Photography has always served its purpose to capture the moments and history with pristine accuracy. For Lomographer Ada Maria Jakimiuk, a.k.a. adamariastills, the camera is purposed to capture the transient quality of her personal moments with film. By visualizing what the “intangible” looks like, Ada proves that moments captured in gritty grains, soft focus, muted and monochromatic colors are more powerful and emotionally charged than the usual, straightforward shot.
Hi Ada! How are you lately and how's life as a photographer nowadays?
Hello! I'm doing well, in spite of the circumstances of another pandemic year. I'm waiting for the birth of my younger daughter and cherishing the time with my loved ones. I never worked full-time as a photographer and since I've become a mum I slowed down even more. It allowed me to get a clearer view of what really moves me when it comes to pictures and, as cheesy as it sounds, to follow my heart instead of striving for perfection.
May you share with us how you got into film? How did it all start?
I started using film myself about seven years ago, but the real beginning was way earlier. My father used to shoot slide film when I was a child. A few times a year, my family would sit down together and spend a whole evening watching his slides from a projector. It was an absolutely magical experience for me. The whole process of him shooting film on his old Konica SLR fascinated me. I always saw it as something difficult and a bit terrifying, which deterred me a bit from trying. Through the most of my 20s I always used digital, but the magic wasn't there. It wasn't until one day during summer holidays in the mountains that things fell into place. I was hiking with my partner and I remember feeling annoyance at how the pictures I took didn't capture what I actually saw, much less how I felt. We talked about what photography meant to us, our experiences taking pictures and as we spoke, the whole film thing came back to me. As soon as we came back home, I called my father and asked if I could borrow his old SLR.
You have a series in your LomoHome called "Intangibles", documenting some of your personal and intimate moments with your cherished ones. What drives you to photograph these moments?
The older I get, the more I feel the pressure of time and the need to capture these fleeting moments. I used to do a lot more of staged photography but as my priorities changed, so did my relationship with the pictures I take. I went from feeding my own ambition with polished four-light setup studio photoshoots with models or clients to the intimate, often lo-fi photographs of things that deeply matter to me personally. Essentially, just followed my feelings and stripped away anything that I felt was superfluous. It's very freeing when you stop caring about what most people think is "proper" or "classic" photography and just go where your emotions take you. I do a lot of self-portraiture and this gives me even more space to just do what I want - becoming my own photographic tool rings more true than any cooperation with a model.
The meaning of "intangible", means something that is untouchable. Digging deeper, what does "intangibles" personally mean for you?
It's all about the inability to keep the moment still or define it while still feeling it's so close, right there - like when trying to recall certain scenes from the past or replay the dreams from last night in one's head. Photographs are attempts at keeping memories tangible, but our memory is anything but. Memory fades. The distance in time distorts it. When we dream at night, we never even get a chance to remember it "right" from the start. Photographs are supposed to be an attempt to make a memory tangible, to prevent our imperfect mind from spoiling the moment for the "future us". My own take on it is different, though - I'd rather cherish the elusiveness of memories in my pictures. It feels more human to me. It doesn't mean I don't take these typical, "normal" pictures for my family album. However, when it comes to my self-expression through photography, I do it my way - as eerie as it is.
We love how you portray your photographs in an elusive manner through aesthetics (e.g. soft focus, grainy textures and blurs)! Do you have particular favorites?
I love motion blur and lack of perfect focus, both the dreaminess and dynamism they bring. I'm fond of big, big grain, the organic feel of its structure. My personal favourite is loss of detail in the shadows. For many people it's a problem that comes with underexposure, but I love the way it looks when the blacks and shadows just melt while the highlights remain as if emerging from complete darkness, or as a faint outline. There's intimacy in this that I find very compelling. And in reverse, getting highlights blown can make the picture feel more airy and add more "space" into the scene. Naturally, using any of these tools can go horribly wrong and give you a mess instead of what you wanted, but I like that certain unpredictability that comes with experimenting with film.
What's next for Ada Jakimiuk?
Photographically, I'd love to continue what I do while finding new ways to experiment with film. I've been playing with my photo scanner a lot lately, using it for multiple exposures. It allows me to go back to older negatives and create something completely new from past, sometimes failed ideas. I want to get into half-frame pictures, because the idea of having more frames from a single roll feels even more freeing - just got a Diana Mini. On a personal level, I'm looking forward to my bigger family and hope we will weather the global situation together just fine.
For more of Ada’s works, visit her LomoHome.