Practical Questions over 'Lomographies'


I would like to discuss some of the practical questions I have been repeatedly asking myself, since I have started Lomography-ing. I might be very (some would say: too much) scientifically minded, but I often need to define a few rules, as I find myself a little lost in the absence of rules. I know: I am already in contradiction with Rule #10, “Don’t worry about any rules”. But if you are patient enough to continue reading, I would appreciate to know your opinion on these matters.

I can also recommend this recent article When is a photo a Lomograph

Ok the 10 Golden Rules, but these apply to shooting and to an overall Lomographic mindset: am I right? I am interested in finding out how other Lomographers operate when it comes to uploading their images.

Step 1.
The first element that makes a photograph a Lomograph is the type of camera. Initially I was under the impression that the very requisite a Lomography would be a Lomo-camera (or: toy, plastic, crappy, … camera), possibly coupled to a plastic lens, as the combination of the two ensures the unpredictability (and light leaks, and so on) that seems to be essential for a Lomography.

However, it is very common that Lomographers use all type of vintage or even simply just analogue (as opposed to digital) cameras. But what is Lomo in a photo taken by e.g. a Kodak Retina built in 1950’s, that carries one of the best (fast and sharp) lenses I have ever used? (I am quoting myself, so nobody should feel too guilty)

Step 2.
There may be someone that processes his/her own B&W films (I do), but most likely when it comes to colour film, we all have them developed at a lab. Either way, one may not have much control over this step.

Step 3.
Then, it is the scanning of the images. This may be more frequently done at home, if one can afford a (flat bed) scanner. So I would assume this may allow for some degree of freedom, in that some preliminary digital manipulation can be done, e.g. cropping, enhancing tones, etc., quite limited though and very much dependent on the quality of the scanner.

Now, would you condone digital manipulation at this stage? And if so, what type? My preference here goes to no manipulation at all (I don’t seem to have much control over the software of the scanner). I only make sure that my negatives and the surface of my scanner be as much dust-free as possible.

Step 4.
Now the sore spot: digital post-processing or not? I seem to hear all hardcore Lomographers shouting, horrified: “No! this is evidently against the purest Lomo philosophy: shame on you!”.

I might agree — to some extent. I know Lomography is all about freedom: freedom from rules (#10), don’t think much (#6), … But on the other hand, if I had to just passively accept whatever gets fixed on my film, as it happens to happen, that would equally limit my freedom of expressing my personal artistic touch (providing I have any).

Let me make this clear: I generally do not correct exposure (globally or locally), alter colours, reduce or increase vignetting, etc. — these may be considered as effects that are inherent to a Lomography.
However, I may crop an image and occasionally straighten it; I do remove dust and anything I find does not belong to the image I wanted to capture, or that my camera felt like capturing for me … I certainly do not remove scratches (those long ones that may extend from side to side of the frame) as I consider them a sort of camera’s signature — and as such part of the image. I may, at times, tweak the contrast especially when I realise I was not thorough at the development stage.
May I still proudly call myself a Lomographer?

Step 5.
Now we come to the stage of uploading our images. My first curiosity is: how do you classify your photos? That is: what is the key-element you choose for grouping your photos, hence to define an album?
I have seen many different approaches: per camera type (e.g. Holga 120, Supersampler, …), per film type (e.g. Kodak BW 400CN, Agfa APX 25, …), per period or event (e.g. Summer 2007, Party on the Beach, …), per theme (e.g. Cats, Portraits, …); or a combination thereof. My preference goes to the ‘theme’, also because some elements such as the type of camera or film used are among the standard metadata presented by the Lomography template; but I understand that in some cases it is the particular camera or film that characterizes the collection.

Another aspect I would question at this stage is: all images from a film, or a subset? Often I see that Lomographers dump their whole roll into an album, with no image selection whatsoever. I justify this, as the attempt of showing the unaltered truth of what the combination of camera and film captured. I prefer to actually input some of my personal taste and only upload images that meet my initial conception of the photo. What is your opinion on this?

Step 6.
Last but not least: keywording. I am not sure how keywording is used in the Lomography library, that is: how does the search engine pick up keywords? But I personally find keywording of utmost importance, if a Lomographer wishes to maintain a thorough database of his/her work.

In first instance, I tend not to use camera type or film (or any other standard Lomography metadata) in favour of the elements that truly characterize the image. Essentially, I try to imagine how I would be able to most effectively retrieve a photo from a vast collection by using one or more relevant and specific keywords.

written by eremigi on 2011-07-29 #gear #tutorials #developing #digital #rules #scanning #tipster #manipulation #album #selection #uploading #post-processing #keywording #top-tipster-techniques
translated by eremigi


  1. butanen
    butanen ·

    hello there! great article! I found it really interesting!
    As a relatively new guy to lomography I also still have things to understand. I usually hand over my film to a Lab and the do the developing and the negative scanning as well (since I dont have a scanner), and I am usually suspicious that they do some kind of the re-touching of the images. So; just in certain cases I would tweak the contrast or brightness as well...
    Regarding selection; I always make a selection, never the hole film, some pictures are just burnt or black, or just shapes that does´t even worth the watch... so I pick the ones I like, or I would like to look at...
    That´s my humble saying, I don´t know if I am a true lomographer, but I do know this... I have loads of fun taking pictures, taking them to the lab, and most of the time not knowing whats gonna come out! The surprise is my addiction!
    Once again, Great article!

  2. superlighter
    superlighter ·

    for me scanning film is the moment where I take my "artistic" decision over the scanner software preset, but nothing different from what every photolad do with our films. no post-processing except for cleaning from dust or little air (also if I often clean the scanner surface dust is always present).
    about upload and albums, I always made an album from every film I've shoot or if I've shoot more films for example during a trip I put them togheter in an album, leaving the photos in the order they're shooted, usually I dont upload what I don't like.

  3. aroninvt
    aroninvt ·

    I think perhaps you may be overthinking this whole lomography thing. Are you having fun? If you're not it's time to re-examine your approach to photography. My feeling is that photography should be fun! We use crappy cameras to free our minds from obsessing over the technical aspects of photography, anyone who's used a DSLR in Manual knows what I mean here, it's so easy to obsess over aperture, shutter speed etc. and we lose sight of what really matters, the image itself!

    I use a lab to develop my film, then I scan them at home on a scanner and import them to my laptop. From there I may or may not tweak the contrast as needed, sometimes I may tweak the colors, but I don't like to post them here.

    As long as you're having fun and not digitally altering the images too much, it's all good in my book!

  4. dirklancer
    dirklancer ·

    I love that you start with "I am already in contradiction with Rule #10" - because this is my favorite rule of all. Getting beyond simply saying "you're thinking too much" -Rule #6 ;), here are my thoughts on each of the steps you have listed:

    Step 1.
    The first "Lomography" camera was the LC-A. So the plastic-crappy-only idea is out. Some lomography cameras are clearly crappy (see Action Sampler); some are glass and mechanical marvels (see Horizon Perfekt) Any film camera is welcome here, but it seems that the more "interesting" the camera is, the more "welcome" it is.

    Step 2.
    It seems that no one really cares who develops your film - but if you do it yourself in coffee and orange juice, all the better! (And please tell us about it!)

    Step 3.
    Any serious lomographer scans their own. This is purely for reasons of expense. I am not trying to insult those who do not have access to a scanner, I am merely saying that if you can still afford to have someone else do this, you are not shooting enough! ;)

    Step 4.
    Digital-processing is defined differently by everyone it seems. My personal rule is NEVER EVER EVER crop your images. I want to see the picture you took, not the image you made. Crop WHILE you shoot! Subtle difference, but that's important for me.
    Enhancing tones (playing with the "curves") is perfectly acceptable. If you are having the photos printed or scanned for you, this is being done anyway (whether by a person or a software program) - I see no difference in doing this yourself, but please don't take it to bizarre extremes.
    You mention "straightening" which never occurred to me before - I just tip the camera a little ;)

    Step 5.
    I wouldn't call it "dumping" the whole roll. My philosphy is to delete nothing, so... you get to see how I work. Save your selective posting for other fancy sites, maybe for your own blog. Here you should show us your ratio of good shots to bad shots, for me this is a matter of honesty. For me, lomography is a process, so we should share our screw ups with each other. Did you leave your Holga/Diana shutter on B for the whole roll? Ouch. Show us, and will do the online equivalent of drowning our sorrows together.

    How you categorize tells us all kinds of things about you. Do your own thing.

    Step 6.
    Keywording is just like albums. Everyone does it their own way. The worst is when you have so many pictures that you don't have time to keyword the way you want to. If you keyword everything in an ideal way, I would suspect that you either don't take enough photos, or that you should spend a little more time on other things like finding a job or talking to real live people. ;) Just kidding...kind of.

    You have some awesome shots posted here - keep shooting, and don't worry too much about the rules. :)

  5. aroninvt
    aroninvt ·

    Dear Dirklancer, I am intrigued by your perspectives, I never load all my photos because I don't wish to overwhelm the site with my mundane photos. I only post one or two of my best shots per roll, if that. But I see what you mean about posting them all to illustrate how we work. I've been reluctant to post my work for fear of being inconsiderate to the site, but maybe I will post more so others can see the evolution....thanks for the input!

  6. jackpumpkinhead
    jackpumpkinhead ·

    Hi, Dirklancer, really enjoyed the article, good to know someone else thinks about these things as much as me, here'd be my thoughts on it:

    Step 1: My first "Lomo" camera was a Lomography camera, and the latest one was also a Lomography camera, but I'v also picked up cameras from junk shops, or from people who were having a clear out, as well as new "toy" cameras. Personally, I think it's the analogue nature that makes it "Lomo", i.e. the grain of the film, the limitations of only having a certain number of shots. I'm not sure Lomography themselves would agree, that's probably why you can't add Superheadz cameras to your camera shelf. Not that I blame them of course, this site is essentially one big product placement.

    Step 2: Currently I get everything done at a lab, but I'd like to have a go at the Coffee and Vit C development process.

    Step 3: Until recently I had all my scanning done by the lab too, either that or get my friend to do them for me. But I got a negative scanner, and after a bit of a play i came up with this process; I scan each image 3 times dark, medium, and light, then I choose which one i think looks best/coolest.

    Step 4: I have absolutely nothing against digital image processing as such, but I wouldn't upload an image here that I had digitally altered. I can understand cropping an image to get rid of a blank half frame, (like that last pic on the roll), but i would draw the line before cropping a picture to get rid of things in the background i don't like.

    Step 5 : I started off by just uploading the pics I liked, as kind of a quality control thing, but it quickly became apparent to me that just because I like a pic doesn't mean other people will, and vice versa. So I generally upload most of the roll, just leaving out the pics that I actively don't like. As for albums, i would normally have an album for the first time i use a camera, but then lump subsequent photos together according to the specific "Lomo Excursion"

    Step 6: Man, the keywords though is a pain in the bum! lol. I'd like to agree with you with regards the keywording, but, honestly? It's just too much trouble to worry about it. I'd usually do more specific tags when and if i can be bothered.

    Anyway really informative article, thanks once again.

  7. jackpumpkinhead
    jackpumpkinhead ·

    Addressed to the wrong person, how embarrassing! Note to self: don't write messages in the middle of the night! lol

  8. disdis
    disdis ·

    @dirklancer I think it's because I've been round here such a long time, I totally agree with you. I doesn't mean sometimes I try to crop things, modify.... but never ever upload the results here or anywhere. That's just for my desire of playing!

  9. mr-korn
    mr-korn ·

    To crop or not to crop... this has been a topic of debate even before the invention of digital photography...I don't do cropping but I don't think cropping should be a taboo.

  10. domo-guy
    domo-guy ·

    Dont think and just shoot.

  11. oscarrastaman
    oscarrastaman ·

    I think lomography is any photo taken with an analogue camera as long as you follow the 10 rules, in fact it is listed in the details of any of the competitions Lomography has "Film/Camera Type: Any analogue photo not digitally enhanced or manipulated."

  12. inkybrown
    inkybrown ·

    I have an Epson 4490 negative scanner... its software automatically does color/brightness correction (no different from a machine if I had prints made at a lab), and removes dust particles from the image. Is that digitally enhanced? Is it even possible to scan your film without it having a digital aspect? ;)

  13. jt13
    jt13 ·

    the only time I crop is when my stuff wasn't straight in the scanner, and i "have to" take less than a milimeter off of the edge, It really breaks my heart.

  14. eremigi
    eremigi ·

    Wow thank you so much to everyone!!! This is way beyond my wildest expectations. Thank you not only for liking my article but especially for taking time in offering your feedback and opinion.

    I am pretty sure that most labs do alter images to some extent, if anything to 'please' the customer. I personally don't like the idea of not being in control of every single step of my image-making process. For colour films I have no option but having them developed by a lab. But given the cost of scanning (and the amount of photos I take), I realised that a good scanner would 'only' cost the equivalent of a few (10-15?) films. With the additional advantage and flexibility of scanning my own images, the way I want.
    Regarding making a selection of your photos to present, I totally agree with you.
    Welcome to the club: I don't know either if I can call myself a lomographer :-)

    I wish I was able to impose my touch so much in the scanning phase: I may need some more practice there; in fact, I have just found out a very annoying result of some software presets that I had overlooked.
    I use Lightroom to clean dust and occasionally tweak the contrast.

    Yes I do: I have loads of fun. But you are right: I may be 'obsessed' by technicalities. But this is even more fun for me: I really enjoy every technical/scientific aspect.
    But your remark made me think: and indeed, I may need to reconsider a few things that lengthen the time between when I shot and when I actually get to upload my images here.

    And I love the way you start: touche' :-)
    Step 1: Agreed. I would not call true lomography, a photo taken with a Nikon F or a Leica (although genuine analog cameras).
    Step 2: I have been wanting to experiment those techniques for a long time. But I guess, have never been brave enough.
    Step 3: You are 100% right.
    Step 4: You have a point. In fact, composing the image in the camera is one of the few variables that a lomographer has full control over, right?
    Step 5: I see your point; I guess it is valid. But I don't agree. I see the risk here of 'information overload' that is in my opinion one of the greatest downsides of digital photography.

    Step 1: actually I am a bit disappointed with Lomography for not allowing us to add some clearly vintage cameras, only because they are not Lomo-cameras; and yet allowing to upload photos taken with fully manual (non-crappy!) ones.
    Step 3: it seems that I could do a lot more with my scanner ...
    Step 6: I agree with keywording being a pain. But it is so useful, if not essential - ok maybe not on this site (sorry I guess I am a classification freak :-)

    @ oscarrastaman
    I don't fully agree with the statement "any analogue camera" because I find it a little unfair to compare a shot taken with a fully manual camera that allows you full control over all the relevan parameters with one taken with a plastic, toy, crappy camera.

    Do not rely on any automatic, default setting (as I have learnt at my expenses).
    But your question is essentially very correct: in my opinion, the mere fact that a negative gets scanned introduces some degree of digital manipulation - that is inevitable.
    The point I guess is to not overdo it.

  15. daremrc
    daremrc ·

    art is art. there are no rules. I have had lots of fun with my Diana and flatbed negative scanner, and I have lots of images that I enjoyed creating. Some of them are more pure than others from the analouge perspective, but the only 'rule' I would go by is to not try to pass anything off as something it is not. Otherwise, it's your fun, have it however you will!

  16. buckshot
    buckshot ·

    Good, thought-provoking article, as are the comments posted in response. I'd just like to add a few of my own views.

    1: Shooting with a pre-digital-era Hasselblad, Leica, Nikon, Canon, Pentax or similar high-spec camera I would call 'traditional analogue' photography, rather than lomography as such. The difference is that you have vastly superior control over your images with one of these than with a plastic or other low-spec lomo-cam, and the unpredictability of the latter is a huge element of what defines lomography, for me at least - it's also a huge part of what makes lomography fun, of course!

    2: Cropping or straightening an image is just basic correction, and is totally acceptable - it's what photographers have always done when positioning photo paper under the enlarger in the darkroom.

    3: Adjusting the 'curves', contrast, saturation, etc. with image-editing software, on the other hand, I would consider to be digital manipulation, and a little bit naughty if you're uploading to this site, at least.

    4: Uploading every shot from every roll of film you ever take is definitely 'dumping'. I personally have greater respect for those who self-edit.

    5: Similarly, shooting 'from the hip' at every available opportunity without regard for the basics of composition may be very lomo, and can certainly result in interesting images, but more often than not it looks like lomorrhoea.

    6: Screw the '10 rules'; they're meaningless marketing hype.

    Right, I'd better stop there, before I get accused of logorrhoea! My bottom line: lomography is about experimenting with analogue cameras, different lenses, different films, interesting techniques, the unpredictability, the thrill of being out there with a loaded camera and, ultimately, creating images that you like.

  17. jojo8785
    jojo8785 ·

    Great article @eremigi ! And fantastic replies everyone else! Enjoyable read. Of all the comments here, my opinions sit closely between yours @eremigi and @buckshot

  18. jojo8785
    jojo8785 ·

    Oh and my pet hate on this site is dumping! Sorry to those who love seeing the whole process, every shot on a film and great v bad shots etc. it just reminds of me of other photo-uploading sites where the point-and-shoot digital peeps upload 800 shots from a 2 hour party etc...biggest turnoff.
    On this website I love to see as many inspiring, beautiful, raw and experimental shots from as many people as possible (even if they didnt quite work, I like seeing the attempts and reading the captions) - a self edit goes a long way :)

  19. dirklancer
    dirklancer ·

    interesting feedback here - I'll comment more if I can find some time later (if I whip off something in haste, I fear I might be offensive). In brief, one point that is being missed is the contributions made to this magazine other than just picture uploading. If you want to know what "lomography" is, you may value the answer more from someone with better stats. IMHO

  20. aroninvt
    aroninvt ·

    It's great to see so many of us have strong opinions here, it's not what we agree on that gives us strength as a community, but what sets us apart and our ability to respect each other and appreciate each other for what we all bring to the table. There's no wrong way to shoot a photograph, and adversely there is no right way either. The only ingredient that matters is creativity, whether your using a pinhole camera made out of a shoe box or a $28,000 Leica, the only thing that matters in the end is the image itself and the fun you had taking it! I have nothing but love for everyone here!
    Keep up the good work everyone!

  21. dirklancer
    dirklancer ·

    Now that I read my recent comment again, I'm sure I come across as a dick. Didn't mean that. Shoot. Can't delete it.
    Do your own thing. Make pictures on film. Post them here. Tell us about them. Take more. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

  22. looyingjia
    looyingjia ·

    4. I believe to a certain extent post-editing is great. After all, if you're going to be doing some touch-ups (removal of particles/dust/etc) I think it seems only right to do so. You want to not only share a photo with the community, but a photo that has quality and best portrays what you want to convey with the audience.

    And, yeah, I do agree with most of the comments here. The tool used to get the shot is of secondary importance: creativity and personal touch is probably the most important to a great shot.

  23. ibkc
    ibkc ·

    I am slightly late to the party, but I have a couple of strong opinions on all this as I am old enough to have learned traditional photography back when digital was just a fantasy. In those days, you didn't just develop your film and then print your negs as-is, using the first setting that was left on the enlarger or whatever. You took the time to bring the best out in your images -- and that's even if you were working in a relatively lo-fi environment (which is what "lomography" essentially tries to be.)

    Since very few of us have access to traditional darkrooms, the digital post-process is our replacement. Yes, there are lots of temptations and it it is much too easy to get carried away by actually digitally *adding* to your image. This, I agree with -- *don't do it* if you are trying to keep as much as possible to a traditional mindset. But color correcting, adjusting contrast, etc-- that stuff is not adding to the image: this is exactly the sort of thing you would have done just a few short years ago in a darkroom when you were making your prints.

    When I see "this image is proudly uploaded exactly as scanned! NO DIGITAL MANIPULATION WHATSOEVER!" I really do have to roll my eyes. What if your scanner sucks? Mine is quite low-end. It actually does a fine job with medium format but I really have to babysit it with the 35mm stuff. And what if you don't know what you're doing about selecting your scan settings? In such cases, your images *are digitally manipulated, IMO, because you are letting the computer make the decision about your neg is presented to the world.

    So yes. Opinions -- I have lots of them. ;)

  24. jackpumpkinhead
    jackpumpkinhead ·

    @eremigi don't worry, I'm just as anal(ogue?) as you, I think I'm probably just a lot lazier! @aroninvt That's so beautiful! :'-D Global Lomo = World Peace? lol, The lack of @rseholes on here is one of the reasons I stay. Its a real cyber love-in, (but not in a sad, lonely kind of way :-S)

  25. ihave2pillows
    ihave2pillows ·

    I have asked myself all these same questions lol thanks for putting it all out there

  26. wonderdude
    wonderdude ·

    Before I provide my answers to eremigi, I'd like to say I'm very happy to see this sort of discussion being allowed. Where I come from, open dialog is encouraged. In addition, we're taught we shouldn't trust anyone who tells you to stop thinking or worrying, because they're probably trying to take advantage of you. I prefer openness and honesty; that's what gives me that "genuine" feeling.

    Why is anyone worrying about any of this? Lomography is supposed to be happy, friendly and peaceful, right? Well, it's very hard to keep it that way when you also foster a competitive environment (contests, awards, fabulous prizes...even tallying numbers of friends and likes). Every competition needs to have a clear and understandable system, or else participants *will* worry. Lack of information and sensibility ruins the fun a whole lot more than someone who asks, "so, if I shouldn't worry about the rules, then my iPhone pics are OK, right?"

    Now, to eremigi's questions:
    1. I thought Lomography = cheap, flawed & fun cameras. My belief changed after I saw Lomography strongly promoting and encouraging a newbie who took wonderfully perfect photos with an SLR and quality optics. I was happily surprised to see Lomography welcome these types of cameras. I now believe any film camera can be used to make Lomographic photos. It's not the camera, it's how you use long as it's a film camera :)

    2. I don't believe it matters how the film is developed. It is interesting to see different results from different processes, but I don't think any way should be considered "better," or not.

    3. All scanning involves digital manipulation (automatic or selectable), and I consider this to be generally acceptable. Should it matter whether you crop the film with scissors, or with a mouse? I see no difference. Lighten or darken? No big deal; the end result is still genuine in my opinion. Is there any reasonable way to tell for sure? Not that Im aware of. How about changing colors? Too much - I think that's fake (if done digitally).

    4. It doesn't matter if the software is directly connected to the scanning or not, so cropping and basic light control are OK. How about inserting an invisible digital watermark? That is a form of digital manipulation, too, but who cares? Digitally replacing the guy in the background with Mickey Mouse? Not genuine, of course.

    5. I try to upload the entire roll, since I also find that oftentimes people like photos of mine I don't particularly care for. I'ill toss any pics I think are totally ugly or embarrassing, though. In addition, I usually explore all the photos in someone else's new album, unless they bomb me with 8 new albums every day. I'll stop following them if it's way too many.

    6. I dunno, I just fill out the metadata as much as possible and add any other reasonable tag information.

    Because I believe important people at Lomography are closely watching this article, I would like to suggest that they open up and admit what they are really about. I support making money, and I like businesses who have no problem saying they are trying to earn a reasonable living providing enjoyable products and services to their customers. It's more fun that way - nobody likes to be tricked or manipulated.
    Last, I believe you will assure long term monster profits if you award one share of future Lomography stock to all people who are members of record as of August 1, 2011. Every owner wants their business to succeed. Think about it...and please consider "refreshing and updating" the wording of those 10 rules :)

  27. kiteflyin
    kiteflyin ·

    I've always been puzzled by the digital thing. I finally assumed it was saying no photoshopping the hell out of your picture (I have no clue how to use it anyway). I do mess with the brightness and contrast and stuff like that on the scanner, especially with b&w. I mean I'm doing the same thing I would in the darkroom with contrast filters, and f/stop and timing of the enlarger. It's just less frustrating.

    As for cropping I try not to do that. I might trim a bit off the side, but I mostly do it if part of the photo is completely black. (kind of goes with the 1st part) I have to do this sometimes with my pentax, because it likes to randomly make a photo a half frame. Plus when I was using Walmart for processing, cds and prints, I noticed that they cropped a good bit off.

    With organizing it really just depends. If there was one day that I used different cameras I'll just put them all in one album. If I used one roll over a month or more and it has no rhyme or reason, I'll name it by camera and film/month or something.

    (hopefully this made sense. I tend to not do that when im trying to say an opinion or explain)

    Either way I've been shooting film/lomoing for almost a year, and I'm still having fun.

  28. pheebs
    pheebs ·

    @wonderdude I really appreciate the time you took thinking about those issues and sharing your thoughts with us.

    We are still about the brick-and-mortar approach of film and analogue cameras.
    And no refreshing the golden rules, that's like saying we will be refreshing the constitution! ;)

    Of course we try to sell cameras, but we also strongly promote analogue photography and the community. We admit all any every analogue camera model to our competitions and to get people to join in the analogue fun. You can be part of the community without ever having spent a dime on a Lomographic camera but of course we promote our products and want to show what fun and artsy photos our cameras can produce.

    When it comes to your stock proposal, I am sorry but that is not a way we are going to pursue.

    Thanks again for being part of the analogue revolution and lomo on!

  29. disasterarea
    disasterarea ·

    The longer I've been photographing analogue, the less I worry about rules....and in time so will you. It doesn't matter what camera you use, or if you use post processing, so long as you get great photos that capture the moment as you see it.

    My current favorite analogue camera is the Canon EOS-1V, (the most advanced film camera every made) it considered a lomography camera? NO!....but the way I use it still in my opinion counts as lomography.

    I am unashamed to post process my pictures after scanning in Apple Aperture to balance the colours/saturation etc because it gives the finishing touch for getting the look I want, but the real hard work of composition exposure, multi-exposure is done in camera...not to mention my choice of film and whether to xpro or not at the lab. I dont care what others think because these are my photos and Im not going to conform to someone elses rules to tell me what I can or can't do.

  30. disasterarea
    disasterarea ·

    or in a simpler way....

    I see the 10 golden rules as a great starting point for anyone entering analogue photography. But once you get the hang of it, you should follow your own path and create your own rules.

    My thanks goes to Lomography for keeping analogue photography relevant and giving us all a place where we can share our love of analogue photography....regardless of what cameras we use.

    (and so many cameras have their own unique charms)

  31. aroninvt
    aroninvt ·

    Maybe they should rewrite the 10 golden rules and write the 10 lomo commandments!
    1) Thou shalt not shoot redscale on Sundays.
    2) Thou shalt always remove thine lens cap before shooting.
    3) Thou shalt always check "N" or "B" before shooting.
    4) Thou shalt always carry spare batteries for thine flash.
    5) Thou shalt not take photos of thine friends while they are relieving themselves.
    6) Thou shalt not take pictures while driving thine automobile.
    7) Thou shalt always have fun with thine camera.
    8) Thou shalt not take things so seriously.
    9) Thou shalt always post thine pictures so that all might see.
    10) Thou shalt always shoot film, until thine dying days.


  32. eremigi
    eremigi ·

    Not logorrheic at all: on the contrary, very much to the point. Thank you for sharing.
    1: Voilà: unpredictability=lomography. I could not agree more with you.
    3: In the purest lomographic philosophy, I agree.
    4+5: Wow you are definitely my buddy :-)
    And, if I may add a personal note. I find analogue photography quite expensive (especially compared to digital) and shooting just for the sake of shooting may not be a wise idea ...

    Absolutely. I also find that 'information overloading' should remain the risk associated to digital photography.

    I am totally in love with pinhole - which may be as unpredictable as lomography but also a lot more 'technical'.
    But I agree with @buckshot earlier: traditional analogue is another story.
    And true: the great thing here is that we can disagree but at the end all share the same passion for lomo/graphy :-)

    Thank you! This is was trying to say: sometimes not being 'allowed' to improve my image (e.g. when I did not babysit my scanner enough, or I made a oops! in developing my film) sounds as a limitation on my freedom (of expression) - that seems to go against the very lomo-philosophy.

    You got the point: if it has to be absolute freedom from rules then just anything goes. This is where I see a little (philosophical) contradiction.
    1. Still I would not call the use of traditional analogue cameras lomography. But again: just my opinion.
    3. Yes changing tones and contrast is where I draw the line. Altering colours is too much.
    Hey I like your suggestion to the big lomo dudes :-)

    I do the opposite: I never spent much time in understanding my scanner, so I work on my images using Lightroom - but in the same way as I would do in the darkroom.

    All very true. But I disagree with you when it comes to using 'advanced' analogue cameras and all type of post-processing and still calling the product a lomograph. If you deviate too much from the 'starting point', the end result will also be quite far from a lomo-graph right?
    But again: it is a matter of opinions.

    I love it, hilarious :-) Thanks.

  33. wonderdude
    wonderdude ·

    @pheebs Vielen Dank für ihre Antwort. I knew you guys were watching! Whatever you do, PLEASE FORGET THE STOCK IDEA ;)
    And thank you very much for the official word on all analog cameras being allowed. That makes a lot of sense to me, and I hope that issue has been put to rest for good!
    I also now better understand how Lomography (the company) feels about the Golden Rules. In light of such reverence, I agree they should NOT be re-written. Perhaps "amendments" would be more reasonable? The US Constitution has been amended 27 times (free speech, the right for all citizens to vote, etc.).
    Now, since we are discussing the fundamentals of Lomography, I will ask about another critical issue discussed in this article. pheebs, it is with genuine Lomo-love that I would like your clarification on this: "While no digital cameras" seems easy to understand, and "no digital manipulation" is very vague. The following official Lomography article, however, appears to say it is OK in certain circumstances to use digital cameras, and that "complete control over colour, tone, saturation and resolution" with a scanner is also OK:…. There will be much more peace and love in the Lomo world if you could provide a Golden Answer on this :)

  34. pheebs
    pheebs ·

    @ wonderdude : I do not know if you are familiar with darkroom techniques. In an analogue darkroom you have control over color, tone, saturation and resolution.

    You can save an over- or underexposed picture with longer or less exposure time in the positive development process, turn the contrast up if the original picture looks washed out.
    Generally there is a lot of things you can do to an less than ideal negative to turn it in a great or at least ok print (photo positive).

    However there are only a few lucky people out there who have the money and space for a fully equipped darkroom, especially for color photos.

    In my opinion if you are scanning photos, because you want to share them with the community, it is within my analogue ethics to use the same techniques I would use in an analogue darkroom in my so to speak digital darkroom.

    Bear in mind I am talking about contrast, saturation, resolution and lightness/darkness and not about cropping people out of pictures or overlaying pictures, which can alsobe achieved in the darkroom, I am talking super basic stuff.

  35. jackpumpkinhead
    jackpumpkinhead ·

    I love how much debate and discussion this article has sparked! :-) Being reasonably new here I assumed that it was a lot more cut and dry than it now appears to be.

    @aroninvt AMEN! Where's the collection plate (I used a redscale on a sunday)? @pheebs Thanks for clarifying a little, can I just ask then, (I don't know if you're familiar with Photoshop specifically), but would you say officially, you'd be ok to use the top set of tools in the Image/Adjustments menu (Color balance, brightness/contrast)? I wouldn't usually want to but my latest roll turned out to be a bad choice of ISO. Who'd have thought you could get away with a 100 in the uk? lol

  36. wonderdude
    wonderdude ·

    Thanks again! When my mind is at ease, my heart can run more freely. Ich liebe pheebs!! And in the spirit of JFK, "Ich bin Weiner!!" ;)

    Since this is the International Lomo site, I realize my communication style may be misinterpreted and/or make some people uncomfortable. Please know that my mother was born in Leipzig, Germany, my first name is Sven, and I was an exchange student to Brazil. In the US, the most unusual out of these three is my name, btw.

    I deliberately chose to speak up American-style because the USA has three Lomography brick-and-mortar stores...with more opening soon (Chicago, San Francisco, Miami and Austin). Lomography doesn't have a USA website where we can speak without constant fear of cultural miscommunication (hint, hint), so I decided to stop tip-toeing around and just be myself. Besides, Golden Rule #5 says, "An essential part of your Lomographic existence is to get right to the bottom of things."

    What made me feel most comfortable, however, was knowing a Lomo store is opening soon in Texas. People who aren't aware should know that many (but not all, of course) Texans are straight-talking free spirits. They'll look you right in the eye when you speak with them, they'll fight for their rights, and they don't let anyone else tell them how to live their life...and I'm only talking about the Texas women ;)

    I'll stop hogging this thread now. Please continue the discussion...and don't be afraid to ask polite and well-meaning questions a little more directly! :)

  37. wonderdude
    wonderdude ·

    Ooops, @eremigi I forgot to thank you for the great post. Most interesting, ever!

  38. pheebs
    pheebs ·

    @jackpumpkinhead just to straighten this out, I am in no position to tell you what’s right or wrong and neither do you have to ask permission for anything.
    This is just my 2 cents as a Lomographer myself! Herby I do admit that I think using brightness/contrast in Photoshop is ok with my analogue
    understanding because that is stuff I could do in the darkroom myself if I was fortunate enough to have one.

  39. pheebs
    pheebs ·

    @wonderdude no worries, I got you :)

  40. hail90
    hail90 ·

    I would uplaod my whole films if i could! unfortunately the time it takes to scan and upload is longer than me shooting my film.
    I must agree that processing my film via a lab is costing me the earth and slowing down my shooting :(
    Also, i'm a bit miffed that some camera's arent considered "lomography" as i LOVE my two olympus OM's and my lomography style comes through the experimentation of the films... PLUS my Olumpus OM-10 is unpredictable as the shutter has broken and sometimes decides to black out half my shot which can be an awesome added extra.

    either way... this is a very interesting article and i've enjoyed reading the discussion!
    Lomography is always going to be a grey area it seems, just got to love what you are doing :)

  41. badjuju
    badjuju ·

    Great article...As a newer member of the site I often wonder the same things. This site is comfortable to me because I am a newbie (only shooting 1 year) and still learning about cameras and proper techniques. Other photography sites and blogs I have found are mainly digital and people tend to get really technical with their discussions and sometimes can be a bit rude to newbies.

    I make plenty of mistakes and I post them all here. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder right ? So what others appreciate in my work I may not care for. I admit tagging is a bit tedious but I do at least tag film and camera type. When I see a beautiful photo I like to get an idea of what may happen if I tried that film or camera. I know ultimately results are going to vary but this is a hobby and I try not to overthink the process.

    That is why I never adjust the color/contrast on my pics and have only cropped some of my fisheye photos when they were not aligned correctly by the lab I use. I ask the lab techs not to color correct anything and not to cut my films. I plan on buying a scanner next and I am rescanning some films to see just how different they can be.

    Ultimately I love what I do and respect everyones work no matter how amateur. We all have to start somewhere and I appreciate this site for giving me the opportunity to learn and grow.

  42. toffeeish
    toffeeish ·

    you have a lot of thoughts on lomography.... here's my personal opinion:
    Plastic/toy cameras and old cameras make lomographs, but I think any analogue photo can be uploaded onto lomography.
    digital editing: when you first said I pulled a very sceptical look, but when scanning yourself things like cropping and straightening make sense. Any other digital manipulation I personally oppose of!
    With albums I mostly do events, but it's really whatever comes into my head. I usually use the whole film in the album, because it's alot quicker. But if the film clearly has 2 or 3 big events in it I will separate it!!

  43. fmadera
    fmadera ·

    I think that you are so right ! number one Lomgraphy , never the less photography in general is an expencieve art. Jesus, there is this stagier girl in my town who just came out of the art academy and would LOVE to work on 120 format and bla bla bla but simple she just cant afford it. Doesn't that sucks? when you see someone who really loves what they do but they cannot do it because they have no money for film? Anyhow, I agree with you because it would be a pity not to use the all the arsenal of new technologies not to enhance or beautify in whatever way, Because EVERY PICTURE COUNTS. sheesh , has anybody had like that moment that was so precious and you would do anything to hold on to like just.. tweaking the picture's contrast, levels or curves a little bit. ?? already every scanner is different and it sort of fixes the light a little bit in the picture. so ... I think we can all agree that the true lomograph is true to its moment no ? to the moment in which it was taken. so everybody is shooting to capture this moment as naturally as possible no? what you see is what you get, that's why everybody gets their own "like"button to judge. Lets just enjoy the imagery :)

  44. fmadera
    fmadera ·

    it's the analogue nature that makes it "Lomo", to summarize all , quote by jackpumpkinhead

  45. fmadera
    fmadera ·

    Ok in all the time I been taking picture this article has been the most illuminating one because you can read about everybody's passion for this ! Beautiful ideas and the fact that are all being shared here is amazing. Traditional Analogue, Lomography, Professional systems. they are all tree for one and once use only: to capture the moments that we want in life . pick any camera .. whatever who cares , but just make a picture, because if you miss that moment ,, its gone !

  46. fmadera
    fmadera ·

    sorry for the spelling mistakes :P, having a hang over here :PP

  47. buckshot
    buckshot ·

    P.S. For more on this topic, see this article from respected British arts commentator Bryan Appleyard:

  48. bobby_sekeris
    bobby_sekeris ·

    What a great article to read and I loved all the comments! I guess I agree most with Aroninvt
    "There's no wrong way to shoot a photograph, and adversely there is no right way either."
    Just remember to have fun!

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