Lomography: So bad it’s good?

The appeal of analog artifacts

Film Photography in the past few years seems to be having the same resurgence we’ve seen in other analog industries like Tape and Vinyl. Digital certainly has it place but there is something wonderful about analog formats regardless if it’s audio or visual. No matter how people try it’s difficult to replicate analog artifacts like ‘pops and clicks’ and ‘light leaks’,  just doesn’t look or sound like the real thing. (The great film renaissance via B&H)

The performance of film vs digital in the 35mm realm it’s a pretty close race at this point. So personally I find it very peculiar that people still use LOMO cameras which are known to be intentionally poor performers. The argument is, that that’s the whole idea. Adorama has a great article on the origins of Lomography and its appeal. It’s almost like having a built in Instagram filter for your film camera. Mainly because they’re cheap* cameras and create less than perfect pictures. But then again, that’s the appeal. Cheap cameras wont help you when it comes to processing, that will get you in the pocket book later unless you have a dark room and can do it yourself.


In the 1990’s when the Lomo movement started film and processing was cheap. Back then it was a different time and creating images with personality due to light leaks and bad glass was about to be a wonderful creative outlet for people who were used to years of an industry that created easy to use good cameras. “Toy” cameras were a new thing with the Lomo movement. Lomo exists today and is still influencing a new generation of people to pick up a film camera and perhaps try film photography for the first time. THAT in itself is great! But with the availability of amazing used and vintage cameras I think the same “lomo” approach of tossing the rules out the window and shooting from the hip could still be done with a good camera. Even a vintage camera with full manual controls that would actually allow greater creativity and help educate the new shooter with a greater understanding of how cameras work. Basic Lomo cameras that are “creative” due to poor construction seems like a funny way to be expressive and creative. But yet, sometimes it is nice to “press the button, and let someone else do the rest”. Lomo over the past few years has really come out with some amazing new cameras that break away from their cheap toy camera roots. They’ve also become a great place to buy films, lenses, and accessories.

If you have a chance, browse through the Lomo website and look at the user galleries. Some people have found amazing ways to create incredible images using film. Obviously not all photos are made using toy cameras which is something I can definitely get behind.

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