Musings and parallels between creation and consumption of music and Lomography.
I first ran across the term “Lomography” less than six months ago, but I’ve been a Lomographer for years. Let me explain.
For me, it all comes down to magic… I believe the combination of analog media and process in the creation of art imparts a certain “magic” that is harder to come by in the digital world. It is not impossible, but it is telling that most post-production people I know (in music, broadcast video, photography, etc.) so frequently reference sounds and looks from works created with tape, film, etc.
As a musician, I have recorded in both worlds, and an analog signal chain and recording media results in sounds more pleasing to my ears. I feel the same way about film. When I shoot film, it tends to be special vs. just accurate.
Even more important is the process. The analog process is inherently based more on performance vs. endless takes and edits in post. You have to commit to your performance. Similarly, shooting film with the idea in mind of getting a shot “in camera” vs. a “fix it in post” mindset is something I embrace.
I believe as technology forges ahead, process will become even more important. If digital someday can technically yield sounds and images indistinguishable from those in the analog world, the actual results would still be different sans the analog process. I’d like to add that incorporating an analog process with digital technology is a terrific hybrid approach to try when recording music with a digital workstation or shooting with a digital camera.
So far I’ve touched on creating music and Lomography. What about consumption? How does the way we experience art figure in? Presentation is something that comes to mind. If you put on an LP, it is a different experience than an album presented digitally. You have two distinct sides/musical movements, and a pause in between to reflect on what you heard and anticipate what is to come. The digital experience is an endless onslaught of music that requires little interaction from the listener and easily fades to the background. It is much easier to never learn the names or lyrics of songs in this format.
What can we learn from this? We can try to make our works more palatable in presentation. For example, if you have a shot you don’t like enough to print for your personal collection, perhaps it is better to refrain from posting online? Or maybe we can create better narratives when we present our works, so it is not just shot after shot. Or not. The main thing is to communicate, and everyone has their own way. Consider this and listen to your heart/gut.
Finally, we can “go analogue – all the way.” Online communities should not be a replacement for real human interaction. Print your photos. Organize cool albums. Get to know people who like to take pictures, or like being in them. Find the shop(s) where other analog shooters congregate. Meet in cafes or bars. And if we should meet…Show me magic!