I continue and continue to knock Lomography and its mark up on prices and production of just terrifyingly shit cameras. But i must admit the Lomography Cult/Community is most likely responsible for rediscovering my love for analogue photography. This is my guide to doing it properly yet still having a good time.
• Buy a premium camera either fully manual and mechanical or fully motorised with Auto options.
• Use Premium film it pays to use good quality film.
• Treat every shot like your last breath or air, don’t waste it.
• Meter and take time to compose your shots – only a complete idiot would criticise you for that.
• Research cameras and films thoroughly before buying.
• Knowing some photography jargon will help you keep your wits about you.
• Excel on one camera before investing in a range.
• Find your brands and stick to them.
A picture tells a thousand words, but it takes a decent photo to make people want to share 1000 words about it. Follow the points above and I certify you will perform better and learn quicker.
WARNING IN DEPTH LIFE STORY FIELD GUIDE TO FOLLOW EXIT HERE FOR SANITY TO REMAIN INTACT AND WITHIN CURRENT SETTLEMENT
As far back as i can remember i have always been fond of photography and the general functionality and process of composing an image using a camera. From the age of 6 i owned a 110 LeClic camera, which is potentially still knocking around my attic somewhere now. I used to take it everywhere to town, super markets, school and school trips and when ever i went to friends houses.
Living with a single mother with a low wage job and an older brother finance was always tight so being in possession of a film was definitely a luxury but as soon as i loaded the film i just wanted to complete it there and then, have them processed and stick the photographs to my wardrobe. Now not a lot has changed except the fact I’m now almost 20 years older and I’m earning my own source of income, film is now widely accessible for me as my outgoings are pretty low. But i still get that sudden urge to shoot the entire roll as my lacking ability to be patient for a roll of film is severely prominent. I’ve come to the situation where I’m bypassing my local labs and developing myself initially to cut cost but in the long run also time. Impatient why not convert to digital? No. Plain and simple. Analogue photography is an art and requires a lot more thought and care not to mention all your maths when it comes to exposures etc. I feel since the huge interest build up in Lomography and Analogue photography in recent years these processes you would have once taken to ensure your capturing the shot has been long lost and forgotten.
Here is my guide to doing Lomography professionally!
• STEP ONE – Picking the RIGHT camera.
My pet peeve in regards to Lomography is there price mark up on camera’s and plasticated replicas of cameras that weren’t good when they were originally released. For example the Lomostore sell a a 35mm Minox for £450/$682.29/522€ when i reality they aren’t worth a fraction of that price they have been marked up on value by around 1000% which i feel is both excessive and unacceptable. I understand they need to make a profit and rebrand/re-box and to an extent modify and refurbish items at a cost, but their demand is huge and the cost could be covered with a much lower mark up keeping both themselves and the consumer happy.
So my advice to you, seek premium analogue camera’s they don’t have to be rare collectables such as Leica and Hasselblad for example, they don’t have to be to be extremely vintage. Film camera’s were still produced up until early 2000’s to cover the entire market. And they don’t have to be second hand. Obviously auctions/markets/jumble sales etc are the hotspot for analogue camera’s these days, but more importantly it is where you are going to find the tool you need. Models such as the Canon AE1, Pentax K1000, Olympus OM10, Nikon FE, Praktica B20x and various others are widely available for very low prices and due to there wide availability when they were launched the chances of finding a cheap bundle with several lenses and accessories is quite common. You could in effect buy all these cameras for the price of 1 Lomography branded Lomo LC-A and the functionality
and systems that these cameras operate are still more sophisticated, more reliable and better quality then what the current Lomo LC-A provides.
pictured here Lomo LC-A results and Canon EOS-1N mkI result:
• STEP TWO – Picking a DECENT film.
Another issue i have with the lomography community is the push upon using expired film. Now im not one for saying it’s something you shouldn’t do as you can find much more range of film formats, speeds, grades, grains and stock looking at the expired market. My point is unless you want unpredictable results, potentially rotten film, grain issues scratches and want to destroy developing chemicals then go ahead. But the most eye-catching concept of lomography is huge contrast crazy colour shifts etc, if you’re reading this you more than likely own a lomography account and know what x-pro is so i’m not going to explain that. But these results are best produced with fresh film with little grain metered and processed correctly. Now if you followed my previous step you have gone out and bought yourself a secondhand Canon AE1 off eBay for a 20th of the price of the current Lomo LC-A. So given your budget that saves you way more money to buy film and pay for your processing. Even if you ended up with the 50mm Kit lens (which is most likely you can still pick up alternative lenses for a small price) you’re covered for portraits and general shots. You can then out do the LC-A Wide and buy yourself a wider lens like the Tokina 24mm f/2.8 still for the fraction of the prices of the lomo camera. Now the film, buying film because its cheap/expired isn’t gonna aid you in any way, like it or lump it its pays to spend a bit more for that value. Steer clear of 24 exp cheap rolls of Kodak, Agfa, Fuji etc they’re merely good for one thing and that is checking your camera works correctly. Bite the bullet and buy decent pro rated film. In C41 for decent contrast and bold tones seek films containing VC (Vivid Colour) and speeds averaging around 100ISO these films will provide the bold vivid contrast you’re after with the finest grain and more than likely crystal clear. When it comes to slide the same goes really unless your planning to cross process then there are so many other factors to incorporate. Cross processing leaves colours casts on Slide film and all films are different so a process of elimination would be require to find the results you’re after. But i suggest steering clear of Fuji Slide films for xpro regardless of what other people say they’re not good for it and they definitely were not designed to x-pro in the first place. The emulsion casts are too strong and cannot adapt to the process. Fuji Velvia 50 is possibly the only redeeming fuji slide that wont turn out looking awful. The ones you should be looking are Kodak’s E100g, EBX, EB, 64T and the more recently Rollei digibase CR200 and Agfa Vista’s Precisa 100. These films hold a perfect balanace of natural colours yet still have the tendency to occasionally have surreal effects. You may have wondered by now i haven’t moaned about, criticised or praised a Lomography film, simple fact is lomography do not produce their own film they merely buy out old stock from other suppliers and rebrand it. So I wouldn’t use a lomo film as a judgement contender as it has no unique purpose or individuality.
Examples here: first 2 shots premium film, second 2 shots lousy cheap film.
• STEP THREE – Treat every shot like it’s you last breath of air DON’T waste it.
Using you brain when it comes to photography is what establishes a photographer from someone who is just using a camera. Especially in this field of photography film is becoming vast its becoming more and more niche, fewer and fewer places are selling film and analogue equipment so burning it all buy doing silly things like film soups and running endless rolls of films through shit camera’s isn’t doing the market any justice. Analogue has a lot of advantages over digital to name a few; the image resolution that negatives can be scanned to are unbelievable sizes! Even the incredibly shit Diana F+ has the sensor equivalent of a modern day top of the range medium format DSLR at around 50megapixels. Even at Lomography prices you could buy 300 Diana F+ cameras and 300 rolls of film for the same price as 1 HD MF DSLR and still have the same clarity from your scan as that £40,000 cameras highest output. Another being multiple exposures i have yet to come across a digital camera that offers this function. Ive seen several cameras that’ll do overlays and blends but not a traditional multiple exposure. So given that you have the power to create a fantastic image but why would you go and waste that opportunity of catching a fantastic image to discover you have wasted an entire roll of film on pictures of padlocks and snails and whatever you had for breakfast lunch and dinner that day. Photographs are for capturing memories if you cant dedicate the time to really think about your shot before taking it the memory is clearly not worth keeping.
I could go on and on and this point, if you have made it this far my most highest praise of dedication is awarded to you for you’re efforts and effectively your bordem. Feel free to comment or argue any points here i know this site has a lot of mindset lomo enthusiasts on here that’ll argue its all about shooting everywhere everything not worrying about the end result. Sometimes the picture you didn’t mean to take ends up the best, that may be true but remember you can’t polish a turd. I won’t sugarcoat my opinions they’re set I’m far to involved and experienced in all aspects of film photography i have already grasped the pro’s and con’s from every angle! Have i seen light? maybe. Either that i just come to terms you need to justify things in life and not just blow them out into the wind.