We're proud to partner with Exposure Toronto on this new series of artist features. Exposure Toronto was founded in 2020 as a not-for-profit organization focusing on the amplification of Black creatives within the photography industry. Their community and studio are built to provide a safe and accessible space as well as financial, physical resources and opportunities.
We want to get to know these talented artists involved and support Exposure Toronto in highlighting the artists' work and thoughts. We've sent Exposure Toronto some Lomography film and Art Lenses for their photographers to play with. Today, we're excited to share the results from Deion Squires-Rouse, a lens-based visual artist who took the challenge to shoot with the LomoChrome Purple for the first time.
Hello Deion! It’s great to have you here at Lomography! First off, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I’ll start with the basics; I was born in Scarborough, Ontario 21 years ago and I still live here today (with my mom). I’m just about to be headed into my last year of University.
When did you get into photography?
I took an interest in photography in 2014 when I had just started High School. My dad had a camera, he was always pretending he knew how to use it. At the time I didn’t care because, naturally, anything he was interested in, I wasn’t. Somehow though, I stumbled upon some infographics on Pinterest explaining how to use a camera and I couldn’t rest until I figured out if they worked or not. From there I started playing around with shooting my friends and eventually started doing stuff for my school. I took a photography course in grade 11 and enrolled in a photography program when I graduated. 3 years later and here we are.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
It’s mostly the internet, I like Pinterest as many photographers do, and Tumblr has some great magazine scans and whatnot, but it’s really internet culture that has been driving me lately. I find a lot of memes placed in a different context that actually make for really engaging work. Of course, saying that social media is my inspiration is also a great excuse for having ridiculously high screen time. I also draw inspiration from my peers, all the people I’ve met on the way to where I am today, and the people I talk to on a daily basis. I wanna make them proud and feel like I only deserve to talk to them if I’m working as hard as they are. Contemporary photography is an anti-inspiration in a way, where I’ve developed a desire to break out of conventions and completely distance myself from what is considered good work today. Life is also an inspiration too, things I notice out of the corner of my eye and say to myself “damn I wish I caught that”.
How does a day of shooting work for you?
It’s always different, especially since I feel like I evolve so much as a photographer every year. I’ve taken to making a checklist the night before and packing everything I need In a bag so that nothing gets left behind in the scramble the next day. I’ll charge all my equipment and make a mental schedule, planning for stops to pick up film or batteries and budgeting travel times. I’ll wake up and get ready, collect my things and head out the door, but then it’s pure chaos until I get home.
Do you have a favorite type of photography?
I have a preference for people because they can be anything. I love that even when someone puts on a character a piece of them still peeks through.
Your portraits are beautiful; how did the shoot go? How did you make your models so comfortable?
Thanks! I think the shoot went really well, it took a lot of work to put together so I’m glad it went off without a hitch. I’d known one of the models, Danni, for a few years and we’d worked on a few projects together because she runs a vintage store, which we actually pulled a few pieces from for the shoot. Tashi and I had been doing the old social media back and forth for a few months before the shoot, complementing each other's outfits and just playing around on Instagram. When the opportunity to finally work together presented itself we were both were pretty excited to finally meet and get to work. Beyond my personal relationships with the models though, I think that I have a very relaxed style of direction, I’ll give loose instructions but I’m really just capturing whatever they give me based on that.
How did the LomoChrome Purple complement your style?
I like vibrant yet desaturated color as well as truly black blacks in my work, and I have a tendency to tone or light my images with a lime green or a chartreuse. So I think it was a good match.
In what way do you see yourself incorporating it in your work?
I could definitely see myself picking up a roll when I need to give some kind of visual interest to a stripped back subject or when I’m focusing on form and want to avoid black and white.
From the pictures you sent us, do you have a favorite one? Can you tell us the story behind it?
Yeah, my favorite image has to be the one where Danni is sitting on the curb and Tashi is standing behind her, leaning on the wall. There isn’t much to it. I told them to split up, did a little bit of shot composition, and just started snapping. I happened to catch a good moment and those are my favorite coincidences.
Are you working on any long term project we should be on the lookout for?
I’ve got some things in the works, maybe some exhibitions, maybe some published work, but you’ll have to check back later on to see!