For a while now I have been wanting to write about the importance of Lomography, not just in terms of keeping analogue alive, but the importance of the community and the actual effect of Lomography on the individual. Until recently I did not really know how to begin but now I do.
Recently I have been diagnosed with a condition called Generalised Anxiety Disorder or GAD (I rather wish it was syndrome and then I would truly have GAS!) and this basically means that I cannot control my anxiety and am therefore pretty much scared of everything. I have had this all my life but have hidden it from everyone. Until recently I didn’t know that it was OK for me to feel like this and have spent years forcing myself to do things that really I am afraid to. Some examples would be, hiding behind a door if I saw the post man approach so he couldn’t see me, avoiding ever using the phone (thank god for texting and email!) and having to leave pubs with a “stomach ache” almost as soon as I have entered. The worst part is the visions that I have of Lukas being injured, falling off a cliff, out of an aeroplane, being run over, eaten, electrocuted and me being too frozen with fear to help.
My wife has had to put up with a lot: Me manufacturing arguments to avoid going for dinner with her friends or so I didn’t have to go to one of Lukas’ little friends birthday parties. If people I didn’t know were coming for dinner then I secretly wished that they would break down or have a better offer or be abducted by aliens rather than turn up.
A couple of years ago I went to New York to visit my sister. Getting there was an ordeal, I was on my own which is not good as I have to be responsible for everything, and then there is the small 8 hour flight, so 8 hours of high anxiety and adrenalin, plus being afraid of going to public toilets meant I held it in all the way! I don’t really like big cities, too many people not enough space, so New York was possibly not the best place to go, but it’s New York! Of course I had to go! We went to the Moma gallery where I bought a Fisheye 2.
My sister had to go and visit a friend, and of course I could not go with her due to my fear of strangers, so I walked around NY on my own – not the best plan but I also needed a cigarette to calm my nerves, and as my sister thinks I have quit it was best she did not see. It was at this time I got swept up in the Puerto Rican day parade. Suddenly I was in a crowd, a big crowd and it was moving. I could not escape. My heart nearly exploded, but then I realised I had a choice I could either panic or go with it. I chose to go with it and since then I have been ok with crowds. This made me want to tackle everything head on. But it’s impossible.
Lomography offered me a security. I can lose myself in the site looking some incredible pictures and colours. Making friends, talking about whatever, all from behind the shield of my laptop screen. It gives me a place where I can say what I want without fear and I am not afraid to put myself out there for you to judge.
Since being diagnosed, my world has crumbled a little bit, well a lot actually. All the defence mechanisms I had unknowingly been putting in place were taken away, locked in a box which was then burned and the ashes fed to the wind. It is a very confusing and rather scary time for me. But within this time I do have a little beacon that I hold on to, and it is the thought of getting my pics back from the lab or reading and writing locations and camera reviews, entering competitions where the winning isn’t as important as entering, thinking up new ways camera can be used. But mainly it is getting lost in truly amazing pictures that allows me not to think and not be anxious and helps keep my rather low chin up.
Now I live in Denmark which is extremely scary for me, lots of new things to get over. But worst of all the only camera I had was my Lomo LC-A which broke and then vanished, so my security was gone and my anxieties rocketed. Such was my desperation I forced my wife to go to a flea market where I found a Konica C35 (review coming soon!). This camera allowed me to shoot and invent and for a while, function.
So, thanks to LSI for doing what you do keeping this going and thanks to the community for being just generally awesome and none frightening.