Elena Saviano is a New York City and Los Angeles based photographer whose work offers a unique perspective on the interplay between objects, people, and the spaces they inhabit. Recently, Elena's artistic exploration led her to embrace the LomoApparat and some Lomography Color Negative 800 film, resulting in a series of captivating images that encapsulate the essence of living in the moment.
Hi Elena, welcome to Lomography Magazine! Can you start off by telling us a bit about yourself and your work?
I am originally from Los Angeles and am currently living in New York City, finishing up a BFA at Parsons School of Design for photography. My work primarily revolves around a study of space: how objects and people occupy space and how we come to understand what it means for something or someone to have a presence or lack thereof.
Can you tell us about what you shot with the LomoApparat?
These images represent a completely different side to my practice than what I normally get to showcase. Everything I took with this camera was entirely an ode to the fleeting moment: friends at ages they'll never be again, activities and places that will exist only in the seconds, minutes, hours that I experienced them. I took the LomoApparat home to California with me for a couple weeks, and the majority of what you're seeing is from the weekend of the Fourth of July. I took a lot of neighborhood walks, spent a lot of time with people I love, and had some weird experiences in between.
What's your favorite feature of the camera?
The size really lent itself to capturing real time shots. I took it with me quite literally everywhere I went.
Do you have a favorite shot that you took with it?
The picture of the pig head and the giant wine bottle are by far my favorites in this set. Over the weekend of July 4th, my best friend hosts an annual pig roast which consists of butchering, roasting, and serving up the whole pig. I don't normally get the opportunity to photograph things like this; it's really not the most common scene for me to stumble upon in the city. There was so much about watching this all go down that was really unnerving and uncomfortable for me, so it just made sense for me to mold the moment into an image. The photo also seems so metaphorical in a lot of ways: thinking about the Fourth of July, displays of American culture, etc. The photo of the wine bottle is just hilarious to me and really captured the spirit of the night!
Do you have any tips or tricks for shooting with the LomoApparat?
Really take advantage of everything it has to offer. I regret not playing around even more with some of its nifty features. The different lens attachments are awesome and allow you to be really creative with your shots, and the flash gels are a great way to spice up an image.
Why shoot film in the digital age?
So many reasons! A lot of my work is process-based, and I put a lot of thought into the physical creation of all my images. The physicality of shooting film is really rewarding; it's a medium that forces you to live much more in the present moment, get out of your head, focus on the scene as opposed to the product. SLRs are not as smart as DSLRs (obviously), and it feels good to work so closely with the camera to create the image. It won't do all the work for you.
There's also a sense of uncertainty with analogue photography that is really comforting, as we're so conditioned these days to receive immediate satisfaction from taking images on our phones. Aside from all that, there's a beautiful tonality and texture to so many film stocks that are difficult to replicate with digital technology, even in this day and age. It's just different; it feels different.
Do you have any hopes for the future of analogue photography?
I don't think it will change significantly, and I think that's the beauty of it. Cameras like the LomoApparat make the medium much more accessible to the "regular person," whatever that phrase even means anymore. The act of loading film, developing, printing, scanning, etc. is probably not going to change much. There's something nice about knowing that the process will always be somewhat the same, but the result is what remains a mystery. I hope people really embrace all that analogue photography has to offer.
If you could take the LomoApparat anywhere in the world where would it be?
It would live in my bag, ready to get to work whenever and wherever.
Anything else you'd like to share?
Thank you so much for letting me play around with this camera. It's really a powerhouse – so fun to work with!