Analogue photographer Julia Halcomb's (@waggrad00) LomoHome is a reflection of her wisdom, warmth and authenticity. But beyond the bright colors and framing styles, Julia's photography is also her way of exploring the wonderful unknown. We've had many chances to talk with her, either as a LomoGuru or one of the female Lomographers leading the movement. In the latter interview she especially got to talk about the importance of representation for women and people of color in photography.
In the fourth edition of the Dear Young Shutterbugs series, we asked Julia a few questions about how she started with film over 20 years ago, what keeps her love for analogue photography alive and what advice she can give to beginners in film photography.
Hi! I’m Julia.
My first experience with photography was in my senior year in college. I fell in love with it. I took a break from photography for several years and then got back into it in 2012 after suffering an emotional loss. I’d purchased a Diana Mini and soon after found out there was a local Lomography store. From the moment I went there, met the people who worked there and started going to their workshops, I was hooked. While grieving, photography helped me to seek and find beauty in life again.
There is just something special and unique about film. The tones and range feel super authentic and timeless to me. Even the pics that are imperfect are special to me. Also, I love the various types of films I get to play with. I am not a digital snob by any means, but there is just something so remarkable about film. I love trying out the new film that is being produced too. My favorite film right now is LomoChrome Purple.
This may sound awful, but I went through my film catalog on my LomoHome so I could find my “worst” photo and I couldn’t find one. I found photos that showed I was a novice, photos that were out of focus, photos that were oversaturated and photos that were super weird. But none of them felt “bad” or like my “worst,” because they are mine and I love every single one of them, massive imperfections and all.
This one is my favorite for a few reasons. I was teaching myself studio lighting in my bedroom on a Friday night and I decided to experiment. I honestly think this self-portrait is a window into who I am. I’ll leave the interpretation of that to the viewer.
My most memorable photo would be this one.
I love analogue photography so much and I really love my instant cameras. My favorite instant camera is my Polaroid SX-70, and I always use manual focus for it. I’ve become friends with Leah, the model in this photo, and she is such an awesome person who creates beautiful art and is adorned in beautiful art. I think I told that story well with this shot. And true analogue lovers know it is not easy to get a shot like this on instant film.
I thought I’d found my personal photography style a while ago. I loved double exposures, experimentation and meeting strangers who I could connect with and photograph. However, that no longer speaks to me. I’m starting from scratch again. You’ll know what my new personal photography style is when I know.
Hello there, curious artist!
If you’re even bothering to read this, you are giving thought to your art journey. What do you love? How would you like to hold onto it? For me, I love the unknown and the element of mystery. When you shoot analogue photography, you can plan ahead and do everything you know how to do to create the shot you want and your expectations can still exceed, or underwhelm you. Isn’t that kind of cool?
Film photography is timeless and ever-evolving. I hope that describes many of you as a person as well. If you are even curious about analogue photography, give it a try. Let’s be honest, it’s expensive. So, dip your toe in slowly. Purchase a plastic camera or a Simple Use Camera you can reload.
There is something magical about shooting frames and having to wait to see what you’ve created and the feeling magnifies once you develop and scan it. That is a feeling that is alluring and kind of indescribable. If any of this speaks to you, give it a try. For me, it changed my life in a wonderful way. Maybe it’ll have the same effect on you. And, I’ll be able to tell you “I told you so” if I’m right.
Thank you so much, Julia, for sharing your insights, experiences and advice with us! In your 2016 interview as a LomoGuru you said you couldn't see yourself not loving analogue in the next five years, and seven years later we're glad that you're still a part of the community!
Through this series, we hope to inspire a new generation of film photographers to dip their toes into the craft and learn from the adventures and advice of some of our long-standing community members. You may view previous letters here.
Want to write your own letter? Connect with firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject Dear Young Shutterbugs!