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About That Lomography Thing

Posted 2011.07.17 17.50 in Photography, Pointless Blather by Stephanie

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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Good, Bad, or Fugly?

Posted 2009.11.01 9.29 in Hobbies, Photography by Stephanie

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…(**)

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