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About That Lomography Thing

Posted 2011.07.17 17.50 in Photography, Pointless Blather

As I promised earlier, this will be a post about that Lomography thing. I’ve mentioned it in the past and on re-reading, I know I sound somewhat negative about it. Really I think my stance is mixed – there are things I agree with, and things I don’t.

Before I get too far into this, for folks who haven’t heard the term before, here is the Lomography About page. That is a bit of an introduction.

For the TL;DR crowd, here’s a quick summary: Lomography is about analogue (aka film) photography, it is about embracing and celebrating funky results and surprises, and having fun with your camera rather than getting hung-up on achieving technically perfect images.

Intentional Double Exposure

And in fact, that is what I like about it. When I painted, I did mostly abstract work, and tried to do some surreal work. My feeling was that it was more important to have fun with the media and explore / experiment with it in non-traditional ways, rather than worrying too much about an accurate recreation of a realistic image. Or put it this way – good reliable cameras have been around for 50 years, so why waste time trying to paint like a photograph? Use the paint and canvas to have fun and do things you can’t do with a camera.

That same argument I believe can be applied to analogue / film photography: reliable, high-quality digital cameras are now almost ubiqutous, so why waste time trying to get 100% perfect results with old analogue film and chemistry? Instead, just have fun with the film, the light, the chemistry. Experiment and be creative and see what happens.

Clearly, this is an area where Lomography and I are in agreement. There is at least as much fun and enjoyment to be had in the process of doing and creating, as there is in the having and viewing afterwards. The Lomography folks have gone a lot further in defining this than I ever did of course, and have even defined a set of ten “golden rules” to apply.

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Plastic Lenses

Posted 2011.06.25 9.19 in Family/Friends, Photography

I took my plastic Holga camera out on the Summer Solstace last week. We were having a family get-together and it seemed like a good excuse to expose some old B&W film.

The Holga is a cheaply-made plastic camera with a plastic lens, a fixed aperture (roughly f/11) and a fixed exposure (roughly 1/100th). It’s known for light leaks and double exposures. Mine requires a rubber-band to ensure the back doesn’t fall off unexpectedly.

I say cheaply-made as opposed to just cheap, because the Lomographic Society International will happily sell you a Holga for at least 3x what it’s probably worth. I have mixed feelings about the LSI – I do enjoy shooting film (they’re all about analogue photography) and I can & do appreciate the joy of the occasional unexpected serendipidous results… Where I take exception is that they seem to be making a fortune selling junky cameras at insane prices.

Anyways, this wasn’t supposed to turn into a rant against Lomography… just a brief intro or explanation about the culture of embracing crappy pictures as their own artform. Which is what Lomography means, sort of.

Back to the pics – there are two pics from the summer solstace and two pics from the winter. Same Holga, same brand of film (expired Chinese black&white) but different processing results.

About processing – I still develop my own black & white film at home. The roll I did in the winter got contaminated or something. When it came out, it was covered in these little speckles.

I haven’t shot colour in a while because I think it’s too expensive to process at the labs and I haven’t found any reasonable sources of chemistry for processing at home. Yet…

More Holga Pics

Posted 2009.09.30 2.06 in Photography

Probably the last roll I shoot with the Holga, at least for now. The camera is starting to get a bit fall-aparty and I swear I’ve only disassembled it twice. The modifications I made were in no way structural, nor did they negatively affect the structural integrity. It’s not my fault!

Anyhow, once again it’s a roll of B&W Lomo 120 film. I’ve been carrying the camera everywhere (it’s a bit big, but it’s light) but I’m usually too wimpy to try taking pictures of strangers. So I just snap here and there, or at home, and often from my car when something catches my eye.

So here’s a few shots from the latest roll.

Queen West Art Crawl

Posted 2009.09.21 16.49 in Family/Friends, Photography

My friend Lezley Davidson was sharing a table with Ty Dunitz in Toronto over the weekend at an art fair thingy. On Sunday I went to visit and see what it was all about. And I brought my Holga camera.

The Holga had some issues, namely the film counter window had issues (or maybe the film itself had issues) and we ended up with 6×6 pictures all overlapped by about 1cm. I scanned the images as best I could, but there’s lots of overlapping craziness. Out of a roll and a half, there were some shots that were interesting enough to share.

The Holga Has Landed

Posted 2009.09.19 17.43 in Hobbies, Photography

The Holga camera. Plastic body, plastic shutter, plastic lens, plastic button. Plastic fantastic. A camera so basic that it comes with a roll of electrical tape, incase you need to seal off light-leaks. So basic, it is categorized as a toy. Yet it was designed to take professional format 120 roll film. The same medium-format film that the pros are loading into their Hasselblads and Rolleis.

The plastic lens is known for soft / fuzzy focus. The shutter is not connected to the film advance, so you can take multiple exposures – intentionally or by mistake. Focusing is achieved through luck and guesswork. The shutter has just one speed. The aperture alleges to have two settings (sunny and cloudy) but I’ve taken it apart and find that there’s really just one setting. I’ve covered up the viewfinder so I won’t accidentally use it – it doesn’t seem to have any purpose really.

This is not a camera to do serious shooting with. This is not a camera you fiddle and tinker with to get every shot just perfect. This is a camera you snap away with, whatever catches your eye, try and remember to wind it, or don’t, or don’t let it bother you. Try and remember to focus, or not. Really, just try and remember to have fun.

Here’s some frames from my first roll – as usual, just shot around the house & backyard. At least two of the double-exposures were accidental, at least one was intentional, and I can’t remember any details more than that.

The photos were taken using a roll of B&W Lomography film, ISO 100. The Lomographic Society won’t say where the film comes from, who makes it, etc. so nobody knows what the correct processing chemistry is. I processed it in Kodak T-Max because that is what I use for everything. :)

I think I gave it 7 minutes but next time I’ll try 6 minutes.