The Lomography Movement

Film photography has become enormously popular among a new group of photographers called Lomographers. The movement is based on an old Soviet-era camera, the Lomo Kompakt Automat (LC-A). Lomographers shoot frequently and spontaneously at any time of the day or night, not paying too much attention to technicalities. You can create special effects with the camera. Light painting is popular among Lomographers; it is shown in Figure 14.1.

Figure 14.1

You can paint with light during long exposures with some Lomo cameras.

Figure 14.1

You can paint with light during long exposures with some Lomo cameras.

The Lomography movement dates back to the 1990s, when some students in Vienna, Austria, discovered the small Russian camera and began snapping away. Most Lomographers get their film developed cheaply at a local Walmart or Walgreens. Lomography exhibitions take place in major cities throughout the world. As many as 100,000 photographs are shown at the exhibitions.

There are Lomography stores in major cities throughout the world. The stores, which sell cameras and film and process film and prints, are open in New York, Paris, London, Berlin, Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taipei, Beijing, Guangzhou (China), and Rio de Janeiro. The most recent Lomography store opened in West Hollywood in 2010, and it is the largest one to date. Lomography gallery stores are opening all over the world.

According to, there are 10 Golden Rules to lomography.1 They all have to do with being a creative shooter. Lomography is a celebration of the simplicity of analog photography. There are no technical requirements.

The ten rules include the following ideas:

■ Always have your camera with you.

■ Take a picture whenever you want.

■ Make the camera part of your life.

■ Shoot without looking through the viewfinder.

■ Get to know your subjects.

■ Don't think about what you are doing.

■ You don't have to know what you've shot when you shoot it.

■ You don't have to recognize a shot when you get your film back.

■ Forget photography and other rules.

Shooting isn't tech-heavy if you're a Lomographer. Some of the cameras require that you set the distance you are from your subject or object (from 0.8 meters to infinity). Once you've set the distance, the camera calculates the shutter speed for proper exposure. The basic Lomo LC-A sells for $280 and sports a glass lens and an automatic exposure function. You have the option of adding an Instant Back for Polaroid-type pictures. The Diana Mini comes with a flash for $105. (You have to set focal length, aperture [two selections], and shutter speed [three selections].) If you want to get back to basics with no rules, there's a paper pinhole camera you cut and glue together yourself (for $25).

1 See

There's no better way to get an idea of what it's like to be a Lomographer than to get to know one. After seeing some amazing Lomography online, I decided to contact René G. Boscio, one of the more active participants on the site. He is profiled in the following sidebar.


Born in 1988, René G. Boscio is a young Lomographer from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. He has written more than 20 articles for the Lomography online magazine and has won several competitions on the website. René, a student working on a BA in musical composition at the Conservatory of Music in Puerto Rico, has been interested in photography since he was a teen, toying around with digital cameras and experimenting with different styles of photography. In February 2010, on a trip to visit his girlfriend in Los Angeles, he discovered the world of Lomography. As he was shopping at an Urban Outfitters store, he stumbled upon a Rob Ryan Fisheye Special Edition camera, a multicolored camera that looks like a toy. The camera is sold as a Lomo camera—a simple film device for beginning Lomographers.

Figure 14.2

Lomograph of René G. Boscio.

Figure 14.2

Lomograph of René G. Boscio.

René immediately became addicted to taking pictures with the camera. He went on to purchase other Lomography cameras, such as the Holga I35BC, the Diana F+, the Supersampler and his two favorite cameras, the Lomo LC-A+ (see Figure 14.3), and the Horizon Perfekt. He also uses an old Nikon N6006.

Figure 14.3

Image taken with an LC-A+, a waterproof camera.

Figure 14.3

Image taken with an LC-A+, a waterproof camera.

René is partial to the LC-A+ because of its simplicity and ease of use. "It uses a very simple focus technique," René said. "It also has a light meter that gives you a perfect exposure every single time, allowing you to be free and follow one of the Lomography sayings: 'Don't think, just shoot.'" Rene also shoots with the Horizon Perfekt. "Not only does it give you crispy clear panoramic shots, but also it allows full control over the shutter speed and aperture settings, for a 'Perfekt' shot in every situation," Rene commented. "I love the photos it produces, especially when cross-processed [an alternative form of developing the film]. The bright, saturated colors are absolutely stunning."

Out of all the different styles and techniques a Lomographer can use, with all the possibilities Lomography cameras offer, René prefers to get the most he can out of multiple exposures, shooting from the hip, light painting, nighttime experiments, and taking portraits out of the most random positions available. "I also enjoy getting as close as I possibly can to my subjects. This comes really in handy when I use the tunnel-vision macro lens with the Lomo LC-A+ and the Lomography Fisheye camera." Be sure the check out more of his Lomographs in his lomo-home at or at www.flickrcom/photos/renegboscio.

In an email interview, I asked René what kinds of films he uses and the process he goes through to get his photos online. Here's what he had to say:

"I prefer using slide film for cross-processing. Cross-processing is when you take film that should be processed with an E-6 chemistry, and you process it instead with the regular negative C-41 processing, which then produces very saturated and bright colors, making the classic shots of Lomography. My favorite kinds of film are Kodak Elite Chrome EB, Kodak Ektachrome VS, and Agfa CT Precisa, all 100 ISO. I also really enjoy shooting with the Lomography-brand film, since it produces similar results to those slide films I've mentioned.

"Since I don't have a darkroom, and I am not too much of a chemicals person, I usually take my film to a Sam's Club, a Walmart, or any other place where they can develop my film. I then bring the strips of negatives home and scan them with my Epson Perfection V500 flatbed scanner It's a process that takes a little longer than just having the lab scan the negatives for you, but you have more control over the scans, since sometimes labs—especially with Lomographs—tend to delete photos because they think you made a mistake and two photos overlap.. .or whatever crazy idea you had when you took your picture. But in Lomography, mistakes are often the best pictures."

This page intentionally left blank

0 0

Post a comment