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One (and almost half of a) year of LomoLove

Greetings and salutations. Raab_ar-baar is my name. This note is my first one here- I'd like to write few words about me and my affair with Lomography.

So, where should I start? First of all, I’ll write how do I get in here and how I found Lomographic Society. It was an coincidence, to be honest- about a year and a half I found tiny analogue beauty- Kodak Instamatic 255X. I found it just lying on the floor and being an another nephew’s toy (my father let me know later that he bought it for 2 pounds in the flea market when he was in Scotland and, after finding out no film would fit without a cartridge, gave it to his grandson). Instamatic served well as a shelf decoration for about two months- I also couldn’t find the cartridge on Polish sites, plus I was kinda suspicious of foreign trading sites such as eBay and Amazon so I thought the camera needs to wait for better times. And that time was come, in first, warm days of May- vis-a-vis my block, on the other side of the road the old man was sitting by his stall- old electronic devices, some souvenirs such as tiny brass candlesticks, pictures of the soon-to-be-saint Pope John Paul II (tiny digression here, anticlericals can skip this part- I don’t know if such tiny traders have a patron, but I guess he could be the one- there’s no flea market without anyone trying to sell the pictures, paintings, little sculptures of him), books nobody wanted to read and so on. As a knick-knacks fan I just needed to go and check the stuff- just for curiosity. Between the decsribed mess I found a mysterious quasi-leather case with some old camera- the camera that later had to be the spark of my LomoLove.
Vilia Avto.
“How much?” I asked the old man.
“Fourty”(zlotys, about ten euro or thirteen dollars) he replied.
“Nuh-uh, that’s too much..are you maybe interested of swap? I’ve got the other fully-working analogue, we can swap, I just need to bring it from my home.”
“Fine, bring it then.” He seemed a bit surprised, maybe I was the first one asking for the camera.
So I literally jumped into the flat, brought the Kodak and ran across the crowded street to the stall.
“Quite nice…Kodak. Good brand! Give me twenty and that camera and we’re done.” he said.
“Twenty is too much. Ten.” I denied.
“Okay, okay. Deal.”
I brought the prey home and started a research- that days the words like “shutter” “focal” sounded exotic, and “lenses” were things I wore on my eyeballs, yet day after day, page after page I started to learn the photography one-oh-one: with buying the very first film- Fuji Superia 200 my lomographic affair was began.

In the beginning I didn’t know anything about Lomography- I thought there could be some groups of hipsters who use analogue cameras “because it’s indie”* or nostalgia- powered maniacs, yet I didn’t realize there are so many of them! And they are gathered in one page! The biggest surprise was yet to come, but back then I was impressed by amount of pictures uploaded to Polish Lomography Society page- also uploaded by me. By the way- it’s a bit sad that the page isn’t the lomography.com’s integral part and we don’t have a decent Lomography shop- only a few branches scattered in the biggest Polish cities- but maybe soon it will change. Who knows?

In October (or last days of September- I don’t know, actually) I needed something bigger. Something more inspiring. Something like…this page. So I made an account and here I am. What else can I say?
About the time of my birthday (in December, to be precise) I wanted to replace my beloved Vilia with the REAL camera (as my boss- a former photographer and graphics designer- said). And so I did- I swapped the Vilia with Zenit 12 XP.

In the beginning it was all fine- I was happy to see the sharpness changing in the viewfinder. But I didn’t realize my Zenit would be so humorous. Of course the body looked solid and “гнется-не ломется”*-like. It survived the freezing cold, it survived the New Year’s Eve party. Hell, it even survived the Apocalypse. But the film liked to tear as I was trying to scroll it.

“You need the decent, steel-clad SLR? Get a Pentax!” said boss when I described him the problem with my camera. Found one, bought one- and it was very good, especially the cooperation of Pentax and Helios- the lens from Zenit.

Few weeks later, torn by miss of Vilia (or other simple, analogue camera) I bought Smena Symbol. I cannot say it’s a bad camera- of course it isn’t! Yet I couldn’t feel these emotions accompanying me by taking pictures with Vilia. So I selled it two months later without a trace of sentiment.

Yet the wheels of fortune like to roll and history likes to repeat. Two days ago I bought a Zorki (I can’t wait to test it!) in the pawnshop. The salesman was intrigued that such young man could buy that stuff so he asked me: “Are you a camera collector?”
“Sort of, yes.” I replied.
“So tell me…how much this one could be worth?” he bends under the shelf and showed the familiar-looking cover with…Smena Symbol inside.
“I don’t know, but you won’t get much money for that, maybe fifteen, twenty zlotys?”
“Humm…you know what, I could give you that camera. If I even sell it, the percentage for me would be unworth all the effort so it’s better for me to give it.”
“As an extra for Zorki?” I asked surprised.
“As an extra, yes.”
“Allright, then, I can hug that little one.”
And then another Smena is in my hands, waiting for putting the film in.
Of course I listened to the boss and each SLR I bought so far (except Zenit) was Pentax/camera with Pentax bayonett. I know the Nikons/Canons/Minoltas bodies and lenses are better available, at least here in Poland. But…I just got used to the Pentaxes, yet I cannot deny that I’ll buy other brand’s SLR (or even DSLR) in the future. Who knows?
Talking about the boss- when he found out that I bought a Smena, he asked me “Do you want to be a photographer or a collector?” He propably wouldn’t be happy if he saw my shelf…what’s on it? The described:
- Zenit 12 XP (I should run it. Seriously. It’s not that bad camera, after all)
- Pentax Spotmatic SP500 (my first Pentax SLR)
- Zorki 2-C
- Smena Symbol
and also:
- Pentax ME Super (my summer fascination)
- Chinon CE-4S (also known as Revueflex AC-3, too good for lomography IMO*
- Beirette vsn (tiny German camera bought for 5 zlotys- film is waiting to be developed)
- Fujifilm ZoomDate 76S (an extra for Beirette, the same situation as above)
- (soon-to-be-delivered) VILIA!!!
Will there be more? Of course, but…I don’t know when, actually. Soon for real.
The future is analogue! At least mine is.

PS If I made some mistakes, forgive me- my English isn’t perfect.

  • actually, I became a hipster in some of my friends’ eyes, but…why should I care? I liked retro before it was cool. (strokes mustache and beard)
    *(pronounced: gnyotsya-nyelamyotsya, precisely: bend-don’t break [though I can be wrong]) term for something unbreakable, mostly from the former Soviet Union
    *although I can see here many pretty decent pictures shot with professional cameras, so like I wrote- why should I care?

written by raab_ar-baar

4 comments

  1. hervinsyah

    hervinsyah

    Great writing, you should submit this as anarticle at analogue lifestyle

    12 months ago · report as spam
  2. ksears119

    ksears119

    I really like your photos and story of your Lomography journey. Congratulations on your success.

    12 months ago · report as spam
  3. raab_ar-baar

    raab_ar-baar

    Thanks for the kind words! @hervinsyah- I'll consider your tip:)

    12 months ago · report as spam
  4. retro-girl

    retro-girl

    Great blog - nice to hear how you started out

    12 months ago · report as spam