The next one who is going to tell me, "C’mon, Alec. It’s only a camera!" will have serious injuries. I’m obviously joking, but there’s something special about this camera, even if we look about the evolution of the project “+” during the recent decades; it's the so called “Lomography ERA”.
In the same way as the Lomo LC-A, the Lubitel 166 Universal production was dismissed by Lomo PLC. For a little while, the black market worked and thousands of Lubitel models were sold. But then there was the problem of supplies, which were decreasing rapidly.
The end of the Russian production made necessary to start producing a completely new Lubitel 166, so (after having the permission to use the Russian project of the Lubitel 166 Universal) the project was developed, adding brand new features (that we saw in the first articles of the series).
The other step was moving the production to China, in order to make the production affordable. In fact, the reason why Lomo PLC stopped the production was that it was no more competitive to produce that product in Russia and sell it for that price. After the cold war, Russia passed gradually from a closed market to an opened (or better, worldwide) market: LC-A and Lubitel Universal could no more compete with the new Chinese cameras that started to be sold in Russian territories.
The first Russian project was incredibly maintained in his basic philosophy, adding some creativity features that designers and engineers of Lomography wanted to include in the final product. Most of them (one example could be the 35mm capability) are meant to increase the artist’s possibilities.
This is how things happened.
This is the story of “Project +”.
Alessandro Panelli (aka yo.panic or .panic) is a Medicine and Surgery student, a photographer and a writer from Padova (Italy, near Venice). Read more about Alessandro’s work and life here or add him on Facebook or Google+.