Mindfulness, patience and a deep connection to his environment resonates in software developer and film photographer Olegs Jonins' images shared on his LomoHome. Through still life, landscapes, portraits and street scenes, he explores the recurring motif of beauty in everyday moments made more magical by film.
In this interview, we talked with the Latvian artist about film photography in the Eastern European country, and its landscapes and architecture that have become his inspiration.
Hi, Olegs! Welcome to the magazine. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? How and when did you start shooting on film?
My name is Olegs Jonins. I’m a 31-year-old software developer living in Riga, Latvia. Two years ago I found an old camera (FED 3) lying around in my grandparents apartment. I was wondering, is it working? How do I charge it? As a man in the digital era I didn’t realize at first, that it didn’t need any batteries or charging like everything does nowadays. After the first roll I instantly fell in love with the film photography and the whole process.
What's your favorite part of shooting film?
Capturing life's candid moments through the lens of film feels like freezing time itself. The anticipation of developing each roll holds a magic of its own. It's in the imperfections and unexpected light that the true essence of the streets comes alive, creating a nostalgic connection that digital often can't replicate. As the world moves forward into pixels, film holds onto a sense of patience and intention. The limited number of shots on a roll encourages mindfulness, making each composition a carefully considered fragment of the scene.
The anticipation that builds while waiting for the film to develop adds an element of surprise every time, sometimes the shots that seemed imperfect at first glance end up holding the most charm.
You seem to explore a lot of things when it comes to photography but many of your photos also tend to play with space and light, and particularly of the sea. Is this a style you particularly prefer and is there a reason behind it?
I do experiment with photography styles a lot, which helps me find new techniques and inspiration for capturing everyday life. Photographing the sea has influenced my style by emphasizing the interplay of light and water.
The reflections, patterns, and contrasts that emerge from this interaction, the ever-changing nature of the sea has also taught me to embrace imperfection and unpredictability. It encourages me to appreciate each shot as a unique expression of the moment rather than striving for rigid perfection.
What is it like being a film photographer in Latvia? Do you find it an inspiring place to take photos and do you have favorite places you like to photograph?
Being a film photographer in a small country can offer a unique and rewarding experience, but also have some drawbacks. One of example is limited photography resources. A small country may have fewer photography supply stores, labs for film development, and equipment rental options. Finding specific film types, accessories, or equipment can be more challenging than it looks.
On the other hand in a small country, you may have the opportunity to build a close-knit community of fellow photographers, artists, and creatives. This sense of community can foster collaboration, idea sharing, and mutual support.
The film photography community in Latvia is great! There's is a lot of talented photographers out here. I do really find Latvia an inspiring place to take photos.
Latvia overall can offer a lot of things for a photographer such as architectural diversity, unique blend of styles, from medieval Old Town to Art Nouveau facades and a soviet legacy of concrete apartment blocks and functionalist buildings that stand as reminders of a different era. One of my favorite places to take photos in Riga is art nouveau district (Alberta iela), Ķīpsalā, and Vecaki beach (Vecāķu pludmale).
On to your gear. What are your favorite film stocks and cameras to use and why?
My favourite camera currently is a Canon A-1. It has all the necessary functionality that a photographer actually needs (built in light meter, double exposure mode, aperture-priority, shutter priority, and full manual modes). Its size is pretty comfortable to carry around. Overall it’s a very versatile camera. My favorite films are Fujifilm C200 and Kodak Porta 800. Fujifilm is known for its color expertise. The film tends to produce vibrant and natural colors with a touch of warmth, which can evoke a sense of nostalgia and a classic look. Kodak Porta is really good for shooting portraits. Portra films are known for their exceptional rendering of skin tones. The colors are true-to-life, making them versatile for a range of subjects and styles.
What do you wish to let people know through your photos?
Through my photos, I hope to convey the magic of everyday life – the beauty that exists in the ordinary moments often overlooked. I want to remind people to slow down and look around in this fast paced world, to appreciate the small details, and to find wonder in the world around them.
Is there a Lomography camera or film stock that you find interesting and would like to try?
Oh yes I’m currently looking forward to trying the new LomoChrome Color ’92. I really love the vibe and the colors it produces. If we are talking about cameras I would really like to try a medium format camera and one of the Lomography Fisheye cameras. That’s something I’m currently looking into.
Lastly, are there any projects that you'd like to share with the community?
One of my all time goals is a publish a photo book. So I’m currently working on it and hopefully it will come out one day.