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What Is Lomography?

(To read this article in Vietnamese, please click here| Đọc bài chia sẻ bằng tiếng Việt, tại đây).


The popularity of old-school analog photography has skyrocketed in recent years, thanks to a resurgence of interest among professional and amateur photographers. If you’re exploring different forms of photography, analog offers many unique benefits — like the fact that it teaches you to become a better photographer and that it usually requires minimal to zero editing. And of course, there’s the exhilarating feeling of having to wait before you can actually see your images you worked so hard to compose and capture.


Now, if you’re a little more out there as a photographer and you love experimenting with different cameras and photography styles, then you’ve probably considered venturing into the exciting world of lomography at some point.


As a unique form of photography, lomography lets you try out new styles and become more creative with your images. It’s both an analog camera movement and a community facilitated by The Lomographic Society International. This movement motivates practitioners to be imaginative and play around with their shots.


But what exactly is lomography and why should you dabble in it?


Definition of Lomography?


The Lomographic Society maintains a website at lomography.com this is by far the best place to go if you're interested in lomography but don't know whether or not you want to invest the time and money in the techniques and equipment you'll need to get started. The site features forums for photo sharing and discussion as well as a shop where you can order your camera and film. There are also literally thousands of Flickr groups for lomographers, so there are plenty of places to go in search of inspiration.


True lomography uses analog film cameras to create soft-focus images with bright colors. Though the word “lomography” is often used to refer to the art of taking photos with analog cameras marketed by The Lomographic Society International, the word is being increasingly used to describe any photography that uses cheap and quirky cameras.


This unusual style of photography allows enthusiasts, or lomographers, as they are called, to incorporate techniques such as distortion, blurring, and multiple exposures into their photos. Ironically, these methods are all considered to be “bad” in conventional photography. However, lomographers abide by the “Don’t Think, Just Shoot” philosophy that enables them to take quirky, interesting shots from unusual angles and in different lighting conditions. There's a slogan that Lomography Lovers often use, which is "Let Ourlives be Magic and Open"


The Birth of the LOMO Movement

The “lomo” in lomography has different meanings. It can refer to the Russian company LOMO, an acronym for the Leningrad Optics and Mechanics Association. They were the manufacturers of the LC-A (Lomo Kompakt Automat), the first lomographic camera, which was released in 1982. “Lomo” can also pertain to the LC-A camera itself or to the usual definition of capturing images through the lomographic style.


The lomo movement began in 1991 when Austrian students Wolfgang Stranzinger and Matthias Fiegl stumbled upon the LC-A on a trip to Prague. They purchased a second-hand model and used it to chronicle their travels. After being impressed and intrigued by the surreal—and oftentimes otherworldly—look of their images, with their mysterious vignettes and vivid colors, the two began to buy and resell the camera to enthusiasts in Austria. The LC-A’s popularity abroad rose because of this, and eventually, in 1992, Stranzinger and Fiegl founded the Lomographic Society, an organization consisting of lomographers from around the world who use low-fidelity cameras to create beautiful lomo images.


Characteristics of Lomography

Photographers can run out of creative juices due to their obsession with the quality of their gear and photos. This situation can lead them to search for new ways of capturing images to reignite their creativity. If you’re stuck in the same rut, you’d be happy to know that lomography highlights casual, snapshot-style photography. It also celebrates “happy accidents,” and encourages the use of various techniques that are considered to be “wrong” in regular photography.


Some other characteristics that set lomography apart from other forms of photography include:

  • Oversaturated colors

  • Extreme optical distortions

  • Rainbow-colored subjects

  • Off-kilter exposure

  • Blurring

  • Alternative film processing

Some of these characteristics, including oversaturated colors and contrast, can be achieved by processing color slide film as standard 35mm film.

Types of Cameras Used in Lomography

This is a little ironic when you consider that the qualities that make lomographic photos so interesting are in large part due to the poor quality of the camera. Lomographic cameras have cheap plastic bodies (which is what gives them that tendency to leak light) and cheap plastic lenses, which are largely responsible for vignetting, over-contrasty images and all those other quirks that lomographic photographers love so much.


To entirely live Lomography, photographers simply need a camera that's simple as well as affordable. Some option is the 'old-fashion' Holga 120N, which retails for about 30 bucks. It takes 120 film, which is larger than 35mm and also difficult to find and process. The advantage of course is that the larger size makes for better quality images. Which does seem a bit silly when you think about it, since the primary goal of lomography is low-fi, not high-fi images. Or the Diana in the 60s or Lomo LC-A from the former Soviet Union since the 50s. They are all second hand option, which you can buy in less than 250 USD.


This is what makes lomography so fun–and so frustrating. Lomo cameras are highly unpredictable–like it has a life of its own. That’s why most of the beautiful lomo photos are ‘happy accidents’.

So if both a professional and a beginner in photography takes up lomography for the first time, both are likely equal in the field of lomography. Coming up with beautiful photos taken by toy cameras require you to understand your camera, develop a friendship with them and this understanding will take some time and practice.


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There are four colour effect built-in modes on the camera (classic, black and white, sepia, and blue).  They can be activated by a simple flick of a switch. The camera works like any other camera: press the shutter located at the front part of the device and you’re good to go. 

Simple but smart. The Paper Shoot Camera is simple in its design and straightforward in its operation. It is a digital camera, period. There are no overtly ‘flashy’ functions to mess around with. This means you can simply focus on being creative and capturing your surroundings. In addition there’s the added novelty of using a cute cardboard camera! 


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10 Golden Rules of Lomography

According to Lomography.com, this movement is “all about having fun while taking good pictures” and being “ready to throw your photography inhibitions away.”

10 Golden Rules of LOMOgraphy:

  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 a part of it.

  4. Try to shoot from the hip.

  5. Approach the objects of your Lomographic desire as close as possible.

  6. Don’t think.

  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!


Some beautiful examples of Lomography:



Watch this interesting video to learn more about the history of Lomography:


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Spread this article and Empower Action towards protecting environment among community of photography and creative lovers with these hashtags:
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