Melanie Tönnies

  • Alias: Graefin
  • City: Steinhude
  • Country: Germany
  • Age: 28


Melanie was born back in the good old 80’s and studied English and Sociology. She loves Hamburg, her Lubitel, Lomography, photography, TV shows like “Grossstadtrevier” (even the cast has already encountered her Lubitel!), Grey’s, & ER. She’s a summer child and in summer you will meet her somewhere close to the water, be it a lake, a river or the open sea. Her favourite colours are green and purple.

  • How long have you been a Lomographer? How did you get into it?

    My first encounter with Lomography was back in 2003 when I saw an Actionsampler in a small shop in Bristol (UK) where I was staying as an exchange student. It was über-expensive so I didn’t buy it! But I immediately researched where to get one in Germany because I felt that this was just my piece of cake – I always wanted to take pictures but I never had my own camera. Then, in summer 2003, I went to Berlin and bought my Actionsampler at the KaDeWe and from then on I just fell in love with Lomography! It was just like a fever. I managed to get hold of a Colorsplash camera next, then I bought an old LC-A, etc.

  • What do you most love about the Lubitel?

    The focusing hood! Today people don’t know how to use such a camera. Whenever I take out my Lubitel there sure is at least one person approaching me and asking me how to use this camera. And this is just because of the focusing hood. They can’t imagine how to take picture with such a strange apparatus. Besides, I like to view the images mirror-inverted.

  • Describe your Lubitel + in 5 words.

    Reliable, easy to use, robust, experimental, old-fashioned

  • The strangest, funniest, or hands-down greatest photographic/Lomographic encounter that you have ever had.

    Gosh, it always feels great when people approach me and ask what the hell I’m holding in my hands. It’s the small things that make me smile. One great encounter was when I went to a Fettes Brot (German hip-hop group) concert in Hamburg. Me and some other fans had a small meeting with the band and I brought my Holga with me. The others all had digital cams and I had to take 3 pictures of other fans with the band because my camera looked so weird.

  • If your photos shown here could have a soundtrack of three songs, what would they be (song title & artist please).

    Don’t laugh - Because many of them are taken in Hamburg one song MUST be

    An De Eck – Jan Fedder and The Big Balls and because I found my Lubitel in Hamburg another one is Landungsbrücken – kettcar and finally Keine Zehn Pferde – klee

  • What kind of person is most likely to be a Lubitel Lover? Tell us all about them.

    People with a love for nostalgic photography who are not afraid of using a rather “old-fashioned” camera – especially when it comes to the focusing hood! They must love the experimental and the excitement that is connected with medium format photography – and with analogue photography in general. You never know what happens to your film/photos because you can’t immediately look at the picture you’ve just taken.

  • If you could be anywhere, doing anything, right now V where would it be and what would you do?

    I would be in Hamburg, Germany. Everyday, every minute, for the rest of my life. And all I would do is walk around the city and visit my favorite places, maybe watching the sunset at the beach.

  • How can the Lubitel change your approach to photography or life in general?

    The Lubitel opens a new dimension of photography because it is medium format AND a twin lene camera. Both are rare nowadays and have a feeling of extravagance. Because of the focusing hood you approach your motives in a different way and at some point you start to think in squares ;-). Besides, medium format photography is kind of a deluxe hobby and the pictures made on this film and with the Lubitel feel kind of special.

  • What is the best frame of mind for excellent Lubitel shots? What should your attitude be?

    Just go out and shoot! There is no best frame of mind. I took some pictures when I was really downcast and they turned out great. On other days, I’m full of joy and the pictures also turned out great but the motives are different, for sure. The best attitude is - always take your Lubitel with you and use it anytime, let it be your third eye.

  • If you could give a Lubitel to anyone in the world (as a gift), who would it be?

    All the people who are afraid of using an analogue camera. It would show them how wonderful picture making can be and how much fun it is. They would feel special because they are able to handle such a beautiful camera!

  • Where did you buy your Lubitel? Which model do you own (or do you own several?)

    I bought my Lubitel at a flea market at St.Pauli – Reeperbahn. There is a night fleamarket in summer and I went there with my sister and a friend of hers. While they waited for me with some drinks I found my Lubitel for just 12€!!! I always wanted to have one and I couldn’t believe I was to be such a lucky person this night! It’s a Lubitel 166.

  • Your advice to future Lubitel shooters.

    Buy enough medium format film – slide, normal, black/white! And never forget to take at least 5 rolls of film with you!

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