An Introduction to Lomography | Light Stalking

An Introduction to Lomography

By Mike Panic / February 2, 2011

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Lomography emphasizes casual, snapshot photography. Characteristics such as over-saturated colors, off-kilter exposure, blurring, “happy accidents,” and alternative film processing.  Born out of a love for the Russian based LC-A camera manufactured by state run LOMO, the Austrian based, Lomographische AG is the company that produces a handful of cameras now that live by their funky effects and designs.

In a hobby that's almost all digital, Lomography is all film based and has a huge following, one that seems to continue to grow.  While iPhone apps like Hipstamatic are extremely popular they simply don't have the romance that film cameras can. Loading film, choosing which shots you will take, having the film processed and waiting for prints to be made is extremely.

One of the main purposes of Lomography is to encourage snapshot photography.  While most people work on becoming more professional with their photography, the goal of Lomography is to have fun shooting, then enjoy whatever comes out.

Photo by Kevin Dooley
Photo by Kevin Dooley
Photo by Kevin Dooley
Photo by Cameron Russell

Who should be shooting Lomography? You should!  Yes, it's film, it's an inconvenience to drop it off, then go pick up prints and scan them, but have your local lab scan the negs for you.  Sure it will cost you a few bucks every time you buy a roll of film, it's worth it!  Why? Because it's fun, that's why!  Don't think it's for you?  There are over 200,000 photos posted to the Lomo Flickr group, plenty of inspiration right there!

What you need: A camera and film, that's about it.  You can buy directly from Lomotography's store as well as many retailers, both online and in-store.  Crazy color combination, different uses and multi-lens cameras, whichever you fancy, or go with the more classic LC-A model.  The film you use will depend on what you want to accomplish, and it's worth noting that film directly from the official store can be somewhat expensive.

Because this is supposed to be a fun, low-cost activity, many Lomography fans have found that using expired film, both negative and slide (sometimes called positive) can yield the best results, and far greater color shifts and saturation.  This film can often be bought discounted at local camera stores or from eBay.  Additionally, many Lomography shooters cross process their film, that is, have negative film processed as E-6 slide, or vise versa.

It seems that in some way, we have started to assume that the size of your camera or the amount of money invested in gear is what results in the quality of images we get.  Forgotten is the fun of actually taking the photograph, and that's what Lomography has been trying to tell people.  The quality won't be razor sharp and the histogram readings won't be perfect, but you'll have a fun, fond memory of how you created it and a print to savor, or give to someone.

About the author

    Mike Panic

    is a professional photographer. See his site at Mike Panic Photography.

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