Monday, November 16, 2009

+ flickr feature: lona +

I've been playing with the idea of interviewing and featuring new photographers on my blog on a weekly basis, and decided to just go for it. The first talented lady is Lona, from Amsterdam, whose work I've fallen in love with over the last couple months. I love Lona for her incredible ability to capture nature's absolute calm, and to somehow make nearly every photograph seem outside of time. I want to just be there in every photo she takes. Oh, and did I mention that she's both beautiful and adorable? You can view her Flickr stream here! Her website, prettypoppies, is under construction and will be fully functioning within a few weeks.

Lona


+ So, you live in Amsterdam. Were you born here?
No, I was actually born in the north of the Netherlands, in a town called Groningen. I moved to Wales in 2000 to live with my then boyfriend and after that we lived in Bristol, England for a few years. I eventually moved back to Groningen and about a year and a half ago I quite spontaneously decided to try out life in Amsterdam.



+ When did you first start experimenting with photography, and how old are you now?
I remember my father always being into photography and me having NO interest whatsoever. Then when I was about 21 I got a Pentax point and shoot camera for my birthday and from then on I was addicted. I got a minolta x300 from a friend (which I still use to this day!) and then my first digital camera. I am 30 years old now and still learning and loving it more every day.



+ It seems that some of us pick up photography because we stumble upon a photograph that captures us and we desperately want to pursue the ability to replicate the intensity of emotion expressed in it, while some of us find a camera in our hands, play around a bit, discover a love for it and continue to evolve through it. Which of these are you? Little of both? Something else?
Definitely the latter. To be honest I think for me it has been escapism to start with. There have been some bad events in my life, the worst of which has been losing my mother. I have been battling depression for years and photography is my escape to a better place, where I can focus on all that is good in life. It helps me remember there is beauty in the world, it relaxes me and it really does make me happy.



+ Where does photography fit into your life now? Is it daily or just when it hits you? Something you want to use as a source of income, or keep as a hobby?
It was always a hobby and I never considered whether I was good or not, it was just something I enjoyed immensely. Since joining Flickr and getting feedback from others my confidence has grown and I am considering trying to make a living out of it. I have always wondered what it was that I really wanted to do with my life careerwise, and although I am still a little too scared to admit it, photography might just be it. I only realised the other day that I think in 'frames' all day long. Wherever I go I look out for good photo opportunities. I think I have been doing it for years and it really annoys me to come across a perfect moment and not have a camera on me!



+ I notice you shoot with a few cameras and types of film. What do you use, and which is closest to your heart?
I currently own a digital Fuji Finepix 602Zoom which is OLD, but I adore it. It does everything I want from a digital camera. Then there is my old Minolta x-300, the Holga, the Agfa Clack, (both medium format) a polaroid camera I never really use and the Agfa Isolette. The last is the love of my life, a medium format foldout camera. I also sometimes use my dad's digital SLR, a Pentax K200D and an Olympus Pen half frame camera. I mostly use Fuji, Kodak and Ilford 120 film or any old 35 mm film I can get my hands on! I'm saving up to buy another medium format camera, I would love a Hasselblad, but since I won't be able to afford it, it will either be a Kiev or a Rolleiflex. Oh, and I would like a digital SLR, haha.

+ How did you get into collecting cameras, and how did you learn what you know about them? Are you primarily self-taught or have you had a mentor or teacher that's helped you grow?
I'd say that almost everything I know today is a combination of trial and error and my father's immense knowledge. He taught me practically all I know about manual settings on the older cameras and what different lenses and filters do. This is the technical side. The artistic side, or the 'eye' as they call it probably is something that you either have or don't... Collecting cameras is something most photographers will want to do, I think, just because different cameras give different results and it's interesting to play around with that.



+ I believe all photographers have a driving force behind what they love to shoot, even if it's still developing. For me, it's beauty. I usually find it in eyes, and in femininity. Are there a few things that drive you?
For me it's definitely nature, which is my biggest source of inspiration, and small details in life that a lot of people overlook. There are so many beautiful little things in life that can make you smile and I really hope that by capturing those on film, that it makes others smile as well. Lately I have been trying out portraits instead of 'stills' so this is a new challenge, I really like to try and do the same thing, focusing on beauty and interesting things in people.



+ I can definitely see that. One of the things I love so much about you is your versatility between capturing emotion in nature and then in a person. I can also tell by your photostream that your style has developed a lot over the last year or so. Was there an internal or external influence that helped refine it?
I think I just started taking it more seriously. Where before I would shoot just anything I'd come across, hoping for a good result, nowadays I take more time to plan and think about the photos. I also have been trying to discover my own 'style' and playing with that, to see what feels right and what works for me.



+ When you want to browse other's works online, who are the first three people you go to?
I mostly use Flickr to browse other work, it's really hard to pick only 3 favourites!! There are so many talented people, all with their own unique style...I would say that right now my favourites are
flickr.com/popsongs
flickr.com/daniel_klass
flickr.com/peachplumpearblah

+ Amazing. I am in love with popsongs. Is there a photo you are most proud of?
I tend to pick ones that have huge sentimental value for me, but the one that I am most proud of right now is probably because it captures exactly what I love most; the sort of serene magic of nature and the feeling it gives me:



+ I absolutely love that entire mist series you did while in Groningen. Do you sell any of your prints?
I never did, but did recently sign a contract with a stock library, so hopefully I will start making some money soon(haha)and I have also been working on a book. It still amazes me that people would pay money for something I made!

+ The only thing your Flickr profile tells me about you is that you're a fellow bookworm. Favorite author, genre, and book please!
I really love the classics, and mostly English Literature. My favourite authors are Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf. Favourite books: Persuasion and The Waves.
I do admit I have been neglecting the really good Dutch authors...which is awful since I do work in a book store. :) I'm trying to catch up!



+ Alright, you knew it was coming! Tell me something absolutely ridiculous about yourself, that you'd much prefer no one to know.
I absolutely hate onions and won't eat anything that has onions in it. Haha, I don't really have any other weird secrets! Oh and I love rugby, when I tell people they always think I am joking!

+ Anything you'd like to leave us with?
Just that I hope people will like my work and that everyone should find something they enjoy this much. :)

10 comments:

Nick Brewer said...

great interview. awesome read.

missy. said...

beautiful. what a cool idea interviewing photographers. keep it up, they have a mad talent that needs to be shared. :)

Anne-Marie said...

Hurrah for Lona!

Gerda said...

I love Lona! Great interview! Ben trots op je liefje!

B said...

Cool, I like this new feature. I love seeing different kinds of photos and how people get into it.

frankenstein said...

amazing

a collection of daydreams said...

thanks so much Lauren, i thoroughly enjoyed participating and I look forward to seeing many interesting people featured in the future:D

x Lona

TheBeautyFile said...

These are absolutely stunning! So dreamy!

Aron said...

those photos are terrific.

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