All About Lomography: A Buyer's Guide
Have you ever heard of Lomography? This style of photography has a hipster vibe that appeals to all ages. Learn more about what Lomography is and what you'll need to get started.
What Is Lomography?
Lomography is a fairly new style of photography that emerged in the early '90s in Austria. The movement first began when people started experimenting with the Lomo LC-A. Though it was just a cheaply made toy camera, it created a unique style that was characterized by high contrast and a soft focus.
In addition to the visual appearance of the photographs, Lomography is also founded on principles that have to do with the way the photos themselves are taken. The images are meant to be candid rather than posed, and digital processing afterwards is discouraged. Photos are taken quickly without thinking out the composition of the photo beforehand. The resulting images are spontaneous and even surprising.
In short, there are 10 rules that the official Lomography website uses to define this art form:
1. Take your camera everywhere you go
2. Use it any time – day and night
3. Lomography is not 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
What Do I Need?
As mentioned before, the first Lomo camera used for Lomography was the Lomo LC-A. Since then, several different Lomo models have been released. So how do you know which Lomo camera you should get? Here’s a basic guide to the more popular models to get you started:
- Diana: These remain two of the most popular types of Lomo cameras. They take fairly standard images and are a great introduction to the world of Lomography.
- Fisheye: The fisheye is great for taking in a wider view. The lens captures a 170-degree angle resulting in an almost circular image.
- Sprocket Rocket: Known for incorporating the film sprockets into the image, the Sprocket Rocket also takes wider shots than the average camera.
- SuperSampler: Use this camera to capture motion in a unique way. The camera takes four images in a 2- or 0.2-second interval, combining them into one frame.
- Colorsplash: This camera has colorful flashes that result in wild and bold photos.
Once you’ve chosen a camera, then it’s time to move on to film. You’ll want to pay attention to the directions that come with your camera for this. The Holga and Diana are usually compatible with 120 film, which is slightly on the more expensive side. If you don’t want to spend as much, opt for a Fisheye or another model that uses 35mm film, which is cheaper and easier to find. A few Lomo cameras use 110 film, which is smaller and rarer.
Your final step is finding a place to have your film developed. You may need to go to a specialty camera shop to have the film developed depending on what type of film you’re using. There are also great online services for getting your Lomography film developed.
What Should I Avoid?
There are a few pitfalls that Lomography beginners may encounter. The following are a few basic rules as far as the products and services you’ll want to avoid as a novice Lomographer:
- Always Shop Around: It’s best to look around for camera prices before buying. The older, simpler models are very cheaply made, and although there is some mark-up based on the popularity of Lomography, some sellers run up the prices to far beyond what the cameras are worth.
- Avoid Accessories at First: When you’re new to Lomography, many of the experts and photography websites will have you believe that you need multiple lenses, flashes and other accessories. Before you invest in all of that, try out your camera without these extras and see what kind of photos you want to aim for. Then you can purchase accessories that are specifically geared toward creating those types of images.
- Don’t Expect it to Be Cheap: Despite the fact that most Lomo cameras are relatively cheap, Lomography itself isn’t exactly affordable. A lot of money will need to be spent on film and processing, particularly if your camera uses 120 or 110 film. This can be especially difficult for people to stomach when they’ve gotten used to the affordability of printing out digital photos.
Lomography can be a great hobby for people of all ages, especially when you have the right equipment. Avoid the pitfalls above and you’ll find this to be a rewarding and inspiring new activity. For more information, check out the official Lomography website.