Sunday August 1 2010 / Art & Design
In 1991 a group of Viennese students discovered the Lomo Kompakt Automat when on holiday in Prague. This mass-produced Soviet camera was so cheap and easy to use that they shot rolls of film, ignoring the established rules of "serious" photography. The resulting snaps were often strange to look at, out of focus and, due to the character of the Lomo lens, garishly coloured. But they were wonderfully fresh and thanks to some clever marketing, the craze for Lomo spread worldwide.
Lomography emphasizes casual, snapshot photography. Characteristics such as over-saturated colors, off-kilter exposure, blurring, "happy accidents," and alternative film processing are often considered part of the "Lomographic Technique" Lomo photographers are encouraged to take a lighthearted approach to their photography document everyday life.
The Lomo LC-A's small size, simple controls, and ability to shoot in low light encourages candid photography, photo reportage, and following the 10 Golden Rules, with particular emphasis on No.10.
1. Take your camera everywhere you go.
2. Use it any time – day and night.
3. Lomography is not an interference in your life, but part of it.
4. Try the shot from the hip.
5. Approach the objects of your Lomographic desire as close as possible.
6. Don’t think.
7. Be fast.
8. You don’t have to know beforehand what you captured on film.
9. Afterwards either.
10. Don’t worry about any rules.
Since the introduction of the original Lomo LC-A, Lomography has produced and marketed an entire line of cameras, most designed to produce just a single photographic effect. For example, the Lomography Fisheye camera features a built-in wideangle lens and shoots fisheye-distorted photos.
Similar to the "Kodak moment," the Lomography motto of "Don't think, just shoot" presumes spontaneity, close-ups, and ubiquity, while deemphasizing formal technique.
Typical lomography cameras are deliberately low-resolution and inexpensively constructed. Some cameras make use of multiple lenses and rainbow-colored flashes, or exhibit extreme optical distortions and even light leaks.
Today the Lomographic Society has embassies across the globe with Lomography.com as its base. Hundreds participate in international Lomo events and add to the ever-growing LomoWorldArchive.
Visit the Lomographic Society website to find out more about Lomo.