VNDL: Describe your work/process.
Lakan: Since June 2008 lomography has been my antidote to the boredom and predictability of my seemingly ordinary existence and very linear narrative. Before that I think I was a zombie. This experimental and creative analogue photography has been my beautiful addiction – and I really mean addiction, judging from how prolific a film photography hobbyist I have become, amassing a number of brandnew and secondhand plastic cameras, and trying out different films ranging from color negatives to black and white to my favorite slides.
I really can’t say I have already evolved my unique style of photography but anyone who would have a chance to browse into my body work will notice quite a number of dominant and recurring characteristics that speak volumes about the kind of photography I have strong inclination for including the following:
Multiple exposures. From doubles to quintuples, either using a single camera or two or more different cameras, I just love juxtaposing different images in a single frame. The creative process and the artful surprises produced with each shoot are all worth the risk of overexposure and film damage. Love things vintage and the beautiful colors and textures of everyday street scenes.
Chemical destruction. Fear not. It’s not the kind of controlled experiments in a laboratory that involve exact measurements and possibly explosive chemistry. But more of a homestyle cooking of film rolls in vinegar, sour soup, coca cola, salt, lemon juice, wine or whatever is accessible in the kitchen in the hope of producing extraordinary out-of-this-world mutations of ordinary shots taken. In this context, damage is nothing to be sorry for.
Horror vacui. Quite the opposite of minimalism that gives premium to less as being more, there seems a lot going on in many of my photographs. Too many elements in a single frame. A lot of excess. Not much breathing space that to some people can be suffocating. Well, what can I say, except that my work desk is an epitome of chaos which surprisingly has given me tranquility and creative inspiration. I find order in chaos. My photographs are an acquired taste. You can’t fully appreciate them in a single fleeting glance. You have to look closer, farther, upside-down or more frequently to get deeper into its meaning(s). Enjoy the crazy ride.
What have you been up to recently (trips, projects, work)?
Been active in posting my photographs in the lomography.com site that serves as my visual diary 2008 thereafter. Before I was not too keen on documenting my work and my life except that I commit them to memory. But I came to realize aging inevitably increases the possibility of memory gaps. Since I started in lomography, I now consciously document the important moments I cherish in my heart in all analogue glory.
Legendary Hollywood actress Katharine Hepburn once said: “If you obey all the rules you’ll miss all the fun.” The wisdom in these simple but punchy words aptly captures my lomographic style-in-progress – ie., eclectic, transgressive, playful and experimental. One that resists restraint but continues to push the boundaries and revels with freedom.
Advice to other creative’s/aspiring artists?
Keep shooting photographs! No amount of theory can match the transformative quality of praxis. Cliché as it may sound, practice really makes perfect – or at least closer to the measure. So keep shooting as if you are rehearsing for your future masterpieces.
Love your camera. Treat it as an organic extension of your body that is directly connected to your heart. Know that the heart can see true beauty better than the naked eyes, much better than a 20/20 vision.
What are you currently listening to/reading/ watching?
Libertango by Astor Piazzolla whose sexy rhythm is pulsating with energy, passion and desire is genuinely a bliss to the ears. Been hooked to travel, lifestyle and fashion programs in cable TV to nurture my dreams of travel all over the world – for free! Hahaha! Everyone has a license to dream big.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Still shooting analogue photographs. Hopefully, published works and exhibits. More photographs from travels to distant lands. Maybe a career that pays to travel and shoot worldwide. Dear God, all the fairy godmothers or godfathers out there, Sta. Claus and the entire universe, is that too much to ask for? Conspire for me. Please.
Who is or where does your inspiration come from? Any emerging artists to watch out for?
I find people’s cultures and their struggles to be a rich repository of creative sparks. Also, limited resources and other forms of obstructions can encourage birth of awesome ideas. I also believe inspiration resides within us. We just have to connect to our inner selves to tap that powerful and creative potential that we all actually have. Why wait for others to inspire you when you can be proactively an inspiration for others yourself.
Lakan is a photographer based out of the Phillipines.