Dozens of great lomographers have disappeared in the past year. Why?
Hello my friends,
I’ve been noticing for quite some time now that many people who once were regular contributors to the site have now disappeared. The question in my mind is why would that be? In my opinion, this is one of the best if not the premier site for analogue and toy camera photography. I love the diversity of this group, ranging from complete neophytes to die hard veterans, and this fertile mix makes for a wonderful creativity and a terrific energy. I love the fresh approaches and new ideas that I see here and even after several years of daily participation I still am inspired regularly by the amazing talent that the group attracts.
So why this big fall off in participation? Is it because there are so many other social media sites for photographers these days that many people have migrated to Facebook or Flickr? Are people burned out on social media in general? Was lomography just a fad that peaked a few years ago and is now in decline? Have all the hipsters decided that film photography is too slow and difficult and they are now just using their iphones and Instagram to get that retro film look and special effects?
While any of those explanations might be contributing factors I keep coming back to the other glaring factor that may be largely responsible. I noticed that after lomography started releasing products for digital camera users last year there was a big backlash and outcry. And when they added the question in the upload section about whether the image was digital or not I think that rankled many here. I don’t pay any attention to it btw and simply skip that question when filling in the fields but it is there and it’s the first thing you see so I think that may leave a bad taste in some people’s mouths.
After all, for years this site has been about analogue photography and celebrating lo-fi photos in particular. So this change of approach might be creating a conflict in people’s perception of what the site is about.
Personally I love the fact that people post analogue photos from all kinds of cameras, ranging from the cheapest plastic toys to the most expensive high quality equipment and all of it is embraced warmly. The fact that you don’t have to post images made only with lomography equipment is the most important feature of the site. This range and diversity is great for aspiring photographers of every kind because it educates the eye and someone who is alert and open to new experiences can learn so much by hanging out here and absorbing it all. One other benefit is that since people from every corner of the world post here, lomography acts as a giant armchair travel adventure and speaking just from my own experience I have greatly enjoyed getting a peek into the lives and lands of others. Lomography has truly broadened my horizons and I am very grateful for that.
I think LSI looks at the photography marketplace in a business like way and they realize that to stay competitive in the world as it is in 2014 they need to relate to the digital imaging community. So they have made a few lenses that can be used on digital equipment as well as analogue. And probably because they had the new high end lens making connections they figured they could add a few more products into the mix that would be strictly for digital cameras, ie the micro 4/3 crowd. As a business person and small scale manufacturer myself I can totally understand that and honestly if I were running the company I probably would have done the same exact thing. It is a smart business decision in what is a predominately digital image making marketplace. And that marketplace is undoubtedly enormous compared to the dwindling analogue marketplace.
So, if the big Lomography Exodus is mostly because a bunch of lomographers are pissed that LSI now allows digital images on the site I have to shake my head. Give these guys a break! I would point out that there have been almost no digital images uploaded to Lomography since they added that button. None that I have seen. Zero. Nada.
So what’s the problem? What is the big deal? What is the issue?
I think those that are angry about that should ignore the digital vs analogue argument. They should ignore the silly question on the uploader and realize that lomography remains the only true analogue lovers site that is not diluted with every other type of image such as you will find on Facebook or Flickr. Lomography has the most active and spirited interaction of any of the sites on the internet and there is much value to sticking together as a community.
For LSI’s part, I think they ought to take down the analogue vs digital question on the uploader and say that this is a 100% analogue site. Simply forget it and let people discern for themselves if images are film or have been taken digitally. It really has never been much of a problem in the past anyway.
So what say you my fellow film nuts? Shall we forgive and forget, let bygones be bygones? It’s a great site and it is what we make it. Together my friends, together. ;)