Shooting film again in the digital age again. But why?


Once upon a time, not too long ago, I began using film again. Sometime in ’04 I bought my first DSLR, retired my Olympus OM2000 and for years never looked back. The future seemed digital, and only digital. And I was happy. Once I got the hang of my new camera (Olympus E400) I made hundreds, nay thousands of pictures, and I was happy. But there was something nagging. The images too clean, too sterile, too perfect, or rather, that’s how they seem now.

Then in ’10, on a hunch or a gut feeling, I bought the full Diana F+ set. Right after breathing air, it was the best decisions of my life! But at first, when I saw the results of the first roll of film, I was underwhelmed: the pictures were too dark, unfocused, weird and difficult to explain. Though they grew on me and they seemed to tell a story. The story they told didn’t necessarily make sense, not to me or anybody else most of the time anyway but that didn’t matter. Some things came into my photography that had been missing all those years: weirdness, fun and one-picture storylines.

I learnt to love that special brand of analogue photography that is Lomography

I love Lomography. I love what Lomography has changed to the way I approach photography: the way I look at photos, the way I take photos. Lomography spilled into my digital photos… The three things I love most about Lomography, opposite to digital photography:

1 – there’s only a limited number of photos you can make.

Once your roll of film is through, you either load a new one or you’re done. Even if your memory card is full, you can look back through the photos you already made and erase those that don’t quite work to make room. You can’t do that with a roll of film. And Lomography learnt me to love even those photos that might otherwise been discarded. Even if they’re not good enough to be shared, they’re good teachers.

2 – atmosphere and guts

There’s something about Lomography photos that’s just… everything seems to be bigger: colors, contrast, fun, darkness. Everything has a big atmosphere, even mundane things look special. And that’s just something I love. You can make things as bright and happy as you want them, or as dark and gritty (not necessarily unhappy) as you want them.

Off course you can fake the distinct Lomography atmosphere in your digital photos, it’s quick and there’s no risk of finding out after you develop the film you did something wrong and the final image isn’t quite what you hoped for. But: no guts no glory! A great picture made in camera will always have better karma than one made from behind a desk.

3 – it’s a fun society

And maybe this one is the most important. It’s fun. Nobody sane would start analogue photography in this time and age, and I’m sure you’ll agree with me: the weird ones are the most fun to be around! So far I have yet to meet a lomographer I didn’t like. Maybe I’ve been lucky. And the society is very supportive, if you’ve got a question, need advice: they’re there.

And now I own a plethora of analogue cameras: several Trip 35s, several Diana F+’s, a Sprocket Rocket, a Diana Mini and several Lubitels. But it is never enough… but I’ve never been more productive and happy with my photos.

written by leolensen on 2013-02-03


  1. asharnanae
    asharnanae ·

    Definitely agree that this is a fun and supportive place to be, and wonderful to see so many truly creative, artistic and even commercial things being done with film, alongside those who are just having fun, exploring and experimenting, or taking pictures of their family and friends. It makes for a diverse melting pot of people and ideas.

    My biggest draw to film is what I call the process of it, there is more to make and do, more to wait for and anticipate. And yes, their is always an element of the unknown, even with a well tested rig and setup, that you can know what your aiming for, and can predict to some extent, depending on the sophistication of the setup. I liken lomography to ceramics, in which there is a wonderful saying "The kiln, has the last word", So maybe here at lomo we should say "The Film, has the last word." :D

  2. leolensen
    leolensen ·

    The film has the last word indeed :)