A brief synopsis: I hated cameras. Now I don't. It's a bit more detailed than that, though.
My first real experience with cameras was a little disposable I was given to document a family holiday to Disneyworld when I was about 8. I remember how good it felt running around with this little unsophisticated point-and-shoot and catching everyone unawares. But like most things in my childhood, I didn’t stick with it. I shot a few more rolls of my school friends, but didn’t have the money for film, and just gave up.
Fast forward another 10 years. A lot had changed. Digital had come in, and cameras were everywhere. My life was different too – I was skateboarding at a serious, competitive level, doing events both in my country and abroad. Now, the camera became a burden – an interference. The combination of the fact that every single kid carried a horrific, cheap digital cam and that I was expected to film video parts meant that I started to get frustrated. There was nothing more likely to kill my mood when I was skating – whether it was for leisure or for ‘work’ – than someone pulling out a camera. Most of the time, they wouldn’t even ask. But for some reason, it always felt invasive. It made me feel like a performing monkey. And even when I needed to be photographed for something, the results were cold, clinical, dull.
Fast forward again. I discovered Lomography last year, at the age of 22. My girlfriend, knowing my complete hatred of the camera, showed me this site. And while I was skeptical at first – it’s hard to break down that conditioned response – she convinced me to buy a Diana Mini, and I think she regrets it every single time I point it in her direction (she’s definitely one of my favourite subjects, but also the most unwilling).
Lomography hasn’t taken over my life, but it’s become a big part of it. I’m sure the big box of prints and negs, the desk full of cameras, the constant checking of ebay for new camera listings and the overflowing box of film won’t come as a surprise to anyone else here – but it comes as a surprise to me. Until last year, I had no photos of anyone. I had no physical memories of anywhere I’d been, anyone that I loved. Lomography, with its wild colours, experimental attitude and “take your camera everywhere” mentality has changed all that, and as a result, I’ll be forever thankful to everyone involved.