Herbert Morris has been taking photographs for almost 60 years. From being his family’s event photographer, he now acts as one of the community’s resident guides who’s always willing to give advice—photography related or otherwise—to fellow lomographers. In this interview, Herbert shares tidbits about his life as a war veteran and how being a sneaky photographer preserved the memories of his aunt.
Name: Herbert C. Morris
Location: Tujunga, California USA
Number of years as a film photographer: I’ve been taking photos since 1957, when I was seven years old (with my Grandma shouting, “Don’t cut off heads!”), and I have been the family event photographer ever since. So, it’s about 58 years. But almost all my photos were lost in moves and family chaos.
Number of years in the community: I joined Lomography in 2007.
Tell us about yourself and what you do.
I retired after a 45-year-career as a hospital nurse, and I am a veteran of the Vietnam War. I continue to be a photographer and a very good cook. I love watching old movies and reading, especially about history, mysteries, sci-fi, and fantasy.
Tell us something about your LomoHome’s name. Why did you decide to have that username?
I tried using my first name (herbert, herbert-0, herbert-1…) until herbert-4 worked. A different idea might have been “foothill_fruitcake,” but herbert-4 was a bit more dignified.
Share your most memorable experience in the Community.
When the Lomography Store in Los Angeles was still existing, I met with satomi there a couple times. It was heartbreakingly beautiful. Then, I went to a couple meet-ups organized by blueskyandhardrock and af_capture. Lomo meets are a lot of fun, but without the Lomography Store in Los Angeles, there’s no social center.
Have you actually met people in the Community that you now consider as close friends? If yes, name at least one of them.
I met other Lomographers in Los Angeles, but they are mostly young and don’t have much space in their lives for sustained hobbies or obsessions. Without a center like the Lomography Store, our contact was lost.
Do you think you’ll still be taking Lomographs in the next 5 years? Why?
I will keep taking and posting photos as long as I’m able. This is LA. We still have The Freestyle Photographic Services on Sunset Blvd. There will always be film there and physical photos are important.
What is your favorite Lomo camera and why? Do you have any memorable experiences with using this camera?
My favorite Lomography camera is my LC-A. I shot a couple slight shaky but still impressive night shots at the Station Wildfire. I was trying to balance camera atop the parapet on the car park at Verdugo Hills Hospital where I used to work.
Please share with us your favorite lomograph and explain why you love that particular image.
My favorite lomograph is this environmental portrait that I shot with an old Iskra.
He’s our young waiter, Jose, at Jeremy’s Diner in La Crescenta, who’s finally having his lunch.
Please share a lomograph you wish you had taken and explain why.
I shot photos of some college girls having a volleyball game at Venice, California with the Olympus AM100, but the film broke. It’s a cheap and old GDR film. The shots would have been awesome, at least in my imagination.
What’s the best photography advice you think you have given?
When in doubt, take the photo. It doesn’t hurt but be polite though. The only photos that exist of one of my chubbier aunts are those taken under her noisy and sometimes profane protest. But because of these, her grandchildren was able to see photos of her 50 years later. Otherwise, there would be none. I took a couple of them with my Rolleiflex 3.5F but most of these photos were taken by my tiny girl cousin with a Pentax camera. She was the size of a big rat and could hide behind a pole lamp. Whenever my aunt would catch us, we’d always say, “Sorry, we didn’t mean to take a picture of you, we’re taking pictures of the dog!” Then, we’d keep ourselves and the cameras out of reach until she forgot.
If there’s one song or movie that best describes your lomo life, which one is it and why?
For Lomography, my favorite song is Paul Simon’s "Kodachrome.”
While I was in Vietnam, I shot a lot of slides on Kodachrome 25 with a Topcon Unirex, which was sold long ago. I naively mailed the several hundred slides and camera home to my mother’s house in Tujunga. The camera arrived but the slides disappeared. The box was opened and resealed. I was told later that Nixon had the CIA get rid of Vietnam photos.
I also like the movie “Pecker” by John Waters. It’s like a Lomographic life, with Edward Furlong and Christina Ricci.
Is there any advice that you can give to new analogue shooters?
Find a camera that you like and make sure it’s working. Shoot what you like and show off your photos. If the photo truly has to be permanent, shoot in a real black and white film, like Tri-X. But most of all, just enjoy!