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I've been seeing some buzz about lomography lately. I've been trying to understand what it is and how it is different from photography. Most refer to it as 'experimental analogue film photography'. Is that all there is to it? If I use my old film camera am I doing Lomography?

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up vote 20 down vote accepted

Wikipedia page: Lomography

Lomography was a fad from some time ago which involved using cheap, old Russian film cameras, primarily a camera called the LOMO LC-A, to create pictures with a poor technical quality.

The term is a trademark of Lomographische AG, an Austrian company who now manufacture that and a range of other cheap plastic cameras for sale in the same style as old plastic Russian cameras.

From Wikipedia:

Most Lomographic cameras are designed to produce photographic effects such as "oversaturated colors, extreme optical distortions, rainbow-colored subjects, off-kilter exposure, blurring and alternative film processing, all things usually considered bad in photography."[7] For example, the Lomography Fisheye camera features a built-in wideangle lens, and shoots fisheye-distorted photos. In 2005, production of the original Lomo LC-A was discontinued. Its replacement, the Lomo LC-A+, was introduced in 2006. The new camera, made in China rather than Russia, featured the original Russian lens manufactured by LOMO PLC.[8] This changed as of mid-2007 with the lens now made in China as well.

The idea was that having such a poor quality camera freed photographers from concentrating on their equipment and instead forced them to try and concentrate on the art of taking pictures - that is, composition and timing.

In a way, however, it was the Instagram of the 90s/2000s. Sure you could take a great photo with it, and there have been (and continue to be) serious photographers work with it, but along with this there were also a lot of what amounted to unskilled photographers taking boring photos with cheesy effects.

If done well, you could probably use it in a photography course as a learning aid to teach students to create pictures with poor equipment.

If I use my old film camera am I doing Lomography?

No. Lomography involved using specific cameras with non-interchangeable plastic lenses, limited apertures and sometimes little control over focus, and a lack of virtually any automated functions other than exposure time. Using a film SLR or even a compact film camera from the last 30-40 years is not Lomography.

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I think that's a great reason to upvote it ;) but at least instagram is a lot cheaper. Lomography went from cheap basic old cameras, to nasty cheap plastic copies being sold for ridiculously high prices because it is now trendy, with lots of expensive accesories –  Dreamager May 30 '13 at 16:03
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I'll be more than happy to chuck in the upvote that @dpollitt didn't. Instagram has its merits but, much like Lomography, it isn't about making images that are technically good in all aspects. –  Blrfl May 30 '13 at 16:03
    
@dpollitt "Sure you could take a great photo with it, and there have been (and continue to be) serious photographers work with it, but along with this there were also a lot of what amounted to unskilled photographers taking boring photos with cheesy effects." gives Instagram the justice it deserves. Lots of good photos/photographers but a lot more "I'm a photographer because I took a picture of my [feet/food/cleavage] and added a Valencia filter." Doesn't downplay the app as much as the people who use it. –  Vian Esterhuizen Jun 4 '13 at 19:32
    
Yes I agree. Instagram is a terrible product that has no place whatsoever in a discussion about photography. –  dpollitt Jun 4 '13 at 20:28
    
I edited my Lomography criticism a little to clarify what I meant, but I still stand by it. Like any photography-related fad, many have treated it as if it's a magic recipe for making a good photo, with groan-inducing results. To infer from my comments that I think either Lomography or Instagram is a "terrible product that has no place" is just being childish. I shouldn't have to defend myself by saying "but some people use it well" - that much is obvious. –  thomasrutter Jul 31 '13 at 5:08
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