Eyan Weiss (@eyanweiss) is a writer and filmmaker currently residing in Toronto, Canada. He moved to Canada ten years ago from Canton province in China. Since then he tells us he has spent a lot of time finding a new cultural identity, and a new name (both metaphorically and literally) through the arts.
Eyan started getting serious about film photography in 2017, having already directed three short films shot on 16 mm film. “I found myself shooting Lomography films more often in 2020”, Eyan tells us, “and I decided to start shooting everything, be it personal or professional, exclusively on Lomography films in 2022. The experimental nature of the brand is simply inspiring.”
Frankly, besides the universal truth that "film just feels different than digital", it was the absurdity that interested me in the first place. We take photos to remember, most likely to remember happy memories. However, the act of preserving memories on film creates physical copies of the past; each frame frozen in time would later become a ruthless reminder of unique moments that are irretrievably lost, with palpable melancholy seeping through the negatives. Back then I thought that such a process was fascinating and that what William Cowper had written perfectly described the sentiment: "We perished, each alone."
The most recent photos on his LomoHome are taken with Lomography Color Negative ISO 100 and show the beautiful subtle tones of this film and its flawlessly rendered colors. But it is perhaps his Lomography Redscale XR shots that are the most resonant. He conjures up a strong sense of nostalgia in these seemingly simple but powerful images.
“After a heavy summer rain, the sky of the sun-drenched city I grew up in would always turn red and orange, spotted with light blue patches. So when I got back my very first roll of Redscale film, the overwhelming familiarity that the film had offered left me speechless.”
“To me, Lomography Redscale evokes more than reflective nostalgia; its unpredictability is also reminiscent of my turbulent childhood yet it has somehow helped me safeguard the very little childhood innocence that remains. Experimenting with this film feels like exploring different aspects of the home that I never had growing up.”
Eyan has also tested out a wide range of black and white film, from classic favorites like Earl Grey B&W ISO 100 and Berlin Kino B&W ISO 400 that render soft tones, to our super low ISO Babylon Kino B&W ISO 13, which gives higher contrast and ultra fine grain.
“Oblivious to the fact that the Kino Films were extracted from rolls of cine film produced by a German company, I noticed that every shot I had taken with Berlin Kino 400 looked just like a frame from one of my favourite films, Alice in the Cities (1974) directed by Wim Wenders. The result was soft and gentle, which is why this particular film has been my go-to for portraits ever since.”
“I have been working on two photo essays in which I explore the psychological effects these two types of film (B&W Kino family and Lomography Redscale) have on me as a human being and as an artist. In fact, the experimental film I am directing features a visceral sequence of my photographic work shot on Lomography Redscale.”
The titles he gives to the albums on his LomoHome are also intriguing. Titles such as Memory Lane, Paradise Regained, and La Notte, accompany his photography. Whether flippantly chosen or carefully decided upon they certainly help to evoke a certain emotion in the mind of the viewer.
In his album Winter ‘22 Interlude, he experimented with pushing Berlin Kino B&W to 3200 ISO. The results are moody and mysterious photos, full of grain and smoky shadows.
Among his favorite photos taken this year is one from this album.
“It’s a night photo I took of my friend Sasha in Toronto back when the war in Ukraine broke out. It was shot on Berlin Kino 400 pushed to 3200. Sasha had told me about his family over there and talked through his feelings. While the looming building in the back took over most of the frame and felt suffocating, I kept the intentional light leak from the streetlight that made me feel somewhat hopeful.”
“Also, the one of the sky and Lake Ontario taken on an overcast day. I was standing on top of the CN Tower, plagued by certain uncertainties in life. The vastness on the other side of the window soon seized me, and with it came the William-Blake-esque splendour that I believed only the Redscale film could capture.”
Eyan’s mixture of landscapes/cityscapes and candid portraits portray the beauty in everyday details. Although he sometimes uses more formal aspects in his photos, they never appear overtly staged or meticulously planned in a way that might distract from the emotional impact that seems to be the center of Eyan’s interest.
We’ve loved watching Eyan’s exploration of what Lomography films have to offer and we can’t wait to see what he does in 2023!
"I would love to try LomoChrome Metropolis one day as I've never shot anything on it. The film's muted tone always gives me ineffable feelings that I am not yet ready to translate to visuals that are my own. On a side note, this might just be me daydreaming – since I'll soon be shooting my second roll of Fantôme Kino in the winter sun, I look forward to the day that Lomography introduces a new cine film to the Kino B&W family."
Thank you to Eyan for sharing his photos and thoughts with us! You can follow his Lomography journey on his LomoHome.