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The Importance Of Lomography

For a while now I have been wanting to write about the importance of Lomography, not just in terms of keeping analogue alive, but the importance of the community and the actual effect of Lomography on the individual. Until recently I did not really know how to begin but now I do.

Recently I have been diagnosed with a condition called Generalised Anxiety Disorder or GAD (I rather wish it was syndrome and then I would truly have GAS!) and this basically means that I cannot control my anxiety and am therefore pretty much scared of everything. I have had this all my life but have hidden it from everyone. Until recently I didn’t know that it was OK for me to feel like this and have spent years forcing myself to do things that really I am afraid to. Some examples would be, hiding behind a door if I saw the post man approach so he couldn’t see me, avoiding ever using the phone (thank god for texting and email!) and having to leave pubs with a “stomach ache” almost as soon as I have entered. The worst part is the visions that I have of Lukas being injured, falling off a cliff, out of an aeroplane, being run over, eaten, electrocuted and me being too frozen with fear to help.

My wife has had to put up with a lot: Me manufacturing arguments to avoid going for dinner with her friends or so I didn’t have to go to one of Lukas’ little friends birthday parties. If people I didn’t know were coming for dinner then I secretly wished that they would break down or have a better offer or be abducted by aliens rather than turn up.

A couple of years ago I went to New York to visit my sister. Getting there was an ordeal, I was on my own which is not good as I have to be responsible for everything, and then there is the small 8 hour flight, so 8 hours of high anxiety and adrenalin, plus being afraid of going to public toilets meant I held it in all the way! I don’t really like big cities, too many people not enough space, so New York was possibly not the best place to go, but it’s New York! Of course I had to go! We went to the Moma gallery where I bought a Fisheye 2.

My sister had to go and visit a friend, and of course I could not go with her due to my fear of strangers, so I walked around NY on my own – not the best plan but I also needed a cigarette to calm my nerves, and as my sister thinks I have quit it was best she did not see. It was at this time I got swept up in the Puerto Rican day parade. Suddenly I was in a crowd, a big crowd and it was moving. I could not escape. My heart nearly exploded, but then I realised I had a choice I could either panic or go with it. I chose to go with it and since then I have been ok with crowds. This made me want to tackle everything head on. But it’s impossible.

Lomography offered me a security. I can lose myself in the site looking some incredible pictures and colours. Making friends, talking about whatever, all from behind the shield of my laptop screen. It gives me a place where I can say what I want without fear and I am not afraid to put myself out there for you to judge.

Since being diagnosed, my world has crumbled a little bit, well a lot actually. All the defence mechanisms I had unknowingly been putting in place were taken away, locked in a box which was then burned and the ashes fed to the wind. It is a very confusing and rather scary time for me. But within this time I do have a little beacon that I hold on to, and it is the thought of getting my pics back from the lab or reading and writing locations and camera reviews, entering competitions where the winning isn’t as important as entering, thinking up new ways camera can be used. But mainly it is getting lost in truly amazing pictures that allows me not to think and not be anxious and helps keep my rather low chin up.

Now I live in Denmark which is extremely scary for me, lots of new things to get over. But worst of all the only camera I had was my Lomo LC-A which broke and then vanished, so my security was gone and my anxieties rocketed. Such was my desperation I forced my wife to go to a flea market where I found a Konica C35 (review coming soon!). This camera allowed me to shoot and invent and for a while, function.

So, thanks to LSI for doing what you do keeping this going and thanks to the community for being just generally awesome and none frightening.

written by mattcharnock

44 comments

  1. ethermoon

    ethermoon

    dude, for the GAD, it could last longer than six months... just studied those things recently

    almost 5 years ago · report as spam
  2. ethermoon

    ethermoon

    but good thing you're keeping it up... a lot of thanks to Lomography :-) nice photo by the way!

    almost 5 years ago · report as spam
  3. spendospend

    spendospend

    a really powerful read with great narrative style, great shots and an awesome insight :) thanks for sharing dude..

    almost 5 years ago · report as spam
  4. stouf

    stouf

    Damn I really couldn't imagine that from your behaviour on the site (a fearless Ivanhoe), for a moment I even thought you were kidding... Well my friend, thanks a lot for sharing this with us, and it proves you're on the good way to healing as you can write (so beautifully) about it. I'm really moved by this post man... Your genius shots, ideas (I'll never forget the Diana TLR, or just the LCA race!!!), and the intense love you have for your kid and wife are your sword, horse and armour. So I can tell you you're gonna beat the shit out of this thing... I admire you man.

    almost 5 years ago · report as spam
  5. rater

    rater

    This is an extremely personal post, thanks for sharing your experiences and how photography has helped you to cope with it. So brave of you, bravo!

    almost 5 years ago · report as spam
  6. dirklancer

    dirklancer

    My wife makes fun of me a little bit when I talk about "my friend Matt". I spend a lot of time working and playing online, but when I talk to her about it I usually say "I read this today" or "I saw such-and-such on-line", yet when it's something Matt wrote, I say "my friend Matt says..." which is how I speak of friends whom I have actually physically seen. I frequently feel like it would be totally natural if I could walk over to Matt's place for a beer after work...If only the western prairies of Canada weren't so far from the quiet countryside of Denmark.
    Great article Matt, thanks for sharing with all of us. I hope we can meet for real someday.
    (minidirklancer would really like to hang out with Lukas too.)

    almost 5 years ago · report as spam
  7. inspector_pepper

    inspector_pepper

    Thanks for sharing, man :] I too have an anxiety disorder... not nearly as severe as GAD, but I understand what you've been going through and I completely agree: for me, photography in general is my escape, and it keeps me calm. :]
    almost 5 years ago · report as spam
  8. -a-l-b-e-r-t-o-

    -a-l-b-e-r-t-o-

    at the beginning of this article when i was reading about GAD i was thinking what a cool article Matt has written, what creative new inspiration :))...the article is really great and it's the first inner and intimate lomolocation...I'm happy that you share this with us...speaking about this maybe it's one of the ways to struggle these fears...a big hug

    almost 5 years ago · report as spam
  9. coca

    coca

    Thanks for sharing your experience Matt, it’s truly inspirational the way you face your GAD

    almost 5 years ago · report as spam
  10. vicuna

    vicuna

    Great writing again from Matt, and like many other I think i could say: we understand you, Matt, because Lomography saved our lives (in many different ways of course) and the way we see the world now isn't the same as before... thanks Matt and long life to LOMOGRAPHY!!! :)))

    almost 5 years ago · report as spam
  11. halfawakehaiku

    halfawakehaiku

    wow. thanks for putting yourself out there matt.
    you're a brilliant photographer and a great human being.

    almost 5 years ago · report as spam
  12. quaisoir

    quaisoir

    BIG HUGS FOR MATT!! :) thanks 4 sharing dude..

    almost 5 years ago · report as spam
  13. azurblue

    azurblue

    OMG ! At first glance, I though : another paper wrote for the glory of lomography, a marketing thing...But no ! Wow ! You really impressed me to dare writing and sharing this. You describe very well your symptoms but despite the fact that they are pretty severe, you manage to go on, to go out to see the world. That's why I think that you are a strong guy and that you have the power of solving this Gad. I guess I undestand how much you suffer, because I feel it to, on a minor way than yours.
    All I see is your strenght, and that you are a beautiful personn, surrounded with love. That's a great help. I don't know if you take a cure for it, but some pills work on it, it can help. A big hug for you.

    almost 5 years ago · report as spam
  14. renaishashin

    renaishashin

    wow what a great review! Thanks for sharing ur personal life!

    almost 5 years ago · report as spam
  15. bear1973

    bear1973

    Matt it seems to me that you have more courage than you give yourself credit for. Moving to a strange country and sharing your battle with GAD is very brave and it is something that most people would never do. Keep at it dude, before you know it you will put this behind you and don't forget that you have all our support.

    almost 5 years ago · report as spam
  16. kazarareta

    kazarareta

    @matt: while we were formatting this, we were deeply touched :) so sorry that this came out very, very late. I believe that this was written during Lucas' era, we just recently dug it out of our archive!

    almost 5 years ago · report as spam
  17. kylethefrench

    kylethefrench

    this is sweet---good for you friend

    almost 5 years ago · report as spam
  18. disdis

    disdis

    I've read this article several times, trying to understand GAD. I suppose I cannot imagine how hard it is but I feel lucky to read it from such a great lomographer. Thank you for sharing this Matt!

    almost 5 years ago · report as spam
  19. sonjabean

    sonjabean

    This is easily the most powerful article I've ever read here on the lomography site. I admire you for putting yourself out there like this. I hope you see that the upside of it is that so many people have responded to say how much this article means to them and how much they care for you. That's the upside of sharing yourself in any circumstance (even face-to-face!). It allows people to know you and care about you. :)

    almost 5 years ago · report as spam
  20. mattcharnock

    mattcharnock

    Thanks everyone for your comments and support - it helps more than you can imagine - and dirklancer - one day my friend one day!

    almost 5 years ago · report as spam
  21. adrienne-is

    adrienne-is

    Wow! Thank you for sharing. That was very personal and moving. Best of luck with conquering your anxieties and keep on shooting.

    A

    almost 5 years ago · report as spam
  22. day3hugger

    day3hugger

    great article,it takes great courage to share stuff like this, and u are right, we don't judge here :)

    almost 5 years ago · report as spam
  23. anarchy

    anarchy

    <3

    almost 5 years ago · report as spam
  24. aim2run

    aim2run

    this is a really great story and is a lot of what lomography is all about. it's great to share and to explore. images are powerful expressions of all sorts of emotions. your writing is fantastic! i'm so glad i recently discovered lomohomes! keep warm in denmark! :-)

    almost 5 years ago · report as spam
  25. mephisto19

    mephisto19

    oh matt, that is so moving to read it and to see those beautiful images. lucky you, you found lomography and good you have such a great wife and son

    almost 5 years ago · report as spam
  26. bravopires

    bravopires

    have no words but you are a great lomographer and also writter. all the good to you!

    almost 5 years ago · report as spam
  27. violet_rayy

    violet_rayy

    I feel like I've just overheard a really personal experience. Thanks for sharing Matt, puts everything into perspective. Vi x

    almost 5 years ago · report as spam
  28. erikamentari

    erikamentari

    very moving. thanks for sharing. keep on shooting. don't stop! it's the best feeling in the world! and thank you lomography, for making this world tolerable!

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  29. sierravictor

    sierravictor

    It is great to see that matt charnock has found such a positive way to face his problem. Photography is a fantastic hobby isn't it?

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  30. floriansimon

    floriansimon

    really touching story. looks like you've already found the best occupation of the world :D
    don't ever stop taking photos.

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  31. elletra

    elletra

    this was a truly heartfelt story, you've got the entire lomographic community rooting for you :D

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  32. superlighter

    superlighter

    wow, something very personal to read that may annoy someone, not me. sometimes it is good to remember that behind every lomographer is a human being with its certainties and even fears. We are not just a bunch of fanatics.Thank you Matt for putting your entire self in this article. Lomography as a cure, perhaps it is the same for me. who knows. thanx god I'm a lomographer!

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  33. tallgrrlrocks

    tallgrrlrocks

    Thank you for sharing such a personal matter. So touching and heartfelt! Lomo really does change people's lives :)

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  34. scede

    scede

    best article i've ever read on lomography! thank you for sharing this with us.
    all the best from switzerland:)

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  35. dirklancer

    dirklancer

    nice to see this posted up front again - love you Matt!

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  36. warning

    warning

    Thank you so much Matt. Many kisses from Spain!.

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  37. dimitrul

    dimitrul

    It takes a lot of courage to share all this. Thank you! Your relationship with Lomography is an inspiration to all of us. You have a beautiful family and a great lomo society here for support. I am very touched of your story.
    Oh! And I also have a Konica C35! It's a great camera! Looking forward for your camera review! All the best from Greece :D

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  38. victork

    victork

    Really great story.. I live in Denmark too. If you miss your LC-A and Fisheye, I know this great shop where you can get all those Lomo things :D.. Or maybe you found it already

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  39. vas_vas

    vas_vas

    keep it up!

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  40. middernachtlopper

    middernachtlopper

    Very emotive!

    Keep making photos for yourself and for the rest of the world.

    What you make is truly beautiful.

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  41. imashoe

    imashoe

    I've been there too, well kind of. And I totally agree with you. I started feeling better and mostly I started to forget all my fears about everything and everyone when I bought my first lomo camera (a Diana F). Lomography is better than any kind of these weird pills doctors used to give me to help me calm down and it's a 100% healthier :) Your article and your shots are great it's very touching , keep going :)

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  42. makny

    makny

    Thanks for sharing your experiences... It's a very emotive article, love it!!!

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  43. ipdegirl

    ipdegirl

    Amazing and very personal article. Wonderful of you to share! I feel your pain as I have anxiety problems as well. Whenever we visit family in NYC it's like the panic attack that never ends. Too many people, too close together. Ugh! It's great that camera and film give you a release from all that madness. Bravo!

    over 4 years ago · report as spam
  44. emilios

    emilios

    Rock on dude!!!! Great article!!

    over 4 years ago · report as spam

Read this article in another language

This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Spanish, 中文(繁體版) & Deutsch.