LOMO what? LOMO who? LOMO WHY?

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Even though I’ve been interested in photographs and photography as long as I can remember, I didn’t start to consider it a hobby until a few year ago. It must have been around the time I was fed up with grainy pictures (what do you mean I just did it wrong!?!) and digital photography really started to become an affordable alternative. I caved and in 2008 bought my Sony DSLR system. Soon additional lenses followed and suddenly my pictures started to make sense to me. The negative side effect: I found another place to hide.

Last summer my friend “Bloemche” started to talk about Lomography, something I’d heard but couldn’t even remember in which context. Suddenly I was confronted with words like Diana Mini, F+ and Spinner and Film and Dia and cross-processing, all the while the only thing my brain supplied was GRAINY PICTURES OF THE PAST!!!

It was like a nightmare coming back to mock me.

Little did I know, that in only a few months time I’d be back using analogue photography.

Then “Bloemche” got her own very first Diana Mini and ones you got used to the fact that for no reason at all at any time you had to be prepared to get your picture taken ( I still see white spots six months later) I got curious. The pictures she took had amazing coloring and a certain vintage flair it usually took me endless tries to reproduce in photoshop. My interest was peaked.

In Fall we both happend to be in Berlin with friends and I joined her to take part in one of the Lomo Store Berlin Workshops. What better way to get to know the cameras? ( I can highly recommend them. Besides the fact that you can try out cameras and get tips and tricks … THEY ARE A BLAST! Lomo offers them in all the Stores around the Globe, so check it out.)

And thus my descent began. Spinner in hand I piled into a pink(!) Trabi and off we went.

Credits: chaotic4life

My try to leave a small fortune for two cameras at the store that day failed due to technical difficulties, but either way I was intrigued and ready to tackle the world of Lomography.

My Diana Mini en rose arrived in December 2010 and it was love at first sight. Still used to the use of digital photography and its excessive picture taking that ultimately follows when it costs nothing to take 10 pictures of one frame, the first film was full within a day.

Credits: chaotic4life

Let me tell you: Getting a feeling for analogue photography is not as easy as it sounds. At least for me. I feel extremely insecure not being able to push, lever and pull several buttons, in order to get a hopefully decent picture. I won’t even mention the fact that the exposed frame sits on a roll of film and cannot be looked at immediately! I might have had a few anxiety attacks.

Credits: chaotic4life

I learned quickly that the Diana Mini is a crowd pleaser. People are definitely more open to having their picture taken with a “toy camera”. While I am able to hide behind my digital camera and people leave me alone, walking around with a pink plastic camera that uses film does not extend this courtesy. People talk to me constantly in all situations. They ask about the camera, the fact that I use film; they ask for the reasoning, the company, the weather and anything in between. Considering that I am not the most open and talkative person on the planet, I have realized that analogue photography opens channels of communications I’d never expected.

And for the first time I like it. It is fun and exciting to explain to people what the camera does, why I decided to go back to the roots, give examples of possibilities.

An older man with an easter european decent stopped the other day while I was changing film and he exclaimed that he hadn’t seen anybody using film in a very long time. He started talking about his old Russian camera and how much he loved it when he was young. That it used 120 film and he asked me if it was still available, he would love to try it out again. Just in this few minutes of conversation there was so much common ground that I’ll never forget this man. I truly hope he found a roll of film. It seemed it would have been a heartbreaking trip down memory lane for him.

Since last winter, I added a Sprocket Rocket to my collection and it has quickly turned into my favorite camera so far.

Credits: chaotic4life

I am amazed at the endless possibilities Lomography provides and cannot wait to try out different films, cross processing or double exposures. Even though I am still getting acquainted with my cameras I catch myself more and more to choose analogue over digital in my spare time.

One day I hope to be as comfortable again with my analogue cameras as with my trusty Sony Alpha (which will probably be a long while) , but for now I enjoy the step off the grid and the slower pace Lomo brings in the hope to catch the perfect frame … and I have yet to encounter a grainy picture!

Credits: chaotic4life

written by chaotic4life on 2011-03-24