When one door closes, another opens. Photographer Stefano Bernardoni was just waiting for the right time to bring his large-format photos to the world. The only problem is that two of his favorite films got discontinued. However, now that the LomoGraflok 4×5 Instant Back is here, there'll be plenty of chances to make up for lost time.
Stefano recently tested the newest addition to our Lomography backs and he's more than excited to explore the possibilities with it. Check out this interview and see for yourself just how versatile the new LomoGraflok can be. Thanks to Stefano's skilled hands and imaginative mind.
Hi, Stefano! Please introduce yourself.
I actively began to take photos in the early 90s, with a particular leaning towards inner photography: an intensely personal and unique vision of the world surrounding me. I especially preferred the use of black and white film in order to have total control of all the technical aspects – from the shot to the handprint in the darkroom – also because this type of artistry reflects my interior vision. I have made several photographic works and they have been published in various important Italian and international magazines. I won a prestigious first prize at the international festival of photography in Italy with the “Visual Thresholds” project and it was mentioned as one of the best ten works of 2006 in Italy. I had a lot of solo and group exhibitions in Italy and abroad.
Now I’m a professional photographer who specializes in architecture and portrait photography but my main job is to lead and teach at my own Bottega Immagine School in Milan, Italy. I am the teacher for analogue photography: basic and advanced darkroom courses and how to use large-format cameras courses.
How long have you been shooting large-format?
I have always worked especially with medium format and lately, about five years ago, I started increasingly moving towards large-format photography with cameras up to 8×10.
What do you like most about the shooting experience with a large-format camera?
I love to take advantage of the wonderful characteristics of these cameras and to be able to print the films in contact with alternative printing techniques such as Van Dyke, Platinotype, Palladiotype, and Albumin prints. I also love mixing my own chemistry using the basic components and to be able to experiment continuously.
Have you taken instant photos with a large-format camera before?
Yes, I used Fujifilm's FP-100 and FP-3000 which they, unfortunately, removed from the market. I remember that this news caused me a lot of pain because they were two excellent products – both in terms of quality and creativity.
Tell us about your experience using the LomoGraflok Instant Back
When I was contacted by Lomography and was told about this new product, it was a huge and pleasant surprise. My thought was: “Finally, someone is thinking about getting back the possibility of photographing with instant film with large format.” So I gladly accepted the offer to become a product tester.
What do you like most about it?
As soon as I started using it, I was struck by the ease-of-use and immediately returned to the memories of the old and late FP-100 films. The back is well made and it's easy to load the film. Once you have used the composition mask to focus and compose your image, you can start creating all the images you want.
How would you integrate this new tool in your photographic workflow?
I believe it can be used for several purposes! In the past, large-format instant films were mainly used to test light, exposure, composition before exposing the final shot with traditional film. And this of course can still be done – but today Instant films are also often used for creative purposes! Therefore it is possible to create real projects by exploiting the characteristics of the Fujifilm Instax Wide film, and explore the other opportunities that large-format cameras can give. So I think that there's definitely a great opportunity to use it for both professional and creative projects.