EP. 10 - Women in Film Photography: Life with Lou Lou
Known as @filmbyloulou on Instagram, Loulou is currently based in Amsterdam, Netherlands and her film photography career stems back to when she was 14 years old, playing with a variety of different cameras. Growing up on an island, she was always attached to the sea and the outdoors... Am I the only one wishing I grew up on an island?! Below is a look into her process, her journey and Loulou Roskam as a woman in film photography. This is EPISODE 10 of the 'Women in Film Photography' series.
Introduce yourself. How old are you? Where are you currently based? How did you start your film photography journey?
Hi! I’m Loulou. I’m 26 years old and currently living between Amsterdam where I was born, and Ibiza where I grew up.
My film photography journey started around the age of 14 when I got my first Polaroid camera that I fell in love with and was attached to for months. On a trip to Barcelona I then stumbled across a Lomography store and became obsessed with all their funky looking cameras with all their different lenses, a real teenage dream haha. At some point I think I had around 8 different ones, ones where you’d pull a cord and the camera would spin and take a 360* picture, fisheye cameras, mini cameras that would take 4 vertical pictures in 1 frame. Any size or color, I was obsessed with it all. I then found my first “real” camera at a secondhand market in London for £50 when I was 15, which was a Pentax p30, and that’s where it all really kicked off for me.
I noticed that you like to photograph people as well as nature. What inspires you when you get outside? Do you prefer to shoot with a focus or spontaneously seek inspiration?
I’m definitely more of a nature photographer and feel most inspired when I’m near the sea. I grew up on an island so I’m very lucky with beautiful warm sunlight and nothing excites me more than sunsets on the coast. I truly never shoot with a focus but have my camera with me everywhere I go, and as soon as something catches my eye I’ll take it out. Regarding people, I only shoot my friends in spontaneous moments. Luckily they’ve grown to love it over the years because I always try to be subtle and natural and really dislike posed pictures, so it’s never uncomfortable for them. Luckily we have a very free and spontaneous lifestyle on the island which has allowed for some beautiful portraits.
What is your favourite film camera to use? What film stock do you like to play around with the most?
At the moment it’s definitely my Contax T2 which I waited years to buy and finally found it for an amazing price. I love the lens on it and how practical it is. My first camera was a Pentax p30 that I found at a market in London and used for years without knowing any better (I’ll still always love it), but it definitely makes me appreciate my Contax a lot more now. I mostly use Kodak Portra these days which I really love, but I also used Fuji X-Tra for many years and will grab that if I’m shooting a city for instance for the slightly colder feel.
What is your opinion on editing/ adding filters to film photographs? Do you edit your film photographs?
I personally have never edited my film photographs. I think the beauty of analog is all in the camera and the film you use and that shouldn’t be touched. Of course it’s important to find a good film lab that adjusts your color the way you like because that’s definitely gone wrong in the past, but I love the raw oldschool idea of film too much to use technology to tweak it.
Have you ever used tinted/color film (i.e, Lomography)? How did the pictures turn out?
Back in the day yes! I used to only know about lomography so I tried all of their rolls; sepia, purple, monochrome, etc. At the time I thought it was fun but I’d never use it anymore. I by accident used a sepia roll a few years ago and didn’t realize until it was developed and was very confused about what had happened until the lab told me it was a lomography roll! I hated it so much that I asked them to rescan it and tweak the color as much as possible so it was more normal and then it turned out okay, but definitely never again haha!
If you had to send one message to the female film photographers just starting out, what would it be?
Don’t worry too much about what other people are doing or what the best camera is around, just have fun and experiment. Start with a cheap camera and play around until you find what you like shooting! It’s a big learning process so don’t give up if you don’t like your first few rolls.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now to shoot film, where would you go?
Hawaii or Cape Town are at the top of my list to shoot. I’m just a sucker for the mountain - sea - sun combination and from what I’ve seen, those two places are just mindblowing. I’ve been wanting to plan a trip there for years so hopefully once the covid rules relax even more I’ll have a chance to visit.
Any cool upcoming projects/collaborations we should be made aware of?
I’m starting my first few collaborations with brands this week which I won’t mention just yet but I’m really excited that that’s starting! I’ve been growing my Instagram for two years now after stepping away from Tumblr so it’s great to see that people are getting interested in working together and to see my page grow so much. I’m also flying to the Swiss Alps next week so I hope to get some beautiful shots of the mountains there too.