Last year's lockdown helped Monika Mitterdorfer (@agrimony) find her way back to analogue photography. She found herself rummaging through a treasure trove—of long-forgotten, undeveloped film rolls and lots of expired film—which she promptly loaded on her Lomo LC-A+ and Rolleiflex 35e. "I started taking analogue photos again."
She was twelve when she received a compact film camera, and from then on, photography became a part of her life. In the '90s, she discovered the Lomography movement and bought a Lomo LC-A for herself.
"On Lomography, I appreciated the spontaneous and unplanned, the freedom of expression without any rules. Over the years I collected more and more Lomographic cameras and I took at least one or two everywhere I went. Film and its development were very cheap back then and affordable for people with less money – perfect for a student like me without any regular income - so I took photos of every places and events I attended. Taking pictures was mostly fun for me in my early years as a photographer. But in the course of time photography became a medium to express myself and my view of “reality” through the lens of a photographic camera (maybe influenced by my studies in philosophy)."
When the digital era began, she started photographing digitally, learning techniques with the digital SLR. She admits that for some years, she lost sight of the analogue photography world. "Somehow I missed the magic and peculiarity of film photography, the special effects one is able to create without Photoshop and the patience you need until you can see the results of your work. I also missed the uniqueness and finality of a picture - an analogue image is not deletable. But nevertheless, I didn’t find my way back for a long time."
Monika's camera choices are her Nikon FM2 and Minolta Dynax40, which enable her to take high-quality photos and enjoy the possibility of creating multiple exposures. She elaborates on her chosen technique:
"Multiple exposures are an important stylistic device in my work. The multiple exposure button enables me to produce images with an unreal scenic touch and to reduce the reproduction of three-dimensionality ad absurdum. I use it to question unambiguousness and to blur the seeming “realistic” image that photography often claims for itself. I also use special films to effect changes in colours such as the Lomography Purple Film, expired films, or cross-processed slide film to cause artistic alienation.
"When you take a photo you capture three-dimensional space, but photographs are surfaces in the end. The photographer chooses a three-dimensional detail and transforms it into a two-dimensional picture. The image taken is only a glimpse of something out of context and an interpretation of three-dimensionality respectively reality. I am fascinated by this tension and I like to play with it."
Among many others, I am very fascinated by the play of lights and shadows as well as the play of reflections in waters or other specular surfaces. I ask myself the question: Is the shadow/reflection as an alienated “picture” of something real? By capturing it in my photos in the form of a multiple exposure, I want to depict this question and the surreality of reality."
Currently, Monika takes photographs of landscapes, due to the pandemic. "I find my motifs in my own savaged garden or the near woods, waters, canyons, and meadows. I am looking forward to traveling again and hope it is possible in the near future, so I can take photographs at the sea or in big cities."
To see more of Monika's photos, visit her LomoHome.