One Lomographer reminisces on her transition from digital to analogue photography and how it changed her view on the world. Join eurydice as she recounts her journey from the automatic world of digital, to the unpredictable tableau of analogue!
There was a time when I was just as obsessed with digital photography as the next person. I would waltz around with my Canon SLR, adjusting white balance, spending way too long deciding on an angle, making sure each picture fit the specifications of a “great photo” I had learned over the years. However, every day when I had finished and brought the memory card to my computer, there was a distinct disappointment in what I had created. Every picture seemed stale, like I had taken the same picture as a thousand other people.
As I’ve gotten more and more experience with putting my pictures in the hands of fate via analogue photography, I’ve developed more and more disdain for the digital photography with which I used to be so enamored. If a digital photographer captures even the barest semblance of what they want to see in their picture, it takes mere minutes for either their camera or their computer program to fix it into a “perfect photo.” Digital photographers take so much time lining their pictures up, autofocusing, autoleveling, autocontrast-and-coloring, and not only that, but they also will take dozens of the same photo over and over again, just in case there are any minor imperfections in some that couldn’t be tolerated. I’m so glad I was able to let of that control-freak mentality. Now my soul takes my pictures, not my brain.
In decades past, there was a majesty in capturing a moment, and it meant something to be able to trust your camera and your film enough to let them be the only witness to an instant that, perhaps, would never again come to pass. This is no longer the case; now that anything can be recreated and retouched to fit our every specification, there is nothing awe-inspiring in today’s photography. Every picture is cookie-cutter faultless, easy to look at and easy to enjoy, but worthless and devoid of emotion. My foray into analogue photography was an attempt to return to the days where it wasn’t guaranteed that a picture would come out well, and every one that did was a blessing from a higher power that called for rejoicing. It would be an enormous lie to say that every one of my photos has been beautiful, or even attractive in the slightest.
Some of them are boring, some of them are blurry, most of them are out of focus, and there are a few that I have no idea what they even are, but all of those are made up for by the multitude that enchant me and excite me and make me wonder whether I’ll ever pick up a digital camera again. Lomography has taught me never to take a moment for granted, because perhaps the picture won’t come out exactly as I wanted it to. It has taught me that pictures are waiting everywhere, and if you’re too focused on bringing out their best light all the time, you might not ever even notice them. Most of all, it has taught me that, while a boring, lifeless beauty can be found in monotonous perfection, a magnificence that teems with life, random impulse, and small miracles can be found anywhere, as long as you are willing to take a chance on it.