So much has happened to photography for 25 years. As Lomography turns 25, we revisit the highlights, trends, and issues from 1992 to now and how they shaped the analogue grind and photography itself.
1, The Kodak Photo CD storage - In 1992, Kodak introduced a revolutionary development which would gear photography into the future. The Photo CD meant people can store photographs on a CD led to digital film -- including cameras, digital picture frames, camera on phones and tablets.
2. Lomographic Society International - While the beginning of the 90's witnessed the development of digital photography, analogue photography gave one of its last hurrahs as the Lomographic Society International, a group responsible for the movement and photographic aesthetic Lomography, was established. Up to now, the LSI continues its operations in advocating the use of analogue photography and has survived the trends and time. The Society is also largely responsible for arguably one of the largest community databases solely on film photographs.
3. The Internet - Much can be said about the Internet and how it changed photography. The NCSA released the first World Wide Web browser named "Mosaic", and allowed the display of images in separate windows. This was just the beginning of being able to upload and virtually see photographs. It was also thanks to the Internet that sharing sites like Photo.Net, Flickr and 500px came to be, as these websites played a major part in creating the photography community online.
4. TIME Magazine OJ Simpson scandal - The scandal highlight of 1995 posed a serious issue for photographers. Time Magazine, accused of retouching the cover of alleged murderer OJ Simpson, led to a large debate on the perception of photography as irrefutable proof of reality when it was really changed or retouched.
5. The introduction of the APS System - In 1997, the Advanced Photo System, was introduced. It was a film format for still photography in which upgraded the quality of film photographs. While it was short-lived due to digital photography, the APS brought ease and high-quality control for amateur film photographers.
6. The E-Film (1997) - The E-Film was one of the first adaptors to allow any 35mm camera functions to be turned into digital. It was a hit for photographers who were yet to make the full transition to film photography.
7. The death of Princess Diana and the paparazzi (1997) - The death of the Princess and the cause was largely debated -- but many of the people believe that it was the press and paparazzi's fault. How so? As far as the story goes, the paparazzi were fervently chasing after the Princess and her companion on mobile. With strong attempts to avoid the press, came her demise. This launched another issue among photographers and the question of privacy and ethics. The photographers were charged with invasion of privacy.
8. Digital watermarking system -- The system introduced by Digimarc in 1997 allowed photographers to establish digital information into audio, video, and printed materials in such a way they could easily identify their work especially when shared over the Internet. It allowed early protection of the works of photographers.
9. The digital camera race -- Digital photography has been shaping the recent history of photography; by now it should be known that digital photography is mainstream medium. To name a few, the likes of Canon Rebel 300, Nikon D1, the Canon EOS series, the Canon Mark series and Nikon D series have been dominating the photography industry in the 21st century.
10. www.corbis.com - Back when the Internet was young, establishing shops, galleries and such online were yet to enter into the minds of people. Among the first to do so was Corbis.com. Named as "The Place for Pictures on the Internet", the site provided a dip into the huge photographic collection of Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, the Bettman Archive and such. It was also one of the first places people could buy museum-quality photographs online.
11. 9/11 - The tragedy of September 11, 2001, at the World Trade Center, New York City has surely affected everyone, even in the photography world. This event is considered the most photographed event in history and has given birth to the iconic images of James Nachtwey.
12. Mobile phone photography - There has been a word that the smartphone is already replacing digital cameras. One thing is for sure though; the technology in which a camera can be installed into a very compact device (which can do several tasks apart from taking photos) was revolutionary. The first camera phone was introduced in 2000, by the Japanese Sharp's J-SH04. Some famous phone cameras that marked history were the Sony Ericsson S750 and the iPhone. Recently Samsung has been in the lead. Whatever's going on in the smartphone industry, it's almost unimaginable to think of a world for a phone without a camera.
13, Adobe Photoshop 7 - Among the technological advances made was the advent of the Photoshop, but it was its 7th edition that truly broke ground and became a staple art among photographers. It featured the "Healing Brush", a new tool for almost unnoticeable photo retouching.
14. Kodak bankruptcy (2004) & production end of Polaroid (2006) - Kodak filing for bankruptcy in 2004, with Polaroid following two years later was an end of an era -- the end of film photography as we knew it. It did not only mean the end of film camera production but so were the film stocks. Analogue photography was at its dark ages for the rest of the 21st century, until the 2010's, when companies like Lomography and Fuji continued to carry on some of their products. Thankfully, 2017 is smiling upon the analogue world.
15. The GoPro Hero (2006) - There was a low-key trend among photographers which now is being continued on -- it was the trend of capturing action and extreme sports images and videos. It was thanks to the GoPro Hero why such trend exists.
16. Instagram - Instagram deserves its own bullet. Founded in 2010, Instagram started off as a mobile-only photo sharing app. It was a way for users to share their lives. The rise of Instagram only meant it could be used in several ways: establish a shop, a professional profile, and share photographic work. Thanks to the hashtags system in Instagram, the film community was beginning to find its way back again (it's all thanks to the #filmisnotdead tag). Instagram also mimicked some Lomographic aesthetics into their photo filters, which also helped the popularity of film photography.
17. The Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, JJ Abrams Kodak pledge - In 2014, these prolific directors and auteurs pledged to buy the required amount of film to keep afloat the business unit of Kodak. The use of film in cinema is also seeing a rise thanks to this pledge.
18. Instax Mini & Lomo'Instant - The trending instant photography right now is all thanks to two products -- Fuji's Instax Mini and Lomography's Lomo'Instant. These two brands are considered the most accessible ones for those who want to test out analogue photography with minimal risk, as the Instax film is always available and easier to acquire.
19. The Ansel Adams Act - In 2015 the Ansel Adams Act was restored to the constitutional rights of the American citizens, allowing them to photograph in public spaces without penalty.
20. Global warming and socio-political issues - By 2010, there came a global awareness. The interconnected world allowed people and photographers to explore issues such as the Ebola virus epidemic in Africa, the conflict in the Middle East, civil unrest in Syria and Iraq, making reportage and documentary photography as the most relevant genres.
21. Selfie - Whilst self-portraiture has long been a tradition ever since painting, the word "selfie", coined in 2010, normalized in 2013, has been a favorite debate topic among photographers and portraitists as they question what makes a selfie different from a self-portrait.
22. Vivian Maier - The discovery of Vivian Maier's photographs in 2011 marked as an important moment in photography history. Maier's street photography of Chicago was so astounding that it paved way for many women to be street photographers, as well as empowering them in the field.
23. The Rise of Nostalgia Industry - For some reason, the 2010's have been experiencing a rise in the nostalgia industry. Vinyl records were becoming a thing again, as well as mixtapes and cassettes; thrift-store fashion is the new mainstream compared to the retail; and more importantly, the huge artistic preference for film over digital has helped the analogue market get back to its feet.
24. Crowdfunding platforms - Many film photography endeavors such as new film stocks, film cameras, and instant cameras have been made in the 21st century thanks to crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Because of the niche nature of the analogue market, these platforms were partially responsible for keeping film alive.
25. Lomo LC-A - And last but not the least was the Lomo LC-A, the humble compact camera from St. Petersburg, Russia. The camera was responsible for realizing one of the most influential contemporary photography aesthetics, the Lomographic movement. It allowed imperfections and spontaneity to be part of the beauty of photography. Now, it's one of the few film cameras that has a large cult following, being purchased in thrift shops, flea markets or from Lomography itself. The iconic, Soviet film camera was also deemed as a hero of film photography, as it is the very heart and core of the pervading Lomographic movement. It was one of the analogue industry's saving graces, a feat that would be proven in the next 20 years and so on as the analogue market would inevitably dip down in the early 21st century. Because of the LC-A and its role in the Lomographic movement, the analogue grind continues to strive.
Have you submitted your shots yet? Help us create a global photography exhibition by sending us your top shots of your favorite places and signing up to construct your very own LomoWall. Keep an eye on the official 25 Years of Lomography site and make sure you’re following us on social media, too. From parties to exhibitions to giveaways and more, there are tons of festivities still to come!