Taken with the Lensbaby Composer Pro II with Edge 50 Optic

Taken with the Lensbaby Composer Pro II with Edge 80 Optic

Most parents take

pictures of their children so that when they grow up, they can look back and remember what they did when they were little. But for New Zealand photographer Mina Mimbu, it’s more than that. She doesn’t want simply to document her sons’ lives; she wants to capture the world as they see it right now, at the age of one and two, so that years later, they can move backwards through time.

Mimbu started photographing seriously when she had her first son. With the arrival of her children, she was able to recall scenes from her own youth in Japan, where she lived until the age of fourteen. She knew she didn’t have to travel to faraway lands to find that magic again; after all, even the most familiar things seemed mysterious through the eyes of her new children.

Mimbu’s photographs aren’t about the world of adults. Colors pop and lines blur to build a surreal universe. The aesthetic of her photographs follows their subject matter; reality morphs to adhere to the daydreams of her young heroes. If she wanted truly to capture the richly imaginative landscape of childhood, she couldn’t use a normal old lens, and she ultimately found her match in the Lensbaby’s creative effects lenses.

We interviewed Mimbu about her art, her kids, and her lenses.

How have dreams and memories from your own childhood influenced your photography? Do children see the world differently than adults?
“Children do see the world differently than adults. They see the world with wonder and excitement, and they always find beauty and joy in the smallest, simplest things. Children’s imaginations are limitless and mind-blowing. I want to capture and create art about the magical world of childhood we all once inhabited. Seeing the world through a lens definitely allows me to experience the wonderment again.”

Taken with theLensbaby Composer Pro II with Edge 80 Optic

How have your own children inspired your images?
“My children are my biggest inspiration. I love to take them out and just follow them and observe what they do; most of the time, they will lead me to something very beautiful and magical. I have never made them pose or do something for photographs. I don’t feel the need to do that; however, is my dream to collaborate with them and make art in the future!”

Taken with theLensbaby Composer Pro II with Edge 50 Optic

Where do the ideas for some of your more surreal images come from? Do you draw inspiration from other works of art or literature?
“I love animated films. I am a big fan of Studio Ghibli film studio animations. I grew up watching them, and I always wanted to be able to create art that speaks to people. I recently watched an anime film called Your Name, directed by Makoto Shinkai. I got totally lost in the world they created and felt so inspired.

“It is very important to me to stay inspired. I love to drive for hours on weekends, without any plans, and see different scenery and discover new things. I am so thankful that my family is so supportive of my passion.”

Taken with the Lensbaby Composer Pro II with Edge 50 Optic

What pieces of advice would you give other photographers who are working with children? How do you keep them engaged?
“My children are two and one, so they are not cooperative at all, to be honest! But I like it that way. Let them be them. Follow them. They will take you places and show you the beauty. Try to see it.”

Taken with theLensbaby Composer Pro II with Edge 50 Optic

What’s the most beautiful place you’ve visited for the sake of a photograph, and what made it the perfect setting for your photography?
“I don’t have a ‘most beautiful place.’ I feel all the places I visit have some of ‘the most beautiful things.’ I love going to different places on weekends. I took my boys to the aquarium for the first time couple of weeks ago, and it was amazing. Their faces full of excitement and wonder, beautiful creatures in beautiful lighting, and calm music. It was a totally different world to my boys. I feel like any ‘first time’ visit to any place is always magical and perfect for photography.”

Taken with theLensbaby Composer Pro II with Edge 50 Optic

What are some of your tricks for creating these surreal scenes and bringing them to life?
“I am asked all the time about how I find the time to create. I take photos throughout the day and edit them at night after my boys are in bed. It’s easy when I have a clear vision of what I want to create, but most of the time, I don’t. I go through the images I took that day, and I try to imagine what and how my boy was seeing and feeling the scene. I think about what messages and story I can convey to people through the image. Color is a important element to me. They bring the scenes to life. Sometimes it takes hours or days for me to get the perfect colors.”

Taken with theLensbaby Composer Pro II with Edge 80 Optic

When did you start using Lensbaby lenses, and what stood out to you about them? How does using these lenses alter the way you approach making an image and the results that you create?
“I got my first Lensbaby lens at the beginning of last year after seeing the amazing images they produced. I love how they add mystery to images with creative blurs. They make me think about what I want to focus on and what I want to leave mysterious. I want make people wonder, which is something I’d never thought of before getting the Lensbaby lenses.

What is your number one Lensbaby lens, and how has it helped you to create your dreamy aesthetic?
“The Edge 50 is my all-time favorite lens. It helps me see and capture ordinary scenes in a completely different ways… and to tell a better story. Also, it definitely allows me to cut down on the post-processing on my images.”

What has surprised you most about using Lensbaby lenses? What should photographers expect from these lenses?
“Like I said, all Lensbaby lenses allow you to see the world in completely different unique ways. They will open up your world. They will make you think. They will inspire you.”

Taken with the Lensbaby Composer Pro II with Edge 50 Optic

What have you learned about the value of experimentation?
“Photography is one of the powerful tools you can use to express and convey messages, inspire and move people. I believe in the infinite possibilities of photography, which is why it is important for photographers to continuously challenge and reinvent themselves. I don’t like reading photography ‘Dos and Don’ts.’ It’s important not to be restrained by rules. Be free, and experiment.”

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