault, photographer & film-maker based in Paris, France.
What are your influences ?
I am passionate about music and Street Culture, and I also did for a long time roller street that inspired me to start creating pictures and visuals.
My influences come a lot from American Rap music videos from my childhood, by film-makers such as Hype Williams or more recently Kahlil Joseph. In photography, the works of Jonathan Mannion, Estevan Oriol, Vivian Maier, Sally Mann, and Brassaï and the way they document their subjects fascinate me.
What's the place of the film medium in your trade?
First time I shot film was with the Lubitel 166+. The "constraints" of the manual settings on the camera and the cost of the film forces you to think a lot before your shoot. I found it exciting and this exercise was really helpful for my video trade, be it for advertising or music videos. I still have a passion for this nostalgic look in the images and the organic rendering of lights, which led me to work a lot with Super 8 movie film stock afterward.
You shot at Coney Island with the LomoKino, what is so special to you about this place?
I often go to NYC and I think Coney Island is a mandatory stop in my journey to simply enjoy a moment of calm away from the hyperactivity of the city.
To me, Coney Island is the image of Darren Aronofsky in "Requiem for a Dream" or the recent cover of "Gorilla Monsoon" by Nems, when all the stalls are closed and the place becomes a ghost town. I really dig going there when it's completely empty and take the time to discover the various architectures and the mix of eras you find in the vintage fairground attractions.
"Coney Island" by Jules Renault shot with the LomoKino and Lomography Color Negative 400 35 mm :
How did the LomoKino help you create about Coney Island and reveal the feelings you have about this place ?
Truth be told, I could have not wished for a more suited gear hah! The LomoKino is a visual concept of its own, with its cinemascope frame ratio, the jerky frame rate and the very ruff image rendering that allow you to document the nostalgia of a ghost town, like a reverie.
Can you tell us more about shooting on spot? Any story you'd like to share with us?
I shot this short movie last summer. I was in NYC for an editorial and took advantage of being there to spend a day at Coney Island with my assistant Kern Degrace and the Lomokino. It felt so weird to carry only this small and lightweight camera! We walked around, and after each shot, Kern captured the ambient sound to feature in the movie and give more « body » to the Lomokino aesthetics.
I'm quite addicted to film, and my fridge is always full of rolls of all kinds. The Lomokino requires a lot of films if you turn the advance crank like a loonie, which is exactly what I did! Kern carried a backpack that we kept open all the time, with circa 50 rolls of Color Negative 400 ISO in it. It was a really smooth process: charge, shoot, toss the shot roll away, pick a new one!
What about the editing techniques for this short movie?
This was, to me, the most interesting part of the process!
I got the scans back from the lab and pieced them together, frame after frame, shot by shot on my editing software. You realize once in the lab that the rate at which you turn the Lomokino's lever has an impact on both the number of frames and the space between each on a 35mm roll. This brings in a lot of unexpected elements, and sometimes mistakes which, in the end, are what I was looking for.
Each picture is repeated 4 times with a frame rate of 25 images per second. The opening title is written by hand directly on the film roll, that I then scanned once more.
The final result is very unique.
Would the LomoKino be used by any film-maker, who would you pick?
I'd be interested to see what Kahlil Joseph could do with this camera, he's a film-maker that does not fear to mix formats in his creations.
What are your future plans?
I've been working for a few months on my first photography exhibition "Crown Heights" that I shot in NYC using mainly expired B&W film.
I'm taking my time producing it because I want it to be perfect. I expect to show it around summer 2020, can't wait!
Otherwise, I have more and more commercial gigs that are becoming very interesting, and a documentary that is currently being written.
Thanks, Lomography for inviting me! I really enjoyed filming with this little camera.