LC-A Big Book Chapter 31: The Final End of Lomo LC-A Production

After 2000, the LOMO LC-A continued to be produced but constant price increases were becoming the norm. Continued production was becoming more difficult day by day, and both the Lomographers and the LOMO LC-A found workers of LOMO PLC were becoming more and more disheartened. An early end to production was foreseeable and the future of the small camera was becoming more uncertain by the day.

Born in 1971 in Frankfurt, Germany, adventurous Stephanie Weber (now Tsomakaeva) undertook her first trip to the Soviet Union in her old Volkswagen Bug at the age of 18. Amazed by the exuberance of the Russian society in transition, she moved to St Petersburg in 1991. After a few months of university she founded her travel agency Ost-West Kontaktservice. As the main communicator and diplomat between the Lomographic Society and the LOMO PLC-works since the late 90s, it was only fitting for Steffi to become the official LomoAmbassador of St Petersburg in 2000. In fact, she runs the LomoEmbassy in her travel agency at the Nevsky Prospect Avenue. In 2000, adventurous Steffi moved to the Republic of Ingushetia, in the Caucasus region, which neighbours Chechnya. There she established the LomoEmbassy Ingushetia in 2002 and got to know her husband Suleyman with whom she now lives in St Petersburg.

Suleyman Tsomakaev ran a BMW and Mercedes car service centre in Chechnya and later in Ingushetia. He moved together with his wife Steffi to St Petersburg in 2004. He has run the LomoEmbassy Repair Shop since 2005, and he works there with three other employees mending old Soviet cameras. The Lomographic Society regularly sends masses of used LOMO LC-A’s to the workshop, in order for them to be repaired. Whenever a Lomo Kompakt is broken in this world, you can depend on Suleyman and his team to get it clicking away again!

After 2000, the LOMO LC-A continued to be produced but constant price increases were becoming the norm. Continued production was becoming more difficult day by day, and both the Lomographers and the LOMO LC-A found workers of LOMO PLC were becoming more and more disheartened. An early end to production was foreseeable and the future of the small camera was becoming more uncertain by the day.

The fact was that many workers, some involved right from the beginning in the production of the LOMO LC-A were retiring or dying. The essential know-how for production and assembling of the camera was dwindling away, and substantial investments would have been necessary to train new workers. Owing to all of this and the constant increase in production costs (work, energy, rooms, material, capital), which had always been a difficult issue, ever since the initial negotiations between the Lomographic Society and LOMO PLC, in spring 2005, the news came from St Petersburg that production would finally be discontinued. For some years even the most fervent supporters of Lomography at the LOMO PLC factory no longer believed that the financial shortfall in the production of the LOMO LCA could be dealt with by a larger market share or by using Lomography to boost the circulation of LOMO PLC. Despite the strong emotional connection of many LOMO PLC workers and officials to the camera and the continuous support given by Lomographers, the LOMO LC-A could no longer be kept alive. Since 1995 the LOMO LC-A had been the only camera still produced by the factory, mass production of “consumer goods” was over, the infrastructure was increasingly lacking for the hi-tech and specialized optical company. Nevertheless, the 15 year contract drawn up in 2000 was not broken by the ending of production. A special arrangement was made whereby upon agreement with the Lomographic Society, the price of the camera would be renegotiated on a yearly basis. In 2004/2005 even this price was no longer realistic.

So it was that in spring 2005, the last LOMO LC-A left the production premises of Chugunnaya Street. Several facilities now no longer used were converted to other uses and approximately 100 workers were moved to work on different productions. Shortly after, the eagle-eyed Olga Tsvetkova, who had worked as production manager on the camera for more than 25 years went into retirement.

In April 2005 the Lomographic Society publicly announced the end of production. Approximately one hundred LOMO LCA’s were still available on the market and would be sold out in a few days. However, to really get the best out of the LOMO LC-A, a small LOMO LC-A refurbishing workshop was opened in the LomoEmbassy in St Petersburg. Through the involvement of selected experts and former LOMO PLC workers secondhand LOMO LC-A’s were fondly revamped. Our friend Igor is still working in this workshop today, and was in the 1980s the last final assembler to be involved in the production of the LOMO LC-A.

The Lomographic Society delivered approximately 5,000 broken LOMO LC-A’s to the refurbishing workshop at the time of its opening, which for more than 10 years had accumulated at the main headquarters. These cameras were then “completely renovated” by the experts. In other words, all the functions were repaired and checked; the cameras got new casings and were then provided with a 2 year guarantee. These LOMO LCA’s were subsequently sold as “refurbished” models via the Lomographic Online Shop and became very popular. In addition to repairing functions on the old LOMO LC-A’s, the refurbishing workshop purchased individual camera components from LOMO PLC, produced some components itself and dispatched these to China. Even today they constantly repair cameras occasionally retrieving Soviet cameras from throughout the continent which they buy and repair.

Nevertheless, Russian production of the LOMO LC-A was finished once and for all. Sadness filled the hearts and souls of the Lomographers. How should it continue? Was it all finally over? Could more than 10 years of intense work and dedication just go down the drain?

39. Igor worked for LOMO PLC in the 1950s where he assembled Leningrad cameras and was later responsible for the final assembling of the LOMO LC-A. He is now repairing used LOMO LC-As in the refurbishing workshop of the St Petersburg LomoEmbassy.

Have the full glory of the book here

written by ungrumpy on 2012-11-20 in #library #lc-a #history #lomography #library #excerpt

More Interesting Articles

  • Experiencing the Rainforest Adventure Experience

    written by Jill Tan Radovan on 2014-05-17 in #world #locations
    Experiencing the Rainforest Adventure Experience

    When I was a kid, one of my greatest joys was to go to the park. I especially loved playgrounds. It didn't matter how may other children there were, as long as I could have my turn to go on the slide and and sit on the swing. These days, enjoying one's childhood has become so different. Technology has stolen the interest of children in more physically demanding yet fun activities.

    1
  • The Magic Yet To Come: Part 1

    written by Lomography on 2014-09-02 in #news
    The Magic Yet To Come: Part 1

    Here’s a random and rather mysterious tale for you folks. Just the other day, I was at a local bar with a few friends. It was much like any other evening; we were sipping a couple of cocktails, recounting our adventures, falling over ourselves with laughter and half-drunkenly meditating on the meaning of life (a scientist once told me it’s 42 by the way). But then something truly strange happened. Read on to hear my story and please make a comment with your guess at the end!

    31
  • Lomo Amigo Galleries: Asher Moss and the Lomo LC-A+ (NSFW)

    written by jillytanrad on 2014-06-02 in #people #lomoamigos
    Lomo Amigo Galleries: Asher Moss and the Lomo LC-A+ (NSFW)

    Last week, we saw how photographer and pseudo Internet celebrity Asher Moss can create feelings of nostalgia and understated sensuality with the help of the Diana F+. But Moss’ display of talent and vision doesn't end there; just in time for LC-A month, we proudly showcase more of Moss’ photos, taken with the Lomo LC-A+.

    3
  • Shop News

    Show Off your Pics with Style!

    Show Off your Pics with Style!

    Build vivid hanging LomoCurtains, robust free-standing LomoCastles, and dazzling mounted LomoMosaics! Just click them together with the Lomography Photoclips!

  • From Russia with Love: Motorama Shoots with the La Sardina Splendour

    written by zonderbar on 2014-08-04 in #people #lomoamigos
    From Russia with Love: Motorama Shoots with the La Sardina Splendour

    I don't know many bands from Russia but one that I've been admiring for years is Motorama from Rostov-on-Don. With catchy tunes and adorable videos, they took my heart by storm and that of fans from all over the world. Because of their Russian origin, Motorama is of course familiar with Lomo products. Reason enough to let them become our latest LomoAmigos! Enjoy the interview with singer Vlad and check out their B&W photos, taken with a La Sardina Splendour.

  • Lomo'Instant Accessory Challenge

    written by antoniocastello on 2015-02-04 in #world #competitions
    Lomo'Instant Accessory Challenge

    Do you love being creative? How about instant photography? If the answer is yes, no or maybe, then we've got a jam happening with your name written all over it! Being the most creative instant camera around, it's difficult to imagine the Lomo'Instant becoming any more awesome. But what would happen if you and your pals put on your thinking caps for a Lomo'Instant accessory brainstorming session of the ages — limitless creative potential! Show us your skills by joining the Lomo'Instant Accessory Challenge!

  • Goonies and his Weapon of Choice: Lomo LC-Wide

    written by icequeenubia on 2014-06-12 in #lifestyle
    Goonies and his Weapon of Choice: Lomo LC-Wide

    He cannot stand a day without using his Lomo LC-Wide and his ongoing yearlong self-portrait project is a testament of his strong devotion to this wide-eyed snapper. Read on to know more about Mario Grieco, or aka goonies in our Community, and his Weapon of Choice, the Lomo LC-Wide!

    6
  • Shop News

    Shoot sharply with Oktomat Bullseye

    Shoot sharply with Oktomat Bullseye

    Shoot sharply without hurting your budget. At 30% off you can now experiment with 8 sequential shots in one 35mm print! Tell stories in 2.5 seconds with 8 scenes in one shot!

  • The LC-A+ Goes to New York Fashion Week with Christopher Logan

    written by antoniocastello on 2014-09-19 in #people #lomoamigos
    The LC-A+ Goes to New York Fashion Week with Christopher Logan

    "When I picked up the Lomo LC-A for the first time. I was truly inspired," says Christopher Logan, who accepted the challenge to shoot NY Fashion week with the LC-A+ Camera. Read more of his experience after the jump and get to know why the LC-A+ is the perfect camera for fashion shows.

  • Lomography at the Photokina 2014

    written by zonderbar on 2014-09-25 in #news
    Lomography at the Photokina 2014

    As the week came to an end, we bid farewell to Photokina 2014. Lomography participated with patchwork photo flooring and an endless array of products that impressed spectators. Take a look at our one-of-a-kind booth and its last day of glory at the this year's trade show spectacle in Cologne, Germany.

  • The Belair X 6-12 City Slicker: a camera for surprises and serious shots

    written by wesco on 2014-05-03 in #reviews
    The Belair X 6-12 City Slicker: a camera for surprises and serious shots

    When the Belair X 6-12 was introduced last year, I was pretty excited. A medium format camera with 6x12 size negatives and automatic exposure for a reasonable price, that sounds promising. More of my photos, experiences and tips after the jump.

  • Shop News

    Diana Mini and Flash Petite Noire at 25% off

    Diana Mini and Flash Petite Noire at 25% off

    At 25% off you can take dreamy 35mm images with this little black beauty. Beam coloured light into your shots with its accompanying Diana Flash Back accessory and be the analogue king of the night.

  • The Magic Yet To Come: Part 4

    written by Lomography on 2014-09-05 in #news
    The Magic Yet To Come: Part 4

    Read on dear friend and I will weave a story for you. There may be more questions than answers raised by this peculiar tale. But if it’s clarity you seek, have no fear, things will become clear in time (they always do, don’t they?). So rub the Sandman’s dust from your sleepy eyes and take a journey with me. If you think you have an answer when we reach the end, please do share it in the comments!

    8
  • March Frenzy: Tottenham Takes Over the V&A

    written by vanfrancis on 2015-01-07 in #lifestyle
    March Frenzy: Tottenham Takes Over the V&A

    I went to the Victoria & Albert Museum's Friday Late, an event that takes place every last Friday evening of the month. For March 2014, the London borough of Tottenham was invited to curate an evening of creativity. There were a number of events that went on ranging from music and art to fashion and film. Accompanied by my LC-A+ and Fisheye No. 2, here are my highlights of that evening in photographs.

  • LomoAmigo Reuben Wu Shoots with the Lomo LC-A+ RL

    written by Jill Tan Radovan on 2014-10-18 in #people #lomoamigos
    LomoAmigo Reuben Wu Shoots with the Lomo LC-A+ RL

    Reuben Wu fascinates, both with his splendid photographs and the music he churns out for electronic band Ladytron, or when he's doing a solo gig as a DJ. He's also one heck of a nice guy, who, despite being ultra-talented, has been gracious enough to grant another interview and share more of his amazing photos,which were taken with the Lomo LC-A+ with Russian lens.

    3