So, why do I love Lomography??
So in 2009 I was presented a little bright coloured box by my then boyfriend Jonny. The packaging was awesome and I looked inside. He had bought me the Diana+ camera. As I read the booklet that came with it I was so excited. I had previously played around with a Canon 450D that Jonny bought me and had been part of the Flickr community. This seemed different.
I began taking images on the Diana+ and soon realised actually how hard it can be to get amazing results, so I though I would join the Lomography.com community to get some tips. I met lots of different people from all over the country and the world. The spirit of the community was such a help for me. As someone who is mainly self taught the digital world of Flickr can sometimes be a tad snooty and I would often feel apprehensive about uploading my work. Looking back at the time when I started taking pictures I was actually a little scared of my big digital SLR. Sometimes it even seemed to do stuff without me telling it to and would even tell me it was busy! I now know it was due to my lack of skill and confidence. When I started to get into the spirit of Lomography it gave my confidence such a boost. It opened me up to thinking creatively. They have 10 golden rules that are there to inspire and help you.
1 › Take your camera everywhere you go.
Did you know that the best photos come out of spontaneous, impulsive situations and that many are therefore never taken, simply due to the lack of a camera? Your camera can fast becomes an integral part of your body and soul. Unexpected, spontaneous sudden moments. Open your eyes and always have your camera with you.
2 › Use it any time – day and night.
Your feelings, your memory and your Lomographs; they all mix up to a new, complete, more authentic view and perception of yourself and your life. You don’t only perceive in sunshine, daytime, on holidays and on Aunt Frida’s birthday, do you? So keep shooting in any environment, every day and every night, be aware, and create yourself, your being, your design. Shoot restlessly and give your memory a kick in the ass with your lovely, crap, beautiful, artistic and silly Lomographs.
3 › Lomography is not an interference in your life, but part of it.
You work with the camera, you drink with the camera, you sleep with the camera. Lomography becomes a natural and communicative habit of your life, just like talking, walking, eating, thinking, laughing and loving.
4 › Try the shot from the hip.
A normal photographer’s point of view – looking through the viewfinder – is somehow always physically finite; it’s limited to somewhere between 1.1 metres and 2.2 metres above ground. But what happens down below and up above, from a dog, cat, baby, bug, slug, bird and insect perspective? Don’t hide behind your camera; break free from nonsensical conventions. Don’t look through the viewfinder; forget about safety margins and unnecessary shyness!
5 › Approach the objects of your Lomographic desire as close as possible.
Just as with people, you have to be sweet, nice, comprehensive and interested to get to know the very inside of your subject. As soon as you feel the right moment- take a picture! Try it and you’ll see that the deep affection for your Lomographed subject is strongly reflected in your image. Get in contact with your subject and build up a relationship.
6 › Don’t think. (William Firebrace)
Don’t think! Throw your intellectual socialisation over board, let the unfiltered flow of information circulate freely, untreated and unrated in your mind. Shoot, feel, perceive and shoot, have fun, shoot whatever catches your eye, whatever attracts you, astounds you, excites you, seduces you.
7 › Be fast
Calmly hold your finger towards your camera, trust in yourself and in the automatic exposure, grab your guts and be quick to catch the wink of time and accidental destiny. Hold your breath, be brave, take a chance, move, shoot, run, have fun, act fast – that’s Lomography!
8 › You don’t have to know beforehand what you captured on film.
You can never foresee the results of what you’re getting with a film camera, as you find yourself in constant interaction between camera mechanics, raw (and quite often expired) film, chemical emulsion baths, the goodwill of your lab technician, natural and artificial light, your artistic guidance and many other factors that can’t be relied on. You do it because it’s great fun, because it makes you curious, because it’s very exciting to know that you never know what you’ll get and because it allows your creativity, intuition and inspiration to soar heights you never imagined!
9 › Afterwards either.
A few days later you get your Lomographs from the lab and can’t believe your eyes: who’s that? What’s that colour? When did I shoot that? Whose hair is this? Is that you? No it’s Sabrina… interesting, and Hansi’s feet too… bewildering, your butterfly collection, what a shame, a bottle of schnapps, a huge head, blurs, surprises, smiles, teeth, accidental double-exposures…
You’ll never completely understand the world. But you’ll understand your Lomographs even less!
Don’t try to analyse them: look at them in a different way and let them tell you their story, which is also automatically your story.
and the most important!
10 › Don’t worry about any rules.
Don’t listen to others; remain true to yourself, follow your inner Lomographic voice and never forget that not all that glitters is a golden rule.
Discover your own Lomography, forget about your education, socialisation, indoctrination, knowledge and everything you’ve learned and not learned about photography. Set free your innermost desires, never stop moving, never stop Lomographing; believe in yourself, focus on the important and not so important things, enjoy life in all its variations, forget about the camera in your hand and shoot ’til your eyes are glowing!…
So, using these rules along with the knowledge I gained from the online community, coupled with the encouragement from Jonny to actually approach people and ask them if I could take their portraits, boosted my skills and led me to the path I am on now. I ended up writing for their online magazine and won a few competitions with them too. It freed me really, opened my eyes and woke me up to new experiences. It also encouraged me to start at the begining with film and learn the fundamentals of photography using old vintage cameras. So if any of you lot out there are thinking of getting into photography I would say there’s no better place to start. I have met people in my life that have studied photography in great depth at university and they are so stuck in rules that they struggle to pick up their camera and see any worth in there images. You won’t get this if you stick to the above rules. You can always build on your knowledge of theory later. Lomography sell the most amazing film packs and the online community offer advice on tips, tricks and techniques. You can pick up old film cameras now pretty cheap on Ebay so you can be away in no time. In the coming months I will be uploading photo diaries I have previously written for the lomography magazine. This is really where my love for image making began. If you fancy leaving the digital grind behind and joining the analogue revolution for yourself go to http://www.lomography.com
Big love J x