Jodi, better known as @jolom around here, is a hobbyist photographer from Atlanta, Georgia. As someone who grew up in the pre-digital world, she has taken a photography path that will be familiar to many other Lomographers of a similar age. She took a hiatus from film photography after getting her first digital camera in 1999, before eventually returning to film with renewed love years later.
In this interview Jodi discusses her passion for 110 format film, bringing new life to old cameras, and for pushing her skills by experimenting with different techniques such as film soup, cyanotype, lumen prints.
Welcome to Lomography Magazine, please tell us about yourself and your story with film photography?
Hi, I'm Jodi from Atlanta, Georgia, USA. I'm a mom of young adult kids and I also do freelance marketing projects. Having grown up during a time when film photography was the main kind of photography, I got my first digital camera in 1999, and stopped using film a few years after that. But I kept one of my film cameras, a Kodak Ektralite 500 pocket 110 camera that my grandma had given me when I was a kid. I had taken that camera all over the world, and it remains very special to me.
In the meantime, I was having fun with various digital filters to make my digital photos look like lo-fi old film photography. Some of my favorite filters were named "Lomo," but I didn't know what that meant. So I looked it up and discovered Lomography! While perusing the site I found that they were making 110 film! I could use my beloved Kodak again! I ordered some film and really enjoyed using it. My sister in law gave me some unused film cameras that she had, and I was hooked!
Then of course the pandemic began, and that was the perfect time to learn and expand upon a new hobby. I started collecting more film cameras, developing my own film, using instant film, experimenting with other analogue processes, and just going where my creativity took me. Caffenol, film soup, cyanotype, lumen prints...I've had so much fun learning new processes.
Experimentation and alternative processes is obviously important to you. What do you love so much about experimenting with new methods of making images?
It's almost hard to explain...I get an endorphin rush every time I create a new image, no matter what the process. The serendipity of it all, leaving many of the variables to chance in the hopes that something beautiful or interesting will result. I think that Lena (@lalouve) describes herself as a "coincidence addict." It's kind of like that--I'm addicted to trying new things and seeing what happens! Plus I think it's good for my brain to keep learning and doing new techniques; I'm hoping that it will help keep me young...or at least thinking young!
Do you have a favorite among all your projects? And which project for you has been the most surprising in terms of the results?
So hard to choose...right now I think my favorite is bringing old obsolete cameras back to life using creative techniques, especially instant film. There are so many fun cameras out there for which no film is currently being produced. Old roll film and pack film Polaroids, Instamatic 126 cameras, Brownie cameras that are 100+ years old. I've used Instax Wide in old Polaroid cameras, I've reloaded 126 cartridges with fresh 35 mm film, I've used Instax Wide and Mini in old Brownie cameras. The problem solving can be very satisfying, and I just love producing an image with a camera that probably hasn't had film in it for decades. And if I can make something beautiful with it, it's an amazing feeling.
As for the most surprising, right now I feel like that's the "Lumenbox" method. Jorge Otero Lopez (Joterman) has created a camera that uses black and white photo paper, moistened with water. No developing or fixing; the resulting photos are scanned and edited digitally. The results are just wonderful, and somehow the black and white paper develops unpredictable colors using nothing but the sun and water. It's almost like extra-slow instant photography! I have experimented with the same method using some of my Brownie box cameras and homemade pinhole cameras, and have been very pleased with the results. (And again, it's a great way to bring an old box camera back to life!)
Do you have a favorite Lomography camera or film to use? Why?
I think I have to say that my favorite Lomography film is still good old 110 film. I am so grateful to Lomography for bringing it back and continuing to produce it, allowing me use my beloved camera from my grandma. The variety of film types is really gratifying as well: color, black and white, Lomochrome. Plus 110 cameras are just so much fun to use and easy to carry around. I also have a Diana Baby and Fisheye Baby that I really enjoy.
Do you have any advice for people who want to start learning about alternative photography processes and experimenting themselves?
There are so many great resources to be found online, and I recommend looking at a number of different sources to learn more about different processes and experiments. Where to get supplies, tricks and tips, exposure times, etc...that is all good information.
But while it's important to understand how to get started, it is equally important not to be bound by "rules." So many people will say that you have to take photos or make images a certain way, and that's just not true. The best way to experiment is just to get started! Don't overthink it, and just go!
Thank you to Jodi for sharing her photography and her thoughts with us! Keep up to date with all of her analogue experiments at her LomoHome.