Good, Bad, or Fugly?

Posted 2009.11.01 9.29 in Hobbies, Photography

Have you heard about this Lomography stuff? It’s sort of a ‘movement’ thingy. They use these Lomo LC-A cameras, or Holgas, or Dianas… the point is using a cheap / crummy / mediocre camera, expired film, ‘shooting from the hip’, cross-processing with the wrong chemistry, whatever – so the end result is sort of the opposite of carefully composed properly exposed photography.

Perhaps its a little like throwing cans of paint at a canvas, and calling it fine art?

It also reminds me a bit of the Dada movement from about a hundred years ago, sort of an anti-art movement, where the Dadaists were rebelling a bit about what the modern world was calling art, and they went in some wierd directions to sort of call attention to the pretentious silliness of it all. (Yeah, I actually learned stuff in the Art History classes in highschool.)

Anyhow, so the thing with Lomography is that ‘bad’ is ‘good’, or something along those lines. That you find the beauty in the results you get, and you don’t know what you get till you get the film back. They do caution that you can’t expect every shot to be a masterpiece, you might only get one good shot out of a whole roll…(**)

So I just processed a roll of film recently and had some odd results. This film had a storied history. I loaded it into my Minolta X370, but then after a few weeks I hadn’t used the Minolta. I had just recently done some work on my Hanimex rangefinder, so I extracted the film from the Minolta and put it in the Hanimex. I shot 7 or 8 frames, but then wasn’t using it much. Then the Hanimex started to act funky (I think) and I wasn’t sure if it was working right. Meanwhile I had this super cute Rollei B35.. so I took the film out of the Hanimex and put it in the Rollei and finished it off in there.

(To move a roll of 35mm from camera to camera, just rewind it back into the cassette, except for the leader, then load it into the new camera like normal, then shoot off however many frames you need to with the lens cap on, to get back to where you were. Throw in one or two extra frames just to be sure.)

There were a lot of wierd effects on the roll, and I don’t quite know why – I’ve swapped films from camera to camera before without trouble. Anyhow, here’s a few shots that came out in a way that it’s ‘in the eye of the beholder’… bad photographs or good lomographs? You decide.

Technical details: Kodak Tri-X 400, processed in TMax for 6:30 minutes. The Feral Cat picture was taken with the Hanimex. I do not know what any of the remaining shots were taken with.

** There is also a seedy commercial aspect to this whole Lomography thing – for one thing, while encouraging folks to take wild and crazy photos and cautioning folks that maybe only one shot on the roll will be great, they are perfectly happy to sell you all the (expired, overpriced) film you need. They also sell the cheap plastic cameras, i.e. Holgas and Dianas. Cheap as in poorly made, not the inexpensive kind of cheap. And of course they sell the camera that the movement is named after, the Lomo LC-A – for US$250, or about 5x what it’d be worth if it didn’t have a ‘culture’ and a ‘movement’ behind it.

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