What You Don't Know Won't Hurt You


We've all heard the Lomography motto "Don't think, just shoot," but is that something you really do? Do you really let go completely of all your doubts and "not knowing" and just take the photograph? Well, here's a little reassurance for you that what you don't know won't hurt you, really.

After having been introduced to Lomography a couple years back, the hardest thing for me to let go of was not being able to see what exactly it was that I just took a photo of. Not knowing how my photo turned out was a struggle, especially when everything, it seemed, was about instantaneity. It was hard to believe that “accidents” could become beautiful shots, or not looking through the viewfinder could yield good results. If there’s anything that I’ve learned, you really don’t need to know, ‘cause otherwise, where’s the excitement in that?

To support my argument, I’m going to walk you through some of my favourite shots that I have taken in the most unknowing of conditions:

Candid photos of celebration are best, taken with the LC-Wide

This was taken in a dark bowling alley. I really don’t even remember snapping this shot, but I apparently did. Celebrations are always great to capture, but have you noticed that those typical posed shots just don’t encompass what the celebration is really about? Candid photos like these are great, especially when you, the photographer, is also celebrating in that moment.

This was quite funny, in a criminal way, taken with the La Sardina

This happened at a BBQ. I had quite a good laugh once I got my shots developed. It might not be noticeable at first, but if you look closely, it looks very much like a crime is about to be committed in the background. A simple action of moving chairs to the backyard turned out to be a pretty suggestive photograph!

My cat in her donut, twice, taken with the LC-Wide

Now, I’ve always wanted to do these cool shots that I see around the Lomography community a lot. I don’t know what the “correct” way of doing this is, but I literally took a shot, turned my camera upside down, and took the same shot. The donut that my cat was sleeping in just happened to create a perfect transition from right side up to other side up… If that makes sense.. Not that it matters… But you get what I mean!

My two favourite beings magically ended up in one photo, taken with the LC-Wide

This was definitely one of the biggest surprises I’ve gotten back from the photo lab. I can only guess that the film didn’t advance, just for that one frame, and ended up overlapping the next shot on the previous one. My favourite person and my favourite cat all in one photo. I was super happy with this one.

One of my all-time favourite accidents, taken with the Minolta XD-S

And lastly, this was actually part of a highschool project way back when. I remember very clearly that this was the last shot on the roll, and I was desperately looking for something to finish off the roll. My cat had climbed on the ledge of the sofa and stood right by the open slit of the curtains where a bit of light had been peering in. She was looking right at me. I went to take the photo, and when I did, she looked away. My thoughts were pretty much that it was a write-off and would end up being blurry. After developing this in our school darkroom, I was THOROUGHLY surprised. I’m sure you can appreciate it with me.

Do you have any photographs that surprised you after you got your film developed? Share them in the comments!

written by ashleyaang on 2013-02-06 in #lifestyle


  1. twinklecat
    twinklecat ·

    That final one of your kitty is spectacular!

  2. dollymixture
    dollymixture ·

    Wow, I love that kitty photography : ) Really nice article too, I love happy accidents.
    I think my most surprising shots were from a BBQ as well, my partner was playing with a hula hoop and I thought there was no way that the Holga 135 I was using would capture the motion, I just didn't think I would get it right. But surprisingly enough it came out perfectly and was my favourite shot from the whole roll.

  3. mrmostarr
    mrmostarr ·

    first you suck and you don't know it
    then you suck but you know it
    then you are good and you know it
    then you are good and you don't know it

    in other words, at first you must think about what you are doing, once you get good enough you can get more instinctive! i'm happy to say i suck, but at least i know it :) It something! right?

  4. ashleyaang
    ashleyaang ·

    Thanks all - And all very true words!

  5. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    great articel! And true, like @mrmostarr says, you can learn to let your instinct make the pictures, and be confident about it, because that means that you really accept to show what you have inside you.

    At the beginning, when I started analogue photography almost 20 years ago, a good friend who was a photographer explained me all about the technical settings of a camera... and then told me: "now, forget everything I said and shoot whatever you want and how you want".... I try to never forget this advice...
    Knowledge isn't essential for a good picture (even if it can help), but emotion IS the essence of a great shot. And emotion can't come out when you try to control it. Controlling is selecting what you want to show from yourself, but instinct/emotion is simply what you are, and accepting "to let it go" is one of the reason for the excitement of analogue photography

  6. hervinsyah
    hervinsyah ·

    Agree with Vicuna

  7. eusonfeliz
    eusonfeliz ·


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