Tuesday, 10 February 2009


Having won the last comp on OCuK where the theme was "Only the camera can capture" I got the opportunity to chose the next. For my theme choice I went with Lomo. "What is Lomo?" you might ask. I shall endeavor to explain because over the years Lomo or Lomography has gained itself something of a cult following.

History: From http://www.lomography.com/about/

In the genteel streets of St. Petersburg, Russia, the whole Lomographic phenomenon begins!

General Igor Petrowitsch Kornitzky, right-hand man to the USSR Minister of Defense and Industry, slammed a little Japanese mini-camera onto the ornate desk of his comrade Michail Panfilowitsch Panfiloff. Mr Panfiloff, Director of the powerful LOMO Russian Arms and Optical factory, examined the camera closely, noting its sharp glass lens, extremely high light sensitivity and robust casing. The two gentlemen, realizing the superior nature and extreme potential of this strange little item, gave immediate orders to copy and improve the design - with the ultimate goal of producing the largest quantity possible for the pleasure and glory of the Soviet population. It was decided - every respectable Communist should have a LOMO KOMPAKT AUTOMAT of their own.

The LOMO LC-A was born, and millions of cameras were promptly produced and sold. The Soviets and their Socialist playmates in Vietnam, Cuba and East Germany snapped happily away throughout the nineteen eighties, fully documenting the last gasps of Communism, and the occasional beach vacation on the Black Sea.

Jump forward to 1991

A handful of restless Viennese students are cruising though the capital in great early summer spirits, enjoying the new-found Czech democracy. By this year, the LC-A's time in the sunshine was coming to a close.

Weakened by dirt cheap, battery-powered imports from Asia, the LC-A's popularity was waning, and it was available only at quirky, old-school camera shops. It was at an establishment such as this, where the Viennese students happened upon the adorable camera, and bought a couple for fun. Back on the resplendent streets of Prague, they zipped through the first few rolls of film: shooting from above and through their legs, shooting from the hip, and even sometimes looking through the viewfinder.

Back in Vienna they soon had the whole bag of film developed at the trusty corner supermarket (super cheapo!) and received a real surprise: Thousands of small, amusing, sad, garish shots of their little tour, wonderful focused and unfocussed images fresh from life in the Czech Republic. The images were amazing, dazzling all those present with a crushing sense of excitement - the likes of which they had never felt before.

And so we come to today where Lomo has reached some thing of a cult status and is a style of not only photography but also of post processing (i.e. the editing done once you take the photo off the camera) that garners quite a bit of interest and respect. There are of course the purists that say that it's not a Lomo if it's not been taken with a Lomo LC-A camera but I'm not one of them - mostly because I don't have one!

So what does Lomo look like? Well in all honesty it can look like anything but there is a specific sub group of imagery that has become somewhat synonomous with Lomography and this is the one that I personally have the most interest in.

I've grabbed a couple of images that I personally feel are representitive of the style but are also interesting to me. These are from the Flickr Lomo group.

V-for Vendetta - By Keiron

magic mushrooms from lomo by poppie smiles

To me the things that typify the Lomo style (just the style mind you not the philosophy behind it) are the bold colours, the vignetting (shadows around the edges) and the quirkiness of the images, odd focuses and not necessarily adhering to the rules of photography (which reminds me I should put a bit up here on the rules themselves - they're always good things to remember).

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