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LC-A Big Book Chapter 18: The Fax to St. Petersburg

Meanwhile, in St Petersburg. Some of the rare sun rays penetrated the somewhat neglected double window on the second floor of the LOMO PLC offices and caused the manager of the newly established Public Relations Department, Lazar Semyonovich Zalmanov, to squint. “What on earth did the comrade from the marketing department send me here for?” he asked himself while he re-read the fax he had recently received. “Public Relations boss Zalmanov, this may be of interest to you” wrote the Deputy Head of the marketing department.

LAZAR ZALMANOV: THE LOMO PLC KEY CONTACT

Lazar is a true Lomo Kid! Like most of his family, he worked for LOMO PLC and grew up pushing screws and bolts around the LOMO PLC Kindergarten. He joined LOMO PLC as an engineer after finishing his degree in cinema engineering, but was always more interested in organising, culture and public relations. Being a lover of the arts, Lazar was the head of the LOMO PLC Youth Club that invited poets and composers to recite and play. In the 70s and 80s Herr Zalmanov mainly worked in the design bureau of LOMO PLC where he had an organisational job working on top-secret military products. When in the early 90s the head of the laboratory died from a heart attack Lazar took over his job but soon found his true vocation as the head of the newly founded PR department.

It was he who welcomed the young Austrians for the first time in October 1994. As an artistic person, member of the St Petersburg Amateur Poet Club and a passionate stamp collector, Lazar understood the idea of Lomography from the start and convinced LOMO PLC’s Director General of its potential. This strong supporter and old friend of the Lomographic Society bought his first LOMO LCA in a supermarket near Moscow and actively took part in photo contests. The PR specialist is married to his second wife, has three daughters and three grandchildren and now works as the assistant of LOMO PLC’s Director General.

LOMO PLC technical director, Herr Nikolay Mikhailovich Shustov giving a spontaneous speech at the first international Lomography exhibition in the Moscow Fotocentre.

Meanwhile, in St Petersburg. Some of the rare sun rays penetrated the somewhat neglected double window on the second floor of the LOMO PLC offices and caused the manager of the newly established Public Relations Department, Lazar Semyonovich Zalmanov, to squint. “What on earth did the comrade from the marketing department send me here for?” he asked himself while he re-read the fax he had recently received. “Public Relations boss Zalmanov, this may be of interest to you” wrote the Deputy Head of the marketing department.

“For some months now I have been in possession of a fax written in English sent to me by a young Austrian, but I thought it was a joke from a former co-worker and it didn’t half make me laugh. The fax arrived on the 1st of April 1994. But this time it is in Russian and has been sent directly from the Fotocentre in Moscow. These Lomographers are serious.”

Lazar, who had learnt his trade back then in the LOMO PLC owned Kindergarten and had worked at LOMO PLC for more than 20 years, was on the exhibition invitation list of these interested Lomographers. “These LOMO LC-A enthusiasts are from two Austrian and two German cities and from what is written here, they seem to be a funny people. They are investigating the old LOMO LC-A thing, which I would never have thought possible. This movement could bring us some publicity” thought the shrewd PR man and attempted to send a proposal to obtain funding for a trip to Moscow to attend the Lomographic exhibition. However, as this was unsuccessful (back then LOMO PLC really had to fight for every penny and simply couldn’t afford to help), Lazar called his colleague Nikolay Mikhailovich Shustov who was delayed in Moscow. He asked the two metre tall, heavy set technical director of LOMO PLC to visit the Fotocentre in Moscow and thoroughly investigate these “Lomographers”.

The 31st September 1994. During the happy opening ceremony of the large lomographic exhibition in the Moscow Fotocentre, the enormous LOMO PLC minister N.M. Shustov suddenly burst into the crowd and was warmly welcomed by the senior Lomographers in their colourful shirts and trousers, who made him the centre of attention. A spontaneous address followed and an invitation to St Petersburg was authorised. A happy coincidence for the Lomographers, who had been waiting in vain for a reply to their fax (and had no idea that their first fax sent on the 1st April had been regarded as a joke in St Petersburg). An unfortunate coincidence, however, for the good Shustov, who as a more cautious director, had not expected such a commotion and found all this attention quite unpleasant. The good man was nevertheless comforted by a few glasses of Vodka and shortly after was in much better spirits. A few days later Lazar received a telling-off by Shustov about the crazy Lomographers, but then he added: “This Lomography is quite interesting and may offer a promising outcome for the future.”

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written by ungrumpy

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