After a Stroll on the Coast with the Potsdam Kino film, the French photographer Eliot Japy is back on the Lomography Magazine. We recently entrusted him with the LomoGraflok 4×5 Instant Back, the first instant back for 4x5 large format designed for Fujifilm Instax Wide film. The photographer explored all the possibilities offered by this new product. With the back mounted on a Sinar P2 camera, he tried his hand at portraiture, still life, and even action photography! Today he shares with us his shots that remind us of Karl Blossfeldt's inventory of plant forms as well as superb fashion images. Eliot Japy particularly appreciated the fact that he could find the details of the large format on instant film thanks to the LomoGraflok, and he tells us more in this interview.
Hi Eliot, how have you been since we last talked? Have you made any new plans?
Hello, I'm very well thank you. Yes of course! I'm working on different projects around the lab at the moment, some analogue prints and a project around alternative processes including tests of trichromacy and printing on textile.
You are a student at Gobelins School of Photography in Paris, is it at school that you discovered instant photography and large-format cameras?
I already knew large format photography, but I didn't know how to be autonomous with it, so I really learned to use it at school and I really loved it. I now use it on projects outside of school. As far as instant photography is concerned, I only knew about Polaroid cameras, but I discovered at school the existence of peel-apart film, I found it very interesting because it had the optical quality of a camera.
What do you like most about the shooting experience with a large-format camera?
The rhythm with a camera is very different from the one we know nowadays with modern cameras and even film camera (120 and 135), and personally, I enjoy it a lot, the fact of not making many photos by subject is something that corresponds to me too, the work is meticulous, thoughtful and precise. The richness of a camera is also in the quality and the details of the images produced, a 4x5 negative shot with a good optic have an amazing level of detail, you can feel the fibers of the tissues, you can count the pores of the skin and distinguish each detail of a face. The technical characteristics of a large-format camera also make it a tool of choice, the tilts and shifts of the front or rear bodies, and an extensible printing distance allow to create without limit.
What were your first impressions of the LomoGraflok prototype?
I was very happy to be able to make instant photography with a large-format camera, but I had a little difficulty juggling with the back, the ground glass, and the mask for the sharpness and the framing, I quickly rectified the shot and I got used to loading the back and it was then great! When you choose to use film you decide to accept a certain number of constraints, and among others, the fact of not seeing your photos just after you have taken the shot, and with the LomoGraflok I rediscovered what it was to see our photos after shooting and what a pleasure!
Have you ever taken instant photos with large-format cameras before? What do you think are the main benefits of using Fuji Instax Films over other peel-apart alternatives?
I have never used peel-apart film yet, but I have a box of FP-100c at home, so it will come... The advantage is mainly economical and Fuji Instax are easily available in the shops and can be bought unexpired, not like peel-apart.
With which camera did you use the LomoGraflok ?
I used the LomoGraflok on a monorail, a Sinar P2, with a copal shutter coupled with a 90 mm, and a 210 mm.
What do you think of the results you got with our instant back?
I was very happy to find the precision and the sharpness that a camera offers on my snapshots, I was even surprised to have such a definition, I did not think that Instax would allow it.
How would you integrate the LomoGraflok into your photographic equipment?
I think the LomoGraflok is great to use in the camera and the fact that I can see the images right after shooting them is great to test more and even to practice, for example, I did some long exposure shots in the street and I could shoot until I was sure I had the right one because I could see the result right away, it's a luxury that you can't afford when you choose film.
What advice would you give to someone using the LomoGraflok for the first time?
Mmh, I think that for first handling it is necessary to tackle a subject of still life, that makes it possible to take our time to install the back and to make several tests without the subject moving.