Jushin Gonzalez is a photographer native to New Jersey who is passionate about analogue photography and wanted to find a more cost-efficient way to make use of his large format camera. That's where the LomoGraflok came in. We recently had the opportunity to chat with Jushin about his inspirations and love for the world’s first Instant Back for 4×5 cameras.
Hi Jushin, welcome to Lomography Magazine! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your photography background?
Hello! My name is Jushin Gonzalez and I’m a photographer based in Jersey City, NJ. I have been shooting for about 8-9 years now. I began shooting film in 2017 with my Mamiya RZ67 and haven't looked back since.
How would you describe your photography style?
I feel like my style is influenced mostly by fashion photography from the 70s and 80s with some hip hop, comic book, streetwear, and pro wrestling influences sprinkled in. Instant film is also a big part of my style as it’s something i’m very passionate about.
What experience do you have with large format?
I’ve been shooting 4x5 since about 2019 when I bought my Sinar F rail camera. I have shot a bunch of different types of things on large format including positive paper, pack film, regular film, and Instax.
What made you pick up the LomoGraflok 4×5 Instant Back ? How long have you been shooting with it for?
I picked up the LomoGraflok because I love instant film and having total control in the studio over them, but unfortunately I wasn't willing to give up any more organs to continue shooting pack film as much as I would want to. I was researching other instant film alternatives that gave me full control of exposure and focus and stumbled on an Instagram post saying that Lomography was coming out with the LomoGraflok. I knew that was the next best step for me. In April 2022 I purchased one and it blew my mind, now it’s a main part of my workflow.
Can we hear about some of the projects that you chose to use the LomoGraflok for?
As I’m somewhat still new to the LomoGraflok I use it primarily in the studio as “the cherry on top” for shoots. But I will be reaching out to local clothing brands in the next few weeks to shoot look books for them with instant film as the primary medium.
Do you have an all time favorite photo that was shot with the LomoGraflok?
My all time favorite photo is probably the photograph of my friend, @covvvv_ on Instagram, with a cloth over her head reaching for the heavens. The shoot came about because my friend, @artsarchy_ on Instagram, had the idea to use lace and ropes to style a model and I was inspired by Alex Ross’ painting of Harley Quinn and Joker to go with an overhead spotlight. It was one of my first shoots where I used the LomoGraflok too, and I fell in love with it afterwards.
Do you have any tips or tricks for shooting with the LomoGraflok?
I personally like to overexpose by 1/3 of a stop because I feel Instax wide gets a little contrasty. I also have a habit of not moving at all while the LomoGraflok is ejecting the shot.
How would you compare the experience and results of the LomoGraflok to the experience and results of taking a more traditional large format photograph?
Shooting Instax Wide costs significantly less than traditional 4x5 film and doesn't require a film holder that is limited to two shots per holder. The LomoGraflok allows you to have more fun with large format photography and lets you shoot more photos per session. You also get your photos right there on the spot so you can see if you need to troubleshoot anything.
Do you have any upcoming projects or shoots that you can tell us about?
Right now I’m preparing some enlarged contact sheets to hang in my studio for the Mana Contemporary Spring Open House which is on April 30th in Jersey City, NJ. I will also be shooting Instax wide portraits inside of my studio that day on the LomoGraflok. That’s really my immediate focus for right now.
Anything else that you'd like to share?
Be good to people and listen to some WuTang Clan when you feel the world is against you.