Sunday, February 12, 2012

What is Lomography?

I don't intend to claim that I have the perfect answer to the question: what is Lomography? However, I have an opinion on the subject and my own definition of it. Let me share.
Light leak or lens flare, I never figured that one out. Taken with an Olympus OM-10 with zoom lens.
The Lomography movement was started in the early 90's in Europe following the realization by a number of folks that the coming of the digital age was taking the challenge out of photography. The fact that you can choose and delete on the spot what images you feel came out right makes everyone a photographer all of a sudden.
This is what happens when the auto rewind stops too soon and you open the camera back with film still exposed! Taken with a Minolta Hi-Matic.
No more surprises of double exposures, light leaks, or other screw ups after the fact when picking up your prints at the photo store. Some of these errors and mistakes actually made some interesting images. I guess the late PBS painter Bob Ross could sum up the definition of Lomography very well, a happy accident.
Here we have the worst possible conditions for picture taking. Expired cheap generic 35mm color film on 620 spool with paper backing. The film was then loaded into an Imperial Mark XII with a plastic lens and no controls whatsoever. See for your self what came out.
The worst the camera, the better the chances of having those happy accidents. The typical lomographer will head straight for the cheapest plastic lens camera with few or no controls on shutter speed or aperture. Cheap is relative here. With all the hype around Lomography, what was once considered junk is now selling for big bucks. The law of supply and demand at work.

This was taken with a 1950's Kodak Brownie Hawkeye. Fixed lens, shutter speed and aperture. Point, shoot and pray!
I have nothing against Lomography, au contraire. It has one big positive impact, it keeps film on the map. Demand for film has increased in the last couple of years. Heck, Kodak, which just filed for bankruptcy protection, has seen a rise in film sales last year in the order of 20%!

Taken with a found disposable camera that expired in 2003. Processed in black and white.
In my opinion, Lomography is the introduction for many into the endless possibility of analog film photography. I'm betting that once a lomographer takes a great picture by accident, it does happen, that person will want to replicate the experience. They will push their art in order to learn more and that's a good thing.

Double exposure. Freak accident where the camera auto re-winded mid roll after being dropped. I decided to have some fun not knowing what would come out. Taken with a Ricoh FF70 point and shoot.
Lomography is a great way to get into film photography as it not only can be done on a budget (I'll have a post on that soon.) but it also removes the requirement or stress of perfect results. Shoot fast, often and have fun. Remember, what ever comes out is a happy accident, we don't make mistakes.

Thanks for watching.

Gerry :)

Part 2 in this series can be found here: cheap lomography cameras

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