LomoAmigo Ben Fraternale, a.k.a In An Instant, is kicking off 2023 with positive vibes, new adventures, and stronger relationships. One of the relationships he has so ecstatically developed is with our Lomo LC-A 120 Film Camera.
We speak with Ben to learn just how quickly the Lomo LCA-120 earned a spotlight in his vast camera collection, as well as what it means for him to share a 30th anniversary with Lomography. Make sure to also check out his latest video below, in which he shares his Lomographic journey with the LC-A family!
Hi Ben, Happy New Year! How did you enjoy the beginning of 2023 and are you excited for what’s in store?
Happy New Year, Lomographers! 2023 has kicked off with lots of shoots and immensely positive vibes, honestly. I feel this is going to be a major year for the film community and I’m beyond thrilled for everything cheffing up in the analogue kitchen.
You’ve been with us for quite some time now. What does Lomography’s 30th anniversary mean to you?
Lomography and I actually share the same birthday, with the clock striking 30 for us both! I’m deeply proud of both of us for staying alive this long; Lomography in particular. It’s surreal to think that I unwrapped my first Lomo camera at age 13, a Fisheye under the Christmas tree, and that 17 years later I still use that same (slightly updated) camera. I was honestly puzzled by the gift back then, but slowly came to understand the Lomographic way of seeing. Lomography keeping the flame alive decades later is truly meaningful to me and so many others with blood type LC-A+.
What's the story of your relationship with the LC-A family?
Despite owning most Lomo cameras known to mankind, including original Russian copies, I somehow never procured an LC-A. It’s fitting that on this journey to 30, it was on the anniversary itself that I finally wound up with an LC-A 120. Now strapped with the 120 and the Minitar-1 Art Lens for Leica M, I’ve finally been exposed to the light, and boy does that light pop.
This past year has been filled with magnitudinal moments like my wedding and major film-related career shifts. Lomo cameras accompanied every step of the journey, including our “mini-moon” to Cali where the LC-A 120 was my primary camera for memory preservation. Like the LomoApparat on my bachelor party or the Sprocket Rocket on trips around the country, I’ve formed an inseparable bond with the LC-A as it accompanies new adventures to come!
Do you have a favorite LC-A camera?
It’s 120 or bust. I’ve dallianced with LC-As of all varieties, but settled on my own LC-A 120 out of my undying love for 6x6, wide angle wonders, and the spiritual lineage the camera has to Lomography’s history.
How did the LC-A 120 compliment the scenes of California you chose? What features stood out?
The Minigon 38 mm lens on the 120 brought a true immersion to what I sought to capture on our trip through SoCal. At that focal length on medium format, the field of view has spectacular breadth. When the camera is held at eye level, the images produced have a closer FOV to the human eye than any other focal length I’ve used on 6x6. So, by looking at these prints, it almost feels like I’m standing right back in that spot again and reliving the memory. On an excursion that bookended the wildest (and arguably most important) year of my life, that intimate connection between memory and image can’t be understated.
What other adventures will you be taking the LC-A 120 with?
This year I have many shoots and events that will be bringing me back out west and escapading abroad. I’ve got a penchant for carrying RB67s, large format cameras, and press bodies on my adventures - while that is great for maintaining upper body strength (allowing me to skip the gym entirely), it isn’t so great for nimbleness on the go. The LC-A 120 put the power of my favorite celluloid format, and an internal light meter no less, in a tiny square package that can move as freely as I can.
In 2023 I’ll be shooting mid-century architecture, plenty of neon, my honeymoon, and many of my favorite people on the planet with this camera - it feels almost designed for my shenanigans.
What would you tell people looking into obtaining a LC-A camera for their own?
The LC-A will blow your doors off if you use it right. One of my suggestions for prospective LC-A investors is to grab an external rangefinder to help with critical focusing. I shoved a handy Voigtlander RF onto the hot shoe of the LC-A 120 and it has helped tremendously with the challenge of zone-focusing on medium format. While it wouldn’t be necessary whatsoever for a camera like the LC-Wide, it certainly helps on the 120! I also can’t speak highly enough about the optics - if you’re free associating Lomo with “plastic,” keep in mind the LC-A glass lenses have a stunningly unique optical quality. I’d easily recommend an LC-A 35 over an unknowable electronic point & shoot produced in the 80s.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Through 30 years, Lomography has seen an unthinkable shift in the way people make images. It’s quite amazing how well “Lomography” has aged as a concept. Going from a period where film was all anyone knew to this new era of film as an artistic choice, Lomography has been by our side to supply the next generation with funky and forward-thinking tools for the analogue soul. I’m raising a glass filled with Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Cider mixed with Jack Daniels Tennessee Fire whisky and cheersing to you, my loves!