After shooting countless frames, winding countless rolls, framing countless images, once can’t help but wonder on the rationale for sticking with something so yesterday, a technology so obsolete. On a personal level, it’s not because its hip or cool, but rather because of the welcome detachment from the norm and its accompanying sense of wonder.
Why do you Lomo?
With the steady, if not massive influx of those joining Lomography, one cant help but think of the raison d’être behind the whole craze. The whole concept of Lomography, of carefree shooting, complete with is minimalistic undertones, has been around for decades. What the Lomographic Society has done is to christen it with a name and generate enough hype for it to have a global cult following. Setting aside endless debates of marketing gimmicks vis-à-vis branding, what exactly does being into Lomography entail? What does it mean?
It may sound prejudiced but what Lomography avoids are ersatz photographs, pictures digitally rescued to pass off as good or even passable ones. I will not go into the nuances of film quality and the convenience of digital since the whole argument has become drawn out and quite frankly, pedantic. With the advent of technology, the folly of the masses is the preconceived notion of sprucing up and manipulating a photo even before you’ve shot it. Admittedly most, if not all of our photos, digital or otherwise, could benefit from a little Photoshop. But the question is: do you need to?
Detractors are quick to point out that the whole practice is an exercise in futility. Blurred, out of focus shots of random, everyday objects are deemed as pointless and a waste of time. Moreover, most critics would assume and accuse lomographs as nothing more but lucky shots, being right there at the right time with the stray light leak streaking at the most opportune space. What many fail to realize is that these “happy accidents” as they would call it still involve composition and a thought process and is borne out of a fervent desire to change the way we perceive everyday objects, and of embracing and welcoming the unexpected.
What Lomography offers is a completely different and fresh perspective into looking at and seeing things. It transcends the trappings of the everyday, workaday world and invites one to think. Likening it to metaphysical unease, it provides one a means “to withdraw – not from the things of everyday life – but from the currently accepted meaning attached to them, or to question the value placed upon them (Pieper).” Lomography is more than the vignettes, more than the boosted contrast associated with it but rather the act itself.
At the end of the day, the whole issue is not a bipolar one of film vs. digital but rather an invitation to think, an invitation to step out of the box and see and appreciate the everyday and the mundane with fresh, new eyes. What do you think?