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LC-A Big Book Chapter 59: The Tragic End of Photo and Cinema Production

The termination of the unproductive segments of photo and cinema production immediately showed its effects in more economic freedom and probably saved the company. The range and quantity of products were scaled down from a list of 700 to 150. In 1990, the last cinema projector - which was used in all 150,000 cinemas in Russia - ran off the conveyor belt.

Having more or less established itself as a shareholder company, LOMO PLC received two main recommendations from their American advisors: 1.Set-up a marketing and PR department (something totally unnecessary in Soviet times) to brand its name and communicate its products. 2.Choose strict segments of production which look promising under the market conditions. It was then decided that photo and cinema production should become a thing of the past. Photographers and camera-lovers, who grew up and loved LOMO PLC’s consumer goods such as the Fotokors, Lubitels, Smenas and LOMO LC-A’s, were shocked. The production of these goods was simply too expensive and the products were technically outdated. Many Russian people had no money and no need for the items and those who had money preferred to buy modern western technology instead of old Soviet engineering.

The termination of the unproductive segments of photo and cinema production immediately showed its effects in more economic freedom and probably saved the company. The range and quantity of products were scaled down from a list of 700 to 150. In 1990, the last cinema projector – which was used in all 150,000 cinemas in Russia – ran off the conveyor belt. The Smena 35 was manufactured as the last model of the long Smena series (this last model was nearly entirely made of plastic and had a hotshoe for connecting a flash) and all the other photo and film cameras also slowly had to face their demise. It was only the LOMO LC-A that managed to survive during these tough years. As you can see, all these developments and events during the early 90s strongly influenced the budding aspirations of the Lomographic Society. You should definitely have an in-depth read of the LOMO LC-A history section of this book for more information (see page 60).

In addition to the foundational shifts going on in the former Soviet society, life at the LOMO PLC factory also changed drastically. A detailed financial analysis showed that 11,000 was the reasonable number of employees to work effectively. Moreover it was made clear that the company was overburdened with a social infrastructure that was difficult to maintain under the market conditions. Practically this meant that the cheery times of daily LOMO PLC Club sessions were over and around 15,000 employees had to leave the company.

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written by ungrumpy

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Français, Deutsch & Spanish.