little lens 003: karolina lewczuk

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karolina‘s photos first caught my eye around last summer, when we met at sound in motion festival in toronto. i discovered her work through a vernissage called holga hands – karolina’s most recent art project composed entirely of photos taken with a holga. if you’re not familiar with the holga camera, it’s a plastic toy camera that has developed a cult following of sorts, for its simple construction and classic aesthetic, and the lo-fi images that result are nothing short of beautiful. especially from someone as talented and thoughtful as karolina. her submissions to the little lens project are snapshots from around the city of montreal, taken by karo as she walked through different neighbourhoods. true insight into the city’s soul.


a set that karolina shared with me, for your ears!

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now based out of chicago, karolina’s self-described obsession for photography started upon her discovery of a polish photo blog, plfoto, that took up most of her attention throughout high school (and even managed to help turn her boyfriend at the time onto photography as well!). after experimenting with various digital cameras, she discovered the holga and it immediately stole her heart – a constant treasure throughout a vacation in poland, the holga became a ubiquitous part of her life. luckily for us. through the holga’s lo-fi resolution and its almost surreal ability to capture the real in a way that a digital camera cannot, karolina has found a niche in the photography world.

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karo_october_005montrealers will recognize this at what is adam‘s iconic sizzurp can wheatpaste

“i love holga’s simplicity and non-intimidating nature. i often find myself opposed to the highly-digital world- instant and perfect do not really do it for me…I almost want to say that they miss the magical component of ‘real’. we are imperfect creatures and in that we must see (and seek) beauty”

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her photos have this way of feeling at once of-the-moment, and nostalgic, even if you’ve never seen there before. somehow, they speak to me, in that their warmth, their playfulness and their eccentricity are perfectly at home with some certain part of me. and some certain part of you, too, i’m sure.

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in stark contrast to the digital movement prevalent in photography today – instagram, for one – holga’s tangible productions are a stunning juxtaposition to the age we live in, a portrait of ourselves as human in perfect opposition to the machines we so eagerly rely on (i mean..or something). karolina offers this quote from illustrator pat perry to better understand holga’s simplicity:

“the digital age has further proliferated our temptations to disengage the richness of reality, and trade beauty for comfort. a social order that can’t feel, will lose its capacity for learning and compassion. i don’t want to forget what it feels like to be alive. i never want to forget what it feels like to be vulnerable. it’s really important that we clutch on to the up-and-down contrast of real things.”

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karolina goes on to explain that “what is amazing is that through this simplicity the holga is capable of producing really amazing results. it allows ‘multiple exposures’ – my favorite feature that pushes the imagination to compose creative overlaps through which so much more can be shown and expressed.”

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aside from holga hands, karolina’s beautiful photos have recently been featured on the polish photo blog, holga.pl, in a series called 5 minutes away – definitely worth a look. the wait is also finally over – her tumblr, plastikfuntastik, debuted recently as well (highly anticipated by me) (also worth a good long look) – keep an eye out for her work on SHOTS magazine as well!

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i’m so beyond words (apparently) at karolina’s photos, and i’m so curious to see what she comes up with next (but insider info tells me the theme will be MASKS).

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follow karolina :: plastikfuntastik

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