Seeing the world through lenses

Seeing the world through lenses

Seeing the world through lenses

At a time when practically the entire world is shifting to digital photography, Meghal Anukul takes a liking to analogue and lomography cameras, a rare passion for a 21-year-old student of Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology.

“I first became interested in lomography when I was in my second semester of college. I was reading up on a lot of different cameras after I made a pinhole camera with a matchbox. After my first camera, it just became a burgeoning love,” she tells Metrolife. Her ever-growing collection currently includes cameras like the Lomography Sardina, Fisheye, Konstruktor, Blackbird fly, Nikon F3, pop9, an old Polaroid, Kodak Rangefinder, Vivitar, Canon AF35ML point-and-shoot, Fujifilm Silvi and the Yashica 635.

Talking about the pinhole camera that kickstarted this hobby, Mehgal says, “It was the catalyst that I needed to get started. I made it in my first year of college and wandered around where I lived, taking pictures of what was around and even some selfies. I really wasn’t expecting any results. But what came out astounded me. The countless light leaks gave the photos a very kaleidoscopic effect and it instantly made me wonder and want to experiment further.”

Meghal’s collection began with her father’s old Yashica point-and-shoot, which she was given after her successful matchbox experiment. “I experimented with my dad’s camera by using filters, cooking film, adding frames, etc. I was inspired to find out about the entire spectrum of cameras which did so many different things and it engrossed me enough to explore further. Since then, my cameras have come from various sources.

I got some online from the Lomography store and some were cameras that were gathering dust and lying unused before they were entrusted to me by my friends who thought I could do justice to them,” she recalls. “But it’s an expensive passion and there are many more cameras I would love to own!” she adds.

Asked about the challenges pursuing such a hobby, she replies, “There are quite a few inept studios to develop and print your rolls. It’s annoying because they refuse to develop the roll for days, weeks at a time. Plus, developing and printing has become more expensive over the two years that I’ve been into this. I would love to have a darkroom of my own once I get my hands on the chemicals. I’d be able to experiment a lot more then.”

The young photographer-collector keeps a camera in her bag every time she heads out somewhere interesting, be it a lake or party. So what aspect of the art form struck her most? She answers, “The charm and magic with analogue cameras is the fact that you don’t know what you’ve clicked until after you develop it. It’s this mystery that attracts me most to it.”

Interestingly, the subjects that she photographs have also changed since she started collecting and experimenting with these unique cameras. “When I first started out, it was a hobby. I took photographs when I went to parties or when I went out on a trip or holiday. But as I learnt more, I began to apply myself more.

I’ve done a lot more conceptual work recently, like staging photographs with my friends and props. I also swapped film with some of my Lomography friends all over the world and it is wonderful to see how images from different countries blend into each other on the same negative,” she shares.

While few pursue lomography here, she notes that there’s an extremely active community doing it abroad. “There’s actually a huge lomography community where people around the world interact with each other. I’ve made friends and collaborated with people from various places,” says Meghal, who exhibited her collection at the recently held Puma Social Club Collector’s Edition in Indiranagar.

With a hobby such as this, one would be curious as to whether she views it artistically or as a technical skill set. Meghal explains that because she is studying Visual Communication, she has the technical knowledge of composition, lighting, editing etc. She adds that when it comes to film, she never manipulates them digitally. “The only digital process I go through is while scanning my developed prints. I never edit the pictures taken with my analogue cameras.

The exposure, light leaks, colours — those are what give the photograph its character. So I maintain a pretty strict approach towards shooting on film,” she concludes.

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