We asked Lida and Aida a few questions about the project and what outlets are available to today’s generation for creativity and ultimately for fun.
What do you think the “viewpoint of our generation” is? Lida: The viewpoint of our generation that the website seems to capture is one of fun and freedom of expression. The people I know who take and are featured in these film rolls are incredibly hard working and dedicated to what they do, but they also love to let loose, have fun, and express themselves in silly ways as well. Most are creatives that have had the opportunity to travel, explore, and discover many things about themselves and others, so the viewpoints are definitely diverse, but they seem to have particular things in common.
Aida: It should really say “the viewpoint of friends and other people which fall within the framework and age range so as to fall within our generation, which arguably only constitute a minority in the vast sea of normies who otherwise form the popularly perceived view of our generation of the average 20-something year olds who wear boring clothes and hang out at college bars,” but it sounds stuck up.
In creating this website, what particular aesthetic are you trying to capture within the photos you receive and the ones you take? Lida: Originally the website wasn’t set out to capture any particular aesthetic, but more or less ended up exhibiting the viewpoint mentioned in the last question. It started out as a place for a group of friends to share their film diaries with each other and anyone else who is into the idea of capturing life’s adventures on film.
Aida: Yeah, I don’t think we wanted "Film Hooligans" to be anything more than a messy platform for everyone to dump their silly photos for everyone else to see. Some are pretty and more thought-through, others look like taken by a drunk monkey. The only leitmotif throughout is that all pictures are on film.
What moments have you captured with the 35mm film camera that you think would not have been captured with the disposable camera? Lida: With a 35mm film camera, it’s definitely easier to capture spontaneous moments and the quality is much better than with a disposable. There are pictures of things I’ve taken from a distance or of people in motion, especially at music shows and parties, which probably never would have turned out with a disposable.
Aida: It’s definitely motion, and weird lighting that is better captured on 35mm. I have never had a good disposable, I used to always get the same one from the drug store and it sucked. I’ll never forget an awesome night when we all went bowling and were hanging out at an arcade, and I thought I took 27 amazing pictures, which later all turned out black.
What are the pictures that are drawn next to your photos meant to evoke? Lida: I had just seen the drawings and doodles of lots of my friends and wanted to include them in the zine.. In many cases, the doodles just ended up fitting really well with the photos, whether in shape, color, attitude, or even in regard to the subjects of the photos and drawings.
Aida: In a way they are another means of expression. They match so well because they’ve also been created by our friends, people with similar aesthetic who simply chose to express themselves through art, not photography.
How has social media and technology affected your artistic expression and artistic expression in general? Lida: In general, I think that perhaps it’s had a big impact on how people portray their lives, whether or not that image is true, and could in turn have an influence on how they actually live their lives and express themselves.
Aida: For me, social media is a massive means of creative expression for people, which these days really defines who they are. People get into groups by sharing interests and aesthetic and social media is a nice tool to filter out people whose company you’d enjoy. Many people’s Instagram accounts are filled with pictures from museums or exhibitions, others chose to share their music taste, dress sense, or anything they feel really defines them as a person. It is very artificial in a way, but it’s also a great tool for self-expression.
How have your friends influenced your photographs and your ideas for the website? Lida: Friends are the entire influence on my photographs and for the website. I feel really lucky to know so many amazingly talented and sometimes crazy people that are truly inspiring to document. Without them the entire project never would have happened!
Aida: Exactly! Having such inspirational friends is the very foundation of our whole film camera adventure. What makes "Film Hooligans" pictures so unique is their subjects, crazy and extraordinary people who are in themselves so interesting that they “make the picture.”
What parts of the world have you been to capture these Hooligan photos? Lida: I just capture the photos wherever I happen to be at the time, which so far has included NYC, Paris, London, Los Angeles, and Tokyo, with occasional trips to other places as well.
Aida: I mostly take pictures in London and Paris. I’ve never been to the US or anywhere interesting really. Sad life sad wife.
Why do you leave the “bad ones” in the roll on your website? Lida: We like to leave the bad ones in because you get more of the whole story that way, and sometimes a bad photo to one person isn’t necessarily a bad photo to someone else. It’s truer to reality in a world that is often over-edited and over-glamorized.
Aida: The whole idea is to document the world as it is, and it’s never perfect or polished, people don’t always look their best. I think leaving the whole roll has its charm. People are obsessed with taking a good photo these days, as if it defined them as a person. For me a picture is just a way of freezing the moment, even if it isn’t pretty.
What is the difference in mood and aesthetic from being in front of the camera as opposed to being behind the camera? Lida: To me it’s just a different frame of mind, and also being photographed in a casual situation as opposed to being photographed for work is very different. If I’m aware that I’m being photographed in a casual situation, I just try to be myself and have fun. When I’m taking photos, I generally like to have my camera handy and just capture whatever inspires me as a really spontaneous or exciting or sweet moment.
Aida: I can only speak as an observer, but when I see my friends in magazines or at shoots they’re more actors than models. It’s a paradox, because I take pictures of my model friends for fun, but they are photographed for a living too.
What has been the response been to this project? Lida: The whole response to the website, to the zine, and to the exhibit has been overwhelmingly positive and I’m so glad it has gotten such a great response. It started out as a small, silly idea and has really grown into much more. I think it’s because it’s something that everyone can relate to and inspires people to do it themselves. In addition to the work-related emails we get from the site, we also get a lot from people we’ve never met who just enjoy it and are inspired by it so that’s really heartening.
Aida: People really dig what we do, which is incredible. What started of as a silly thing for friends is now shaping up to be a real inspiration for “our generation” with the show, exhibition and the zine, and even random people sending us emails that they love what we do. Some sweet guy said that we have inspired him to dig out his old Nikon and get out there. It’s such a great feeling to be appreciated in this way.
Check out Film Hooligans here.
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