All in the spirit of fun or art, or both? Marco Dabbicco talks to Lomography about his funny and unique composite project, “The Identity Mixer.”
The Lomography community is already familiar with LomoAmigo Marco Dabbicco. In a separate interview, he spoke with us about testing the New Petzval 85 Art Lens. Marco is a talented photographer who loves shooting portraits, but in the case of his project “The Identity Mixer,” he created a few unconventional, quirky ones.
Have you ever used instant cameras throughout your photographic career?
It happened just once with an emerging brand in Milan. As a professional photographer, it’s difficult when a client asks you to take instant pictures. Usually, clients require you to have digital photos ready as soon as possible, to use on social channels or in other publications. Professionally, instant cameras were a success before the introduction of digital cameras: it was useful to have the picture already in your hands within a few minutes. Today the “play” button is much faster and has supplanted the professional use of instant cameras. So instant cameras are finally free to be used as alternatives to the smartphone for daily life or simply artistic purposes.
It makes me think of when, with the introduction of photography, painting was freed from the request to portray the world in an objective way, and therefore, could instead focus on how the artist felt the world. The instant camera is probably just a trend and will disappear in a few years, but today, it offers us the opportunity to create material pictures everywhere and immediately. I use them a lot during my travels to create trip diaries or just for research projects.
What are your impressions of the Lomo’Instant Wide?
The Lomo’Instant Wide is an amazing camera, I was immediately struck by its large number of settings. Before I picked it up, I thought it was impossible to do multiple poses, change lenses or just simply shoot from a distance: all these settings belong to the world of reflex. With instant cameras you need to be happy with automatic settings, but with the Lomo’Instant Wide, everything is possible: the image you get is real, nothing changes; there are no digital art filters.
We know that you’re passionate about portraits, but how did you come up with the idea of this Picasso-style collage?
I started exploring the camera and playing with all its possibilities. While discussing this with a friend, I found the key to creating this project: take different photos for each camera feature, then put the images together, like placing jigsaw pieces into a single puzzle. In the end, I decided to use only the most spectacular lens, the one that allowed you to focus at 10 cm – unthinkable for any instant camera – to photograph parts of faces. With the different parts of faces, I started to create new expressions.
The first experiment was on the street, where the right side of a friend’s face and the left side of another friend’s face met accidentally. But fantastic puzzle examples using an instant camera already exist. Maurizio Galimberti did this, photographing just one person and then reassembling a picture with different points of view. In my case, I tried to mix different people into one single face. Maybe I was subconsciously inspired by the work of Agostino Osio (whom I work with) who creates architectural mosaics.
What highlights have you encountered while photographing with the Lomo’Instant Wide?
If you need a photo, just turn it on and shoot: the camera sets everything automatically. Even the creative options are very intuitive and simple to use. The lenses are sold in a sack (very useful to prevent scratches) and the lens cap is also a remote control.
Which features did you like the most?
I fell in love with the macro lens, but I cannot deny my attraction to the multiple exposure setting. Paired with the Splitzer, you can multiply the subjects in a single frame, in the same way you would using an app or an editing program. But in this case, you create it directly within the camera. Every shot is a little surprise because you don’t have a preview and you can’t press a “delete” button if it didn’t turn out as you would have liked.
What is your favorite picture?
Hard to say, because I tried to capture the part that attracted me most about the people I photographed. By combining the “best parts” of different people and altering the balance and harmony of an original face, these new faces turned out… like monsters! However, my favorite composition is made of photos of a single person. Even in this case, although the photos are of the same person, the face appears deformed. Every time I see him I feel very funny, so it makes me smile.
What advice would you give to people who are going to use this camera for the first time?
With all the great opportunities available with this camera, I would say that is mandatory to try them all! It is so versatile that you can use it for street photography or in a photo studio, since you can connect an external flash and mount it on a tripod.
What advice would you give to create the same compositions you made?
I have collected many parts of people, but when I wanted to put them back together, I noticed that I had photographed more right eyes than left, and so I was having a slight difficulty. Moreover, not all parts photographed can match others. I highly recommend taking several pictures of the same facial feature so you have more possibilities to combine them.