Jerry Garcia once Said "As I look back on it all now, I realize what a long strange trip it's been." Well, my road to Lomography has also been one of those "Happy Accidents" filled long strange trips.
I guess you could say that I’ve been into Lomography since before there was such a thing. Back when I was about 7 or 8 years old, my parents started giving me “toy cameras” for gifts on my birthday or Christmas time. I remember a few different 110 cameras that used the flash bars in place of regular flash unit and even a little key chain that was a 110 “spy camera.” These 110 toy camera gifts than became inexpensive 35mm “toy cameras” when I was old enough to properly handle and load the 35mm film.
I remember one such camera, it was a yellow plastic thing that looked a lot like my Dad’s Argus SLR (the camera they bought when Mom was pregnant with me and they took all my baby pictures with) only, the focus was fixed and I couldn’t add filters or change the lens (or so we thought back than). This camera stayed with me until I could no longer repair it with super glue, hot glue or duct tape ;-( . About the time I was shooting with this camera, Dad and I became involved in Boy Scouts and one summer camp when I was about 13 or 14, Dad took the time to show me how to properly focus and shoot with his Argus and I was instantly in love with photography.
Over the years, I had lost interest in photography, gained interest in photography and gone digital with an HP Photosmart M425. But, something kept drawing me back not only to analog photography but, photography as an artistic medium. Last year I decided I wanted to try shooting in medium format and figured that a good starting point would be a Holga 120N that I picked up on Amazon for something like $30. I also got a roll of film, some filters and the shutter release accessory. The delivery off all this awesomeness was just in time for me to take the camera with me to NYC for a weekend.
I shot up the whole roll and only had three shots turn out any good and seeing as there wasn’t a good source of 120 film at least semi local at the time, I put the Holga back in it’s box and set it on a shelf.
Flash forward to just last month, I decided to look into pin hole photography and happened across the lomography website and the lomoshop. Much to my surprise I found the Russian dead stock page and re-discovered the Smena 8M. About ten years back, I had picked up one of these babies from American Science and Surplus for about twenty bucks (having been into most things Russian for a while, I just had to have it). Sadly, I had lost interest in photography and than gone digital and the poor little Smena found it’s self forgotten in a box in my room. That is until I saw them in the lomoshop. I dug around in my boxes of stuff, found the Smena, signed up for my LomoHome, got some film and started shooting away.
Now, I have discovered a semi local source for 120 film and processing and am planning and shooting more with my Holga. I also plan on getting a Diana Mini, a Holga pinhole camera, a Holga TLR camera and a bunch more accessories for my Holga 120N. This time, I doubt I’ll be losing interest in photography, at least for a while.
So, you see, just like Jerry Garcia, when I look back on the road that brought me to lomography, I see what a long strange “happy accident” laden trip it’s been.