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Anastasia Varlamova captures an alternate reality

"My name is Anastasia, I live in Moscow, Russia. I work in a clinical lab, and analogue photography is my big passion. What I love about film is that it captures life in some slightly (or profoundly) altered way, just like our perception, memory and imagination do. Most of all I love capturing the alternative reality around using analogue techniques and tools — toy cameras, multiple exposures, plastic filters, expired, damaged or souped film."

See more of Anastasia's work on instagram at @elkbeing.

A/A:  What kind of camera and film did you shoot these images on?

AV: Since I bought my Minolta srt303 and a set of lenses it has been my to-go camera. Heavy but very reliable. Great multiple-exposure tool. These shots were taken on different film stocks, but I think they all were expired. Mostly I use motion picture film and some expired stock I can find. 

A/A:  Why did you choose film over digital?

AV: As a biologist I’m fascinated by all the chemistry that analogue world has. It’s way more understandable for me then digital process, you can almost feel the image being created in your hands. It is very manual — you load the film yourself, you have all the control that is possible, it’s very hands on. What else I like about analog is that it is about doing most of the creative work on the spot.  I love collaborating with chance. I’m enjoying a bit of recklessness in my process, sometimes thinking too much kills the joy, and film allows me to be reckless. Toy cameras, having a very small range of settings, especially teach us to be brave and hope for the best :) And of course I like all the common cons of analogue — slowing down, patience training, the adrenalin rush when the new scans come from the lab :) Also analog taught me to constantly reevaluate my negatives and scans. I’ve never paid so much attention to the results when I was trying digital.

A/A:  What inspires you?

AV: This question about inspiration got me perplexed for nearly a month since you've asked. Every photographer deals with this question sooner of later, and it seems so that everyone has an answer for it :) but I didn't and I still don't. It seems to me that there is no outer sourse that gets you going, just the inner state of readiness to capture something new. You just notice stuff around when it is there and when you're ready. In case of this particular type of double exposures I usually get triggered by my routine medium, I spot the geometry and textures of a scene that I could use in multiple exposure. It comes after a lot of trial and errors, some sort of right visual profile just hits you :) I’d say that this type of doubles is a lot of fun and one of the easiest to conquer. It's just a way to see the usual scene in an unusual way.

A/A:  Are there any other alternative processes you have tried / would like to try?

AV: I’ve already tried film souping, all kinds of multiple exposures, toy cameras, intentional (and of course unintentional) light leaking and I’m very eager about getting my hands on cyanotypes and practically any types of printing processes, I'm assuming that the printing technique could play a huge role in overall appearance of a photo, but I've had no access to a photo lab yet, so very much looking forward to this opportunity when it comes around.

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