Lomography began with a fateful encounter in the early 1990s...
...when a group of students in Vienna, Austria, stumbled upon the Lomo Kompakt Automat – a small, enigmatic Russian camera. Mindlessly taking the shot from the hip, and sometimes looking through the viewfinder, they were astounded with the mindblowing photos that it produced – the colours were vibrant, with deep saturation and vignettes that framed the shot – it was nothing like they had seen before! Upon returning home, friends wanted their own Lomo LC-A, igniting a new style of artistic experimental photography that we now know as Lomography!
Following the mania that ensued upon the introduction of Lomography, they flew to St. Petersburg to work out a contract for the worldwide distribution of this fantastic little camera. Soon, the 10 Golden Rules was set up as a guide to this analogue movement, followed by exhibitions, world congresses, parties, installations, collaborations, and events. New products, films, and accessories were developed, and Lomography.com served as the communication hub for Lomographers worldwide. At the same time, Lomography Gallery Stores were put up worldwide.
Today we are a globally active organisation dedicated to experimental and creative visual expression, a playful combination of lo-tech and hi-tech, and a cultural institution involved in commercial photographic and design company. We are dedicated to the unique imagery and style of analogue photography, and will continue to contribute to its development!
1982 › Birth of the LOMO LC-A - the camera that started it all!
General Igor Petrowitsch Kornitzky, right-hand man to the USSR Minister of Defense and Industry, slammed a little Japanese compact camera onto the desk of his comrade Michail Panfilowitsch Panfiloff, the Director of the powerful LOMO Russian Arms and Optical factory. Panfiloff carefully examined the item, observing its sharp glass lens, extremely high light sensitivity and robust casing.
Realizing its potential, the two gentlemen gave orders to the LOMO PLC factory in St. Petersburg, Russia to create an improved version of the Cosina CX-1 – and the first working sample of the LOMO LC-A was born!
1984 › Launch of the LC-A
The LOMO LC-A began mass-production this year, with 1200 people working on the camera.
Starting at 1100 units per month for the Russian market, its popularity soon spread to then Communist countries such as Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Cuba.
1991 › Discovery!
While touring Prague, a group of Viennese students stumbled upon the LOMO LC-A in a quirky, old-school camera shop, and started shooting from the hip.
Upon returning to Vienna, they had their film rolls developed, resulting in strangely beautiful images. Soon the questions started coming from friends, family and strangers, they wanted their own LC-A cameras!
1992 › The birth of the Lomographic Society International
Interest in the mysterious Soviet jewel was rapidly growing, and the Lomography founders resorted to carrying out daring backpack raids to Russia in order to satisfy the demand for more and more of these fantastic LOMO LC-A cameras.
It was this year that the decision was finally made to found the Lomographic Society International (LSI) once and for all. During the summer, the legendary “10 Golden Rules of Lomography” were written and later published in the ‘Wiener Zeitung’ newspaper along with the revolutionary “Lomography Manifesto” on November 5th. Shortly after this, the Vienna City Council provided the LSI with an empty house on Breitegasse in the city’s 7th district, which would soon act as a base for all Lomographic operations!
It was here that the very first Lomography exhibition was held. At the exhibition, 700 LOMO LC-As were sold and one of the LSI’s most defining features was born – the LomoWall!
1994 › Lomo goes online, NYC vs Moscow exhibition, first embassy in Berlin
Lomo invades the world wide web at this time (www.lomo.com).
It was also this year when the very first Lomographic exhibition was simultaneously held in New York City and Moscow, with massive LomoWalls gracing each city, showcasing colourful Lomographs from the other; months later, the first Lomo Embassy was established in Berlin.
1996 › Provide for the future
With the LC-A's popularity rise comes the biggest challenge – the Russian manufacturers decided to stop its production.
Our “Wieners” bravely scooted to the LOMO Optics factory in Russia and successfully convinced the factory honchos and then-Vice Mayor Mr. Vladimir Putin to continue with the LC-A production!
1997 › First World Congress in Madrid
Relaunching lomo.com as lomography.com, the new website introduces a product shop, community interaction, special projects, activities and services, plus the WorldArchive – displaying a collection of amazing Lomographs from different places.
The first Lomographic World Congress in Madrid boasted a LomoWall of over 120 metres - consisting of over 35,000 Lomographs!
1998 › Photokina
The Lomographic Society International launches the 4-lensed Actionsampler at the Photokina – the largest photography convention in the world.
The strange-looking plastic camera takes four sequential images in one 35mm Lomograph and was an instant hit!
2000 › First in-house camera, the Supersampler, community functions launched
Designed, manufactured, and patented by Lomography, the Supersampler emerges as the “Queen of all Multi-lens Cameras” – taking four panoramic panels of sequential images in one photograph.
At lomography.com, new community functions were launched, one of which was the LomoHomes – a space for users to store all their photos and make their own LomoWalls, at the time, probably the most modern web site where you could host photos!
2001 › First Lomography shop in Vienna
The very first Lomography shop in the world graced the Kunsthalle (Contemporary Art Hall) in the Vienna MuseumsQuartier in the summer of this year, featuring walls decked with Lomographs (LomoWalls), a wide range of innovative products from all over the world and the full line of Lomographic items. It also hosted workshops and other activities that cater to Lomography.
2002 › Lomography World Congress
This was the year that Vienna played host to the Lomography World Congress displaying beautiful Lomo shots from across the globe.
2003 › First Sidekick TPE bag - Lomography fashion makes its entrance.
In addition to photographic products, Lomography introduces the first Sidekick TPE bag – designed to hold cameras, films, and even a small laptop. This jumpstarts the Lomography line of fashion items – t-shirts, bags, camera bags, and accessories have since been added to the fashion segment.
2004 › World Congress in China, biggest ever LomoWall!
The biggest LomoWall to date was installed during the World Congress in China. For one whole week, Beijing was bursting with shiny Lomographs and exciting activities!
2005 › The Fisheye camera
Lomography introduces a breakthrough in photography with the world's first compact Fisheye camera – the Fisheye. Yielding nearly 180-degrees of circular Fisheye distortion in a 35mm photograph, it offered the easiest and most convenient way to try Fisheye!
2006 › LC-A+
Lomography introduces the LC-A+ - a faithful reproduction of the Russian LC-A camera.
Manufactured in China with an option to get the lens from Russia, it offered the same endearing qualities as the original – sharp contrast, deep saturation, and the trademark vignetting - while adding more exciting features such as a multiple-exposure switch and the option to use exclusively-for-LC-A+ accessories!
2007 › Diana+, Hong Kong, Seoul and Paris Gallery Store openings, White Stripes collaboration and World Congress, London.
A faithful reproduction of the'60s medium-format classic Diana camera was introduced by the LSI – the Diana+, enhanced with features to promote more creative options.
The year 2007 also saw the opening of Lomography Gallery Stores in Hong Kong, Paris, and Seoul, the World Congress in London, and Lomography's collaboration with the White Stripes for the limited edition “Jack” Holga and “Meg” Diana+ cameras.
2008 › Lubitel+ launch, “The Future is Analogue” exhibition at the Photokina, Cologne, Redscale film, Lomo X-Pro film & the LC-A Big Book.
Lomography strikes again with another exciting reproduction, the Lubitel+, our pimped-up version of the twin-lensed classic Lubitel camera. The year 2008 was a busy one as Lomography proudly declared that “The Future is Analogue” at the Photokina convention in Cologne, Germany, with a massive LomoWall covering both the walls and the floor – making it THE attraction to see. A survey was conducted prior to the event, evaluating the future of Lomography based on thoughts and opinions by the community, and gathering ideas and preferences, digital vs analogue-style.
The massive LC-A book, which documented the entire story of the LC-A, accompanied by a compilation of the best Lomographs from around the world, was also launched at the convention. Two photographic techniques – cross processing and redscaling – were made easier to create with the introduction of the first Lomography films - the Lomography X-Pro film, and the Lomography Redscale film.
2009 › New site launch , NYC Gallery Store, Diana Instant Back+, Colette, the year so far
The lomography.com website was given a complete relaunch, with a fresh new look and more sections for community interaction, contests, articles, and other crucial info related to Lomography and analogue photography – closing the gap between digital and analogue.
This year also saw the opening of the Lomography shop in New York City! The Diana+ also reigned supreme with the unique collaboration between Lomography and Paris-based boutique colette for the "Dianalogues: Through A Woman's Lens" Book & special edition camera. Plus the Diana Instant Back+ was launched, an accessory that turns the Diana+ camera into an instant camera!
Lomography celebrated the iconic Lomo LC-A+ camera that started it all, with the release of the LC-A+ 25th Anniversary and a South Korean-designed ‘No Nukes’ limited edition! The international exhibition, the Diana World Tour, also set sail this year, with the aim of sharing the very best vignetted square-shots and great parties with Lomographers across the globe.
This was also the year that Lomography ventured into the world of film. We released our very own 35mm X-Pro film this year, a sign of more to come.
2010 › "10 Prophecies for the Analogue Future" at the Photokina, Sprocket Rocket, Spinner 360, Website redesign
2010 will be remembered as the year Lomography ensured that the future would remain analogue once and for all! We took the Cologne Photokina by storm yet again, spreading analogue love and announcing our “10 Prophecies for the Analogue Future”!
The revolutionary Spinner 360° was launched and was quickly awarded the European Consumers Choice Award! Lomography unleashed the time-travelling Sprocket Rocket in October, the first analogue camera dedicated entirely to sprockets! In celebration of the Lomo LC-A+ that started it all, two limited editions were created: the LC-A+ White & the LC-A+ Gold.
Lomography also set about ensuring that the future was film by producing more of our own! We released a whole range of 120 and 35mm format films including special redscale and X-Pro films. Also in this year, 10 groups of film-fanatics from around the world teamed up to join the great LC-A Race – a race from the four corners of the globe back to the LSI headquarters, armed with only with a GPS, a notebook and an LC-A+!
The lomography.com website was relaunched once again, with brand-new features and an improved online experience for our expanding global community! We launched localised versions of the website for Canada, Taiwan, Thailand, Korea, China, the UK and Italy, as well as opening nine new gallery stores worldwide! The Diana World Tour continued to bring breath-taking squares and fun-packed parties to Lomographers all over the globe!
2011 › Get Ready to Shoot, Lomography Times Square Exhibition and Tons of New Releases
We're already busy making sure that 2011 will be the best ever year for Lomographers across the world.
In February, we set about spreading the analogue love with three heart-meltingly beautiful special camera editions – the "Love is in the Air" Diana Mini, the "Take My Heart" Diana F+ and the "I Love LOMO" Fisheye 2. In this same month we also launched the stunning "Ready to Shoot" camera cases. In March, the Lomography fashion range was extended again with the release of seven brand-new T-shirt designs.
April was the month in which the LomoLab landed in both the UK and the USA and later in the month we released another three special camera editions to commemorate the Golden Week in Japan - the "Jiyu" Diana Mini, the "Kirameki" Diana F+ and the "Shiawase" Fisheye 2. We also pledged to make a donation to the Red Cross of Japan with the purchase of each of these cameras.
From April 11th to May 3rd, the people of Hong Kong celebrated everything analogue with the incredible Lomography Times Square Exhibition. 100,000s of people turned out to discover and explore an enormous LomoWorldMap made up of thousands of Lomographic pictures and a collection of four giant, interactive cameras including the Sprocket Rocket, Diana F+, Fisheye 2 and a Lubitel. It was at this exhibition that we announced the launch of the brand-new Hong Kong City Guide and a special edition White Sprocket Rocket to celebrate the event!
In May, we unleashed the world’s widest compact camera, the Lomo LC-Wide; the latest innovation in the LOMO legacy.
Following in June was the lovable La Sardina camera with four unique designs, El Capitan, Fischers Fritze, Sea Pride and Marathon – as well as a brand-new Lomographic flash, Fritz the Blitz. We then gave the much-loved Sprocket Rocket a vibrant and colourful makeover with the four Superpop! editions.
In July we set to spreading the analogue love further with the launch of the limited edition LC-A+ Russia Day. We also made a big step in securing the future of film with the release of our brand-new 35mm Earl Grey and 120 Lady Grey B&W films. We launched the 336-page Lomography City Guide Berlin this month; the biggest City Guide so far!
In September we gave the Diana F+, Diana Mini and Fisheye 2 a colorful makeover with the release of the 6 special monochrome editions. It was also a great month for the future of film with the release of our Lomography X Tungsten 35mm film and our new black and white films, Lady Grey 120 and Early Grey 35mm.
In October the La Sardina family grew by six when we launched 4 beautiful plastic pattern editions with accompanying Photo Accordions and 2 caviar-inspired metal editions.
In November, we launched one of the most exciting innovations of the year – the world’s first Lomographic movie camera the LomoKino – adding a whole new dimension to analogue photography. It was also the month that the Fisheye One got a brand-new all black makeover and we launched three of the most glamorous camera editions so far, the Gold Diana F+, Diana Mini and Fisheye 2.
2012 › The Belair Launches, The Return of 110 Photography and Lomography Hits 20!
2012 was a hugely exciting year for all things Lomography. We launched a whole host of exciting cameras and started a big celebration for our 20th anniversary.
In February, we started a year-long series of competitions with the State of Virginia in the USA and even launched a special edition ‘Virginia is for Lovers’ La Sardina Edition. But that wasn’t our only collaboration with a special place in Lomographers’ hearts; in the same month, we launched the La Sardina Seoul Edition in partnership with the City of Seoul in South Korea.
In May with went movie mad. To start with, we launched an exciting new LomoKino MUBI Edition camera in collaboration with the online movie platform MUBI. This very special edition featured the signature of the Palme D’Or winning director Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Apichatpong also made a brand new movie which used the LomoKino which premiered at our party at Cannes film festival!
In May we announced that Lomography were re-introducing 110 film to the world! This film format had been out of production since 2009 and it was a pleasure to bring it back in style with the launches of Orca B&W 110 film and Tiger CN 110. We then followed this up by producing our very first 110 format cameras, the Fisheye Baby 110 and Diana Baby 110 (you can find out more about them on our dedicated 110 photography site).
As 2012 was an awesomely exciting year for the UK and London particular, we took the opportunity to have all kinds of fun. Firstly, we introduced the world to our new La Sardina The Guvnor Edition, then we launched the fabulous London City Guide and hosted a huge LomoWall of photos at the Museum of London!
In July we took our interest in the world of DIY to new heights as we produced the La Sardina DIY Edition. We then asked designers from around the world to decorate their very own La Sardina cameras as part of the La Sardina Wardrobe.
Then, in September, we demonstrated our ever-inquisitive nature by producing a huge survey about how the worlds of analogue and digital are involved in Lomographers’ lives. The survey was answered by over 5000 people from 82 countries and produced some very interesting results. You can view the data as an infographic on our Analogue vs Digital site.
We left what many would say was the biggest and best news of the year until October. It was in this month that we announced the launch of the Belair X 6-12, the world’s first medium format 6x12 auto-exposure camera. News of the Belair launch was made even sweeter in December when we launched 2 Russian-made Belairgon lenses for the camera produced by lens specialists Zenit.
And if all this wasn’t quite enough, it also happened to be the year when we reached the ripe old age of 20! That’s right, Lomography started all the way back in 1992 – But even though we are 20, we still feel fresh as a fiddle! We celebrated our anniversary by taking a look back at some of our highlights on our 20th Anniversary Site.