Read about the thoughts of a thirty-something engineer based in Tokyo on the correlation of age, Lomography, and the realization of doing something you love other than a 12 hours a day job.
Am I too old for Lomography?
I often ask this question myself, given all the ages written on the “About” page of most photography Tumblr sites I have seen so far.
Coming from a third world country, we were mainly taught that a life cycle goes like this; school-university – work– help your family – work some more- get married – work harder. There was no time to discover things that you love to do or to nurture a hobby that will require you to spend an extra effort or an extra penny. Mainly, the reason why I became an engineer is because there is no money in arts, unless you made it on national television pop star search. Then one day, you wake up. You are on your 30’s or 40’s, you completely forgot those days when you were good at something other than work—like dancing, singing, painting, writing or whatever it is—and now your whole being was consumed by economy.
Consider me as a late bloomer, as I only discovered this fascinating world of Lomography after 9 years of working overseas and spending 12 hours a day in the office, in a business suit, trying to be a highly competitive salary man and tirelessly perfecting my PowerPoint presentation. I remember last year, the first time I walked inside the Lomography Gallery Store in Shibuya,Tokyo. I was bit nervous as I didn’t know what to buy, but the White Diana Mini on display makes the choice pretty straightforward. I even shyly asked the staff to teach me how to load the film. Despite the slight issue with language barrier, she was so helpful and trying her best on showing me how its done.
From that point, I never looked back. From the first release of the shutter, to my first 36 shots, few wasted rolls here and there, some unintentional multiple exposures and growing members of my films and camera collections, the world has never been the same again. I started to look at things differently, I see things inside the viewfinder and often imagine how good this scene will be if I shoot with this film and camera combination. There’s nothing quite the feeling of hearing the sound of the shutter release, the anticipation of getting your processed rolls from the lab, the unimaginable fulfillment and sometimes disappointment on seeing the result . There was apart of me that was completely awaken, an answer to the hunger for diversion that I was so longing for and above all, a realization that my world should not be contained inside my work cubicle.
So, am I too old for Lomography?
I would like to believe that the art of film photography in general has no age limit. It is one of those things in the world that is open for everyone and anyone who is willing to embrace it.
If you are on your teens when you first have your film camera, then you are one lucky pal, it means you have a lifetime of lomography journey ahead of you. Learn to treasure it, enjoy it, and be humble about it. If you are like me, a late bloomer, don’t worry as there is no hour glass that dictates if one’s film journey is up. Maybe with the given age comes the wisdom that could be magically transform into every frame we produce. Break the cycle- share it with your kids, siblings, cousins. It may not be the hobby that they will love but at least you ignite a spark on them—to live life apart from being another working statistics.
Sharing with you some results of my 35mm lomo venture.
Check out more photos at my blog.