How Lukasz Spychala Creates Dreamy Analog Photos in ‘Another World’

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“These things have a soul of their own,” Polish film photographer Lukasz Spychala suggests of the unique charm that the analog medium holds in its heart. He greatly prefers the limited but satisfying choice of a few film frames to thousands of digital images. Using nostalgic elements from his childhood, Lukasz creates photo projects with a lot of careful planning.

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Nostalgia can be defined as a feeling of nostalgia or even longing for a bygone period of time. An almost bittersweet feeling. While it gives us short-term pleasure to reminisce about the feeling of a bygone era, we realize that we will never be able to relive such moments again. Aren’t we all doing something to try to temporarily relive the feelings of past eras? Some of us take pictures of classic movies. Others like me watch movies from the 70s and 80s to conjure up old childhood memories. Many collect memorabilia that can remind us of the years of which they are now considered icons. Lukasz Spychala has combined all of these factors and more to create his recent photography projects.

Essential camera equipment used by Lukasz Spychala

Lukasz told us:

The Photographer: Tell us about yourself and how you got into photography.

Lukasz Spychala: My name is Łukasz; I’m 27. I have lived in Wrocław, Poland since I was born. I’ve been involved in photography since high school, about 10 years ago. I started my adventure with a digital camera. In college, I decided to buy my first analog camera, which is still my main camera. I graduated from Wrocław University of Technology. I am a master in computer engineering, and I work daily as a programmer. During the third year of my studies, I joined the cultural agenda of the university, then I consciously decided that I wanted to deal with analog photography. I love its unpredictability and the ability to carefully work through each frame. I believe it’s the most beautiful type of photography ever done.

My favorite types of photography are female portraits and nudes, which I specialize in. I like the natural and I am delighted with the female body all the time. The basis for creating my photos is form and light. I don’t do photography professionally, but it’s my greatest passion. I’m constantly trying to figure it out and try to make each next photo the best. In film photography, I was captivated by the process of creating an image, celebrating a ritual linked to the development of film, as well as the unpredictability of the final result.

My artistic activity is always closely linked to what I currently experience in my private life. Each of us has a time when we appreciate all the moments we miss and try not to miss any. I try not only to remember them but also to show them on film. I often try to do the opposite and recreate privileged moments when I didn’t have a camera with me to fully experience them. I try not to label anyone artistically and privately, especially myself. Regardless of the consequences of my work, I always try to describe in frames what is most important to me at the moment.

The Phoblographer: Where the idea for the series came from Another one World comes from?

Lukasz Spychala: The series was created from my reflection on whether it is worth dreaming and having dreams. You never know which of our dreams will come true, even if they seem like distant dreams.

The dream is real or the reality is a dream…
Staying in a dream, the dream is real…
Life is actually like a dream…

I started my adventure with film photography from black and white films. I really like Ilford materials like FP4+ or HP5+. Recently, I have been photographing more often with color film. I love the Kodak Portra 400 and 800, as well as the CineStill 800T. I also have a lot of outdated film, like the Agfa XPS Portrait 160 or the Kodak Portra NC and VC series, which allow for unique colors.

The Phoblographer: Are we referring here to the world of analog cinema? Or the television world?

Lukasz Spychala: We talk about our dreams that seem distant to us, that we are even afraid to dream of, and they are often within reach. In this series, the world of television symbolizes our dreams – something we watch; it’s real and physical but not available at first. After all, dreams can come true and come true. The moral of this series is to be careful what you dream of because dreams can come true.

The Phoblographer: Do you think we are becoming slaves to technology like television and the Internet? It’s almost like we can’t take a step without tuning into our days.

Lukasz Spychala: I think, unfortunately, we often become slaves to technology, but I want to believe that each of us will try to tame it and use it to improve ourselves rather than wasting our time mindlessly. Time is the most precious, and it is worth giving it to your loved ones or devoting it to the passion that develops us. The world is moving forward, and I think we have to live with the times, but more consciously and rationally.

The Phoblographer: Was this film made? If so, why did you choose this path rather than digital?

Lukasz Spychala: Yes, these photos were taken with the Mamiya RB67 Pro-S analog camera on CineStill Film 800Tungsten film, developed at a local lab. For several years, I only take care of analog photography. First and foremost, it’s a different philosophy of taking pictures than with a digital camera. During the session, 12 well-thought-out and planned shots are created at once, and not a few hundred or even a thousand photos, from which it is difficult to choose the best ones later. In addition, the photographic material itself gives interesting color effects, has a very wide tonal range and is suitable for tungsten light (3200K). The main advantage of my camera is the size of the photosensitive material, 6cm x 6cm. A digital camera with such a large sensor is very expensive.

The Phoblographer: Analog television and VHS tapes are fond memories of decades past. Is the nostalgic fascination for this period also the reason why you enjoy making films so much?

Lukasz Spychala: My childhood was a time when VHS tape rentals were booming, and the TV receiver had room for a sleeping cat! I definitely feel a hint of nostalgia for having something tangible and the feeling of having it in my hand, feeling the weight. At the moment everything is as if it were, but you don’t feel it because it’s digital. People used to have shelves full of vinyl records, and today they have multiple apps on their phones with playlists. It’s the same with photography. When I have photos from a negative or a slide, I can even touch the photo. I can make a print from a digital camera, but it’s not the same anymore. I really like analog stuff. I have a tube radio at home, a slide projector, or an old watch on my wrist. These things have their own unique soul.

The Phoblographer: Is the Adolescence series about the juxtaposition of feelings of wanting to grow up and not wanting to let go of childhood?

Lukasz Spychala: Yes, that is exactly what this series is about. Every child dreams of being an adult. Freedom, freedom, to make your own choices. In this series, the symbol of the child is a girl with a braid in a blue dress playing on a rocking horse.

The symbol of adulthood is a naked woman on a real horse. In my opinion, the peak between childhood and adulthood is the happy medium where we are adults, but we let our inner child speak, listen to their needs and fulfill our childhood dreams when we are adults.

The Phoblographer: Tell us how you created this double exposure image. It must have taken a bit of planning.

Lukasz Spychala: At first, this series of photos had to be made with two models, and then I didn’t expect to have a double exposure. Unfortunately, I had the opportunity to do this photoshoot with just one model, and decided it was worth taking the risk and doing a multi-exposure.

I didn’t have a tripod with me, only a monopod, so this task was difficult. I planned out the whole frame and first took a picture of a naked model on a real horse. Then the model changed and pinned her hair up, then we took a picture of the rocking horse. I’m very happy with the effect we got! I think it’s one of my best shots, especially considering how hard it was to take.

The Phoblographer: Your photos come with captions that really balance their feel and mood: Stagnation, The Living Sculpture, etc. Do you think of these as an afterthought, or are the images created around a previously thought-up title?

Lukasz Spychala: I believe that each finished work should have its own title. I don’t like adding ideology to previously taken photos. I think that’s pretty overkill, and you can see that later. I try very hard to define the theme and the story of the photos in advance. In the case of storytelling, the series title is a bit like a movie script. In the case of single photos, I sometimes notice associations when I see the photo only on the computer screen, and sometimes I find the right title for the photo.

Stagnation

All images are by Lukasz Spychala. Used with permission. Visit her website and Instagram page to see more of her work. Want your work featured? Click here!



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