Lomography Color Negative 800 is one of our community's most-loved films, known for its bold colors, gorgeous grain, and power in low light environments. Toronto-based photographer Arman Bahreini captured our attention when he shared his studio projector and kaleidoscopic portraits on this film. Pushed to 3200 ISO, these photos are the results of Arman exploring the possibilities and dynamics of pattern and light. Learn more about his work below.
Hello Arman, nice to speak with you! May you introduce yourself to our readers?
Hey, I’m happy to be given the opportunity. I’m Arman Bahreini, a 30 year-old Toronto-based photographer working in all analogue formats.
When did you first press the shutter button? What’s your story with film photography?
It took me a couple of tries to get it. I actually failed my high school photography class because I couldn’t wrap my head around the basics. I picked photography up again a few years later when I bought a DSLR and taught myself by watching YouTube videos. I started shooting film in 2015 when my mom gave me her old Olympus OM-1. A year later I found an RB67 for sale, and to make a long story short, my fridge is now full of 35 mm, 120, 4x5, and instant film.
How would you describe your style?
A lot of my work is about creating a mood or atmosphere through light or its absence. In general I enjoy working with what I have and I try to get everything in-camera, rather than in post-production. The thing I love about film is that limitations aren't really limitations; they are just opportunities to get more creative.
Onto the collection, these are quite trippy yet beautifully striking photos. What was your inspiration for this concept?
My work for the last few years has been mainly focused on night photography, where I shot near-empty streets around my neighbourhood in Toronto. I’ve had the idea for something in this style for a while but I haven't had a lot of opportunities to work with people in-studio because of the pandemic. Part of it was I wanted to take what I learned from shooting at night or low light situations and bring it to a studio setting where I could have more control to create an atmosphere. The other part was just wanting to work with people again.
What was the process behind this shoot like? How did you get the colors and kaleidoscopic effects?
I used a gelled spotlight, a small RGB led panel and a digital projector. Before each shoot I designed several image files to project on and around the models. The kaleidoscope and other effects come from a set of creative filters I got from Prism Lens FX.
How did Lomography Color Negative 800 support your vision? Why did you decide to push it 2 stops?
Lomography Color Negative 800 is quickly becoming one of my favorite films to shoot with because of how affordable and versatile it is. I pushed it to 3200 because I knew I’d be working in relatively low light and I wanted to make sure I could shoot handheld.
Which camera did you use?
I used a Mamiya RB67 with a 90mm f/3.8 lens
Do you have a favorite of these results and why?
It’s hard to pick a specific favorite as every shoot I was able to try something new, and carry forward what I learned to the next shoot. When working with a projector, and other strong light sources, it can be hard finding a balance, making it easy to get carried away and make an image that's too busy. Typically my favorite shots came towards the end of each shoot when I’d simplify the lighting by taking out a color or obscuring the projector a bit; pulling back the many layers to focus on the person I was working with.
Is there anything lined up for you that we can expect?
I have some work going up on display in Heidelberg, Germany at Kalamari Klub this spring. It’s my first time showing work internationally, so I’m very excited about that. At the same time, I’m looking forward to working in-studio to make more creative work. I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface and I’m looking forward to exploring what I can try next.