Friday, January 15, 2010

Lomography

Lomography is an organization that deals with toy cameras. Twenty-five years ago, while in Austria, the founders bought a Russian toy camera called a Lomo and ended up taking such surprisingly wonderful pictures that it started a firestorm. That firestorm still exists and is called (shock horror) Lomography.

Though Lomography.com has a store selling plastic cameras like the Diana (which I have), the Holga, and naturally the Lomo, they also exist as the world's biggest fans of analog (aka film) photography. For a little lost photographer like myself, I eat up guidance and ideas. Lomography's 10 Golden Rules really opened my horizons:

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
My shots have changed dramatically since discovering Lomography and street photography. I take pictures of very different things, and I can't get enough of using film. I branched out to color film after discovering Lomography--truth be told, it's not a cheap medium. I'm hard pressed to say that any medium is cheap or stupid or somehow inferior. That doesn't mean I like everything, though.

So where's the beef? I hate these little plastic cameras. Am I already so spoiled by the vintage cameras that I can't stand these? I spent $240 on a Diana and every one of its accessories (which, in camera terms, is incredibly cheap). I won't buy any more cameras from Lomography unless it's from their set of old Russian cameras. They're too lightweight. I have no idea if the focusing is accurate. Did I mention they're too lightweight? The dogs knocked my Bolsey onto the floor--the thing is built like a tank and sustained no injuries. I'm certain that if the Diana fell, it would explode. Film quality after I develop a roll will be the most telling thing, but when the time comes for me to buy a medium format camera I'll go back to my eBay source.

That said, the Diana accessories include a fisheye lens, so this weekend in the Hill Country should be fun. I'm just not sure that lomographic cameras deserve the worship they get much like I'm not sure that Leicas are the be-all-end-all of rangefinders.

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