Everyone has a camera these days, be it on our mobile phones, a big chunky DSLR or a state of the art mirrorless beauty. They’re super handy for recording our lives and documenting our work to share online. Sometimes you might even be tempted to snap a photo of a scene to save the light and return to later in the comfort of your home studio, but have you ever considered using photography as a drawing tool?
If you haven’t met already, let me introduce you to Lomography. The Lomographic Society is a global organisation that’s “committed to experimental and creative photography… as an inventive approach to communicate, absorb and capture the world”. Intriguing, right? Add to that a gorgeous range of analogue cameras that offer all kinds of nifty tricks to kickstart your creativity, and bright colourful film to shoot with, and you can see how Lomography has developed into a much loved creative community.
One of my favourite lomography tricks is multiple exposures. This technique has been around since long before Lomography itself, but they made it even easier by adding a little switch on their cameras that lets you take pictures on top of each other, creating unexpected and exciting results. I was hooked. I’d snap away at everything to see what treats would emerge on the developed film.
I loved the mini narratives I was creating, but I wanted to push the medium further. In this case I meant that quite literally, I started snapping between five and ten frames of the same scene on top of each other*, and when I got the film back I was blown away.
The images that came out were closer to paintings than photos, in fact there were parts of them that I would never have thought to include in a painting. Beautiful layers of line, colour and text that merged the mechanical reproduction of photography with the looseness and ‘happy surprises’ of drawing and painting.
The photos themselves could easily be a finished product, but equally they could also be a starting point to develop further in studio work, huge reproductions with layer upon layer of detail pulling you into the canvas, or maybe they could just feed back into a sketchbook – leaving underlying lines to build up into a complex history of your drawing. Whichever way, they can’t help but get the creative juices flowing.
*if you’d like to attempt this yourself, you’ll have to adjust the exposure of your shots otherwise you could over-expose and nothing will come out! There’s loads of tips on how to do this on the Lomography site, otherwise you could just try experimenting, the best way to learn is by doing!