All You Need To Know About Lomography
This Lomography guide gives you the full background on Lomography and its philosophy. It also links to our detailed Lomography Guides that are broken into 3 different categories, if you can’t wait, then get stuck in:
Lomography Instant Cameras: Can’t wait to see what you’ve shot – check out our Lomography Guide to the incredibly popular Instant Range
Lomography Specials: Looking for something a bit unique? Our Lomography Guide to Specials covers everything from Fisheye to moving pictures and loads in between
Lomography Classics: They are Classics for a reason, they never go out of fashion. Our Lomography Guide to the fundamentally awesome cameras in the range is worth a look
Lomography Glossary: Need to boon up on your analogue knowledge? You’ll learn that your hot-shoe doesn’t warm your feet, and that long exposure is not something you get arrested for!
Now onto the history and philosophy part of our Lomography Guide – what’s it all about? Where did it start?
The Lomography motto is simple and self-explanatory “Don’t Think, Just Shoot”.
However, when you’re getting started the extensive collection of products, huge range of films and Lomo lingo can be slightly overwhelming. Over the past few weeks our guides have attempted to clarify all confusion and help you choose the right camera to achieve the Lomo motto.
First things first, yes Lomography is all Analogue. That means you need to process your film! Old school.
As vas_vas (an expert Lomographer) explains, “Lomography isn’t just a picture, it is the whole essence of the moment. It’s not just a realistic digital screen snap that portrays exactly what you see, it is a combination of the moment, the emotions and the experience. Digital images are how we would perceive the world if we were robots. Lomography provides a way to display that blood rush, that night we will never forget, the whole essence of life, not just the appearance.”
The Lomography ten golden rules enforce their “Don’t Think, Just Shoot” motto:
- Take your camera everywhere you go
- Use it any time – day and night
- Lomography is not an interference in your life, but part of it
- Try the shot from the hip
- Approach the objects of your Lomographic desire as close as possible
- Don’t think (William Firebrace)
- Be fast
- You don’t have to know beforehand what you captured on film
- Afterwards either – Embrace them and enjoy them, don’t try to analyze them!
- Don’t worry about any rules stay true to yourself
Believe it or not but we can give some thanks to Vladimir Putin for Lomography’s success…
In 1991, whilst on a trip to Prague, a group of Austrian art students stumbled upon a curious little black camera. This camera was extremely basic, especially considering digital cameras were starting to take over, it had a manually sliding lens cover and they had to rewind and focus it by hand. Using the camera was exciting but it wasn’t until they got their films developed that the true love affair started. Lomography Society International was set up in 1992 initially as an exhibit to display their shots but quickly progressed into a photography movement.
The camera was the Lomo LC-A (Lomo Kompact Automat) built by Leningrad Optics and Mechanics Association (Lomo) in Soviet-era Leningrad. It produced distinct photos with vignette at the edges (tunnel effect – see our glossary), bold contrasting colours, soft focus and the long shutter speed enhanced light trails. They could use cheap and expired film and given its compact size it easily fitted in their pockets. They were sold.
Sadly by the mid-90s the original batch of cameras had run out and were no longer being produced. Enter Vladimir Putin. The students went to the camera manufacturers who were still making optics in St Petersburg and with the help of Putin (the then city’s deputy mayor) they persuaded them to restart production!
Over 20 years on and Lomography are still expanding their globally active organisation with 36 shops worldwide and an international socio-cultural movement. Their photos still maintain those distinguishing features of the original Lomo LC-A – just better and more evolved! (NB: To our knowledge Putin is no longer involved).
With a recent overhaul of their website they are looking cooler than ever. Their magazine is the hipster way of describing a blog. With 41,118 articles and 12,311,802 uploaded photos it may seem a lot to take, you obviously do not (ever) have to read or view all of them. It is, however, ideal for a good scroll and general peruse to gather ideas for your next roll of film.
With Lomography’s extensive variety of cameras and films anything is possible and results are always unexpected! From dramatic light leaks, double exposures, long exposures, red scaling, split shots, deep emerald and blue or violet and gold colourings.
If you like the sound of Lomography then you can head straight to our selection of Lomography cameras here.
If you want to understand more about the different options, then our Lomography Guides are here:
So that’s the Bear & Bear Ultimate Lomography Guide finished! We loved visiting the team at their flagship store in London and getting the lowdown on the different options available. Bear & Bear are huge Lomo converts – I for one always take a Lomo camera on holiday. The experience of waiting for your shots and then finally seeing them developed is magical. Without doubt Lomography seems to capture my travels better than a digital camera can…. Lomo for life!