Friday, February 26

Photography Fuzzy Again

My feet strolled down Carnaby Street just off of Regent Street in London, I gazed at the shops full of three inch heeled shoes, wondered at the denim cut into a myriad of fashionable shapes, and lusted after the sparkling jewellery I wanted hanging off my body.  My feet turned and I saw window display that I thought had died back when I was a child in the 1980’s.  Camera’s.  Old school camera’s.  A whole store full of them.  Large.  Sqaure.  Gigantic flashes perched on top.  Orbesque, protruding lenses.  Plastic.  Some black.  The rest bright colours.  What the?!?

Did I miss something?  Did I not purchase a DSLR camera and fall in love with it?  What was this flash back?  This retro reach into my childhood past?  What had happened to progress in the field of photography?  Upon further research, a duo of students in the 1990’s in Austria discovered an old Russian camera called the ‘Lomo Kompakt Automat’. 

With further development and creative spunk the Lomo LC-A camera was born as well as a company called Lomography (I thought the company's name was Iomography.  Look at the store front, bad font.)  Thus began a sub-culture of individuals who wanted to enjoy the spontaneity and joy of capturing life’s natural moments with an old school blur.  The company has expanded from a sub-culture to a large and proud world-wide following, even though these cameras require film.  Remember film?  The tube shape in which is found a long, string like curl of brown, clear plastic on which your pictures used to be stored.  Yep film.  In a world of digital images, these people have assisted in keeping a part of photographic history alive.  (info from Lomography website, Wikipedia)

In the 21st century Lomography boasts “we are a globally active organization dedicated to experimental and creative visual expression, a playful combination of lo-tech and hi-tech and the amalgamation of a cultural institution with a commercial photographic and design company focussing entirely on the unique imagery, style and approach of analogue photography and its further development.”  (quote from Lomography website.)

As I stepped back in time in the London store I did not see anyone making a purchase, but profits must be up as here was the old school rage in an expensive location.  It was only when I attended a photography exhibit and discussion night at the Whitechapel Gallery in London where the largest collection of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi photographs from 150 years were on display, that I saw my first Lomo LC-A owner.  After the Q&A I met one of the exhibits photographers and he had three camera’s around his neck.  One a Lomo LC-A camera which he said he loved due to its natural honesty in capturing a moment and which he took with him everywhere.

If you want to become part of this phenomenon you must take their pledge.  From the Lomography company:  At the very base of this lie the 10 golden rules that define our philosophy and approach towards photography. Memorise them, recite them by heart, or break all the rules; whichever way, be ready to throw all your inhibitions about photography to the wind.

1.    Take your camera everywhere you go
2.    Use it any time – day and night
3.    Lomography is not an interference in your life, but part of it
4.    Try the shot from the hip
5.    Approach the objects of your lomographic desire as close as possible
6.    Don’t think (william firebrace)
7.    Be fast
8.    You don’t have to know beforehand what you captured on film
9.    Afterwards either
10.  Don’t worry about any rules

Whether you purchase or merely peruse this photographic company's products, it is a phenomenon I am not sure anyone would have predicted.  Perhaps we are reaching back into our film ridden childhoods in order to re-live the happy, captured moments.  Perhaps in the future, I may even make a fuzzy picture camera purchase myself.


  1. "My feet turned and I saw window display that I thought had died back when I was a child in the 1980’s."

    Great Post!

  2. great cameras, but it's more an attitude than a camera.

  3. I definitely agree that it was a poor font choice. I thought the sign said lamography. Come in our store! We know we are lame but at least we're honest. :)