When digital cameras took over in the 1990s, the fate of film photography seemed bleak but a freak chance resulted in a waning camera giving birth to a movement called Lomography. As it celebrates its twentieth anniversary on November 23, we take a look at 7 Lomography facts.
#1 ITS NAME COMES FROM THE LOMO LC-A CAMERA
Lomography is an analog camera movement and community. It is also the commercial trademark of the company Lomographische AG. The name Lomography comes from the LOMO LC-A camera created by a company in St. Petersburg, Russia named LOMO PLC. What happened was that a group of Austrian art students came upon a LOMO LC-A on a trip to Prague in 1991. They took snapshots of their travel from this camera and were “charmed by the unique, colorful, and sometimes blurry” images that the camera produced. Thus Lomography was born and LOMO LC-A became the centerpiece of the lomographic movement.
#2 PUTIN HELPED IN SPREADING LOMOGRAPHY
In 1992, the Lomographic Society International was founded. In mid 90s after having exhausted the supply of LOMO LC-A they went to the camera manufactures and persuaded them to restart production. In 1995 Lomography obtained exclusive rights to distribute the LOMO LC-A outside of the former Soviet Union. The negotiations were helped by the deputy mayor of St Petersburg Vladimir Putin, who would later become Russian Prime Minister and President.
#3 ITS MOTTO IS “DON’T THINK, JUST SHOOT”
Just like Eastman Kodak’s concept of the “Kodak moment”, Lomography can also be summarized by its motto, “Don’t think, just shoot”. There are ten golden rules in lomography which encourage spontaneity, odd angles, and taking photos anywhere, without much consideration for formal techniques. Also using digital techniques to manipulate pictures goes against the principles of Lomography.
#4 IT ENCOURAGES EFFECTS THAT ARE CONSIDERED BAD IN PHOTOGRAPHY
Most Lomographic cameras are designed to produce photographic effects such as “oversaturated colors, extreme optical distortions, rainbow-colored subjects, off-kilter exposure, blurring and alternative film processing, all things usually considered bad in photography.”
#5 LOMOGRAPHIC SOCIETY HAS WORKED WITH THE RED CROSS
The Lomographic Society has a strong following through the internet. The society has raised money for eye surgeries and vision care in Kenya in partnership with Light of the World, a Viennese vision aid organization. They have also worked with the International Red Cross for famine relief in East Africa.
#6 ELIJAH WOOD USES A LOMOGRAPHIC CAMERA
Celebrities which use lomographic camera include Lord of the Rings actor Elijah Wood, Neil Gaiman and garage rock band The White Stripes.
#7 IT HAS PLEDGED TO KEEP PHOTOGRAPHIC FILM EMULSIONS ALIVE
In 2013, Lomography and Kodak Alaris pledged an unwavering commitment to keep production of a large variety of photographic film emulsions alive and kicking in the 21st century.