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Tracing your Lomo Beginnings: Why am I shooting film again?

Discovering Lomography was like awakening my inner child – I’m hooked on Lomo. Read on to find out why.

I grew up shooting film. I am someone Brian Auer would call an Old School Film Revert; a pre-digital film shooter that shot film, then digital, and then film again. But I have to say, I do use my camera phone quite a fair bit too.

I’ve been shooting film since the mid-1980s but I finally switched to digital photography in 2004 after missing a ‘key’ shot during my honeymoon. And with the affordability of digital compact cameras, it was an economically logical decision to switch.

Fast forward 8 years. My wife and I wandered into a local toy camera shop and we saw the Blackbird Fly. It made my heart beat faster. So, I did some research and found out about Lomography. I discovered that I liked cross-processed photos, which was something that I’ve not done before. That was when the film photography bug bit me again. That was the beginning of my adulterous affair with Lomography (remember, I’m married but thankfully, this is an ‘approved’ relationship by my wife).

Photo by uncle_jay

Soon after, during a holiday to Hong Kong and Taiwan, my wife and I found and bought some toy cameras. We got some no-name under water cameras in Hong Kong, and I got myself a Vivitar UWS clone, the Rainbow V, in Taiwan.

Then during a short getaway to Langkawi, Malaysia, I shot my first roll of slide film in a very long time. Below is one of my first cross processed photos snapped with the Rainbow V. Amazingly it’s one of the more popular photos of mine.

Photo by uncle_jay

The photography gods must be smiling on me, because shortly after my trip from Langkawi, I found my old Canon EOS 500 left in my dry box and wanted to know if they still worked. They did.

Photo by uncle_jay

And before I knew it, I collected 10 analogue cameras, from SLRs to rangefinders to compact cameras to Lomography cameras (LC-A Russia Day, LC-Wide & Lubitel 166+) and some no brand plastic ones, over a period of 10 months. Things have not been the same since. I’ve become more observant to my surroundings, looking out for the ‘Kodak Moment’.

Now back to the question, why am I shooting film again? Here are my reasons:

1. I want to recreate the type and quality of photos I remember seeing when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s

Photo by uncle_jay

2. I want to give my photos character

Photo by uncle_jay

3. I want to be able to shoot black and white film again

Photo by uncle_jay

4. I want to experiment with cross processing slide films

Photo by uncle_jay

5. I want to make my own redscale films that I didn’t know was possible when I was shooting negative films

Photo by uncle_jay

6. I want to shoot with toy cameras

Photo by uncle_jay

7. I want to try the different brands of films (fresh or expired) that I’ve not seen before

Photo by uncle_jay

8. But most importantly, film photography brings out my inner child

Photo by uncle_jay

And when people ask why I’m still shooting film, I tell them, “It’s therapeutic. It’s like Tai-Chi, it forces you to slow down and be in the moment. It makes you appreciate things better. Are you taking time to stop and smell the roses?”

What about you? Why are you shooting film? And for those who grew up shooting film, why are you shooting film again?

Do tell.

written by uncle_jay

14 comments

  1. tunnybird

    tunnybird

    Lovely story, thanks and I can relate to much of what you describe. Especially about the inner child! I grew up in 70s New Zealand and we always had cheap film cameras lying around. I remember working hard for the entire summer holidays - picking raspberries. My arms were so scratched up by the end of the season, but I had my very own whiz bang camera to show for it! I can't recall what it was - I'm thinking a Kodak - maybe an Instamatic! I think it cost about $12 bucks - a lot of raspberries!! Loved it.

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  2. ricoinbrooklyn

    ricoinbrooklyn

    Great story and pics!

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  3. renenob

    renenob

    "Kodak Moment" -- Love it!

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  4. adam_g2000

    adam_g2000

    A very similar story to mine. Very similar reasons! Nice article.

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  5. vonkrueger

    vonkrueger

    what a great article!

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  6. uncle_jay

    uncle_jay

    @tunnybird: Thanks! And the Instamatic sure brings back lots of memories for me too! :)

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  7. uncle_jay

    uncle_jay

    @adam_g2000: Thank you! :) Glad that my story resonated with you. I see parallels in our stories. :)

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  8. uncle_jay

    uncle_jay

    @ricoinbrooklyn @vonkrueger: Thanks for reading my story! :)

    over 1 year ago · report as spam
  9. uncle_jay

    uncle_jay

    @renenob: Heh heh, the phrase rings a bell too? ;)

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  10. wuxiong

    wuxiong

    Very good article..<:) You are a real film photography lover...<:) I see some people shooting digital, and afterwards using a software to fake change their shots "lomo style" like black cornors..<:) These are quite different. My reasons are similar to yours too , and also some others...perhaps I should write too? Heihei, cheers..^..^

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  11. gelagoo

    gelagoo

    Great article @uncle_jay! It's nice to read stories from people who grew up with the medium and continue to use it. :)

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  12. uncle_jay

    uncle_jay

    @wuxiong: Thanks wuxiong. And please do write an article on why you are shooting film again. I am confident that it would be motivational. :)

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  13. uncle_jay

    uncle_jay

    @gelagoo: Hello! Glad to know that you found my story interesting. Hope it will spur more people to shoot film, or at least to give it a shot! :)

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  14. lokified

    lokified

    What a lovely story! I too am an Old School Film Revert, and similarly was woo'd back by a plastic camera (in my case a Diana Mini).

    I think part of my love of film is not just the oddball effects and character that each camera can bring to the film, or the different ways each film can be shot, but the mystery. I mean, I have a very good digital camera that I am good enough with. It takes perfect photos nearly all of the time. I always know what I'll get with my digital. With film, I might get a ruined shot, or I might get a wildly unpredictable amazing shot. I'll never know until I develop it. :)

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Nederlands & Français.