Sissi Lu is a film photographer based in NYC. She focuses on uniting cultural and generational divides by capturing the empathetic nature of humanity through her street and editorial photographs.
I love learning about how things work. Film leads me down a deep rabbit hole of learning not just the history of photography but also the mechanical and chemical parts of it. Learning how photography came to be what it is today gives me even more appreciation for this art form.
The first Lomography film that I tried was the Lomography Color Negative ISO 400 film. I was assigned to capture city landscapes and it was the right look for the shoot. Later, in 2020, I was going on endless photo walks with my friends – all of them are the true film connoisseurs – and they were raving about Lomography Color Negative ISO 800 film. It gives beautiful and breathable pastel colors when I rate it at ISO 400 and it’s also one of the only existing film stocks in the market currently that gives an accurate representation of different skin tones which is very important to me and my process.
My top tip: rate the Color Negative ISO 800 film at ISO 400 and rate the Color Negative ISO 100 film at ISO 200.
I also love 110 film – 110 cameras are so tiny and cute! 110 film format isn’t very much different than shooting 35 mm or 120 film and the results carry this especially nostalgic feeling. Maybe it’s because of the small negatives that create a larger grain? My two favorite 110 film stocks are the Color Tiger film – just the simple classic color negative film that delivers the images flawlessly and the Orca Black and White film. Both have high contrast and saturated tones, they fit my style of shooting very well. As the only company that still produces 110 films, there are many Lomography film stocks to choose from.
My street photography tip: when I approach someone on the street, the camera is the last thing that I mention. I usually establish eye contact and a nice smile goes a long way :).
I want to use my camera to show the tenderness of humanity. It’s something that people often forget about, especially in a metropolitan city like New York. Besides observing moments, I want to give people a voice to tell their stories. However, just meeting on the street might not result in the truest portrayal of someone so I started to record conversations, hoping to add their personality to their portraits and give the viewers a fuller understanding of who they are and what their story is. I care about the interaction more than I care about the photo.