Carolina Bonnelly (aka @bonnelly) has been shooting with Lomography products for years. Being uninspired by the street photography opportunities in Miami, Florida, she took on the hobby of shooting while plane spotting.
Plane spotting is an active and growing activity in the US in which enthusiasts track aircraft movement, typically by photography, video, and/or recording other information. The community even caught the attention of the New York Times a few months back.
Carolina, being a longtime Lomographer and strict film shooter, experiments with plane spotting at Miami International Airport using an array of Lomography tools— from her trusty Lomo LC-A to her Neptune Lens System to our instant cameras and all of our film stocks. Her experimentation makes a seemingly mundane and repetitive topic seem fresh and new in every shot!
Hi Carolina, welcome to Lomography Magazine! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your work in general?
I was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to Miami when I was a teenager. I studied Liberal Arts at Florida International University and I then started a wedding and event filmmaker company. A year later I decided to study photography to help me in my filmmaking business. But I never got serious with still photography until 2012, when I had a retina detachment in my dominant right eye and desperately sought something to catch my attention and keep my mind off what was bothering me inside my eye.
How long have you been a part of the Lomography community?
I joined the Lomography community in 2016, but now I know I have always been a Lomographer in my head.
You've used a ton of Lomography gear over the years – what draws you to experiment with analogue as opposed to digital?
When I studied photography at the end of 1998 I learned with analog cameras, I then moved to digital cameras but I was not getting the nostalgic look I was looking for, also I wanted to catch the moment as it happened. I only like the in camera manipulation, I am not a fan of digital in general.
Can you tell us about the concept of your project shooting planes at Miami International Airport?
I live in Doral, Fl, a fairly new community close to the Miami International Airport. There is not much to photograph in the city for a street photographer, but I was always attracted to airplanes. One day, as I was walking my dog Tobi, I saw the airplane reflected in a puddle and ever since then, I feel the airplanes tell my personal story.
What's the process of shooting at the airport like?
I believe my experience as a wedding and event filmmaker has given me the practice to be fast and able to capture the airplanes at the right moment. Some of the photographs are actually shot from my home, for example the ones reflected on the coffee cup. Other photographs are shot closer to the airport. I did my research and found my favorite spot next to the airport. Some days I see the airplanes taking off and other days I see them landing from the same spot. Some days the weather is sunny and other days is overcast or raining. Every day is different and I change concept and cameras according to each day.
Do you have a favorite photo taken at MIA? Is there a story behind it?
I do have a favorite shot, it is a black and white shot were I am reflected in a puddle holding the airplane. After taking the photo I called “Got it”, I felt empowered when I saw the shot developed. The story is that it only took that shot for me to get what I wanted and I was able to achieve it with an original Lomo LC-A that at the time was my favorite camera.
Do you have a favorite piece of Lomography gear to use while plane spotting?
As I mentioned before, my favorite piece of Lomography gear used to be the Lomo LC-A. Now although I like a few different cameras probably the one I use the most is a combination of a Canon Rebel G with the Neptune Art Lens.
Can you share any tips or tricks for shooting planes?
Be patient and practice anticipation.
Where do you see yourself and your work heading next?
I would like to see my photos printed in a book and, why not, also used in a feature film.