Lomography - this is how you inspire the younger generation into film

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by gr82bart, Dec 12, 2017.

  1. Ces1um

    Ces1um Subscriber

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    I think the whole point of lomography is to just keep people shooting film (and for them to make some money and employ some people in the meantime). Realistically people only use their phones for photos these days. Nobody buys a film camera or really even a DSLR these days. If the odd rare person wanted to try film, do you think they'd want to spend a lot of money on a high end film camera like a new leica or a linhof? No. They'd take baby steps into the whole thing. They'd either buy a cheap Diana and some inexpensive film or maybe find an old camera that a relative still has lying around. They also aren't likely going to teach themselves how to shoot fully manual right off the bat. People are used to touching their phone screen to take a photo and the phone doing everything else. You want those people to not take things too seriously because if they go out expecting perfection on day one they're going to get frustrated quickly. If you set expectations low then people have fun with it and may enjoy using film cameras. If they enjoy it, then they research more about it and eventually mature into "proper" technical photography. If lomography gets those people interested in film photography, then I'm all for it. In fact, that's exactly how I got into photography. I found the lomo website, liked some of the photos and thought I'd give it a try. I borrowed my dad's old Pentax k2 and shot on automatic until it died a few months later. I got a k1000 second hand, posted my photos to their website and got a lot of positive feedback. I've bought some lomo cameras. I've liked them. I also have some expensive cameras (I bought a new voigtlander bessa R3M and a few thousand dollars worth of lenses). I enjoy shooting all of them. Some of my best photos were taken on an lca-120, an lc-a+ and an old lubitel 166u. I still have my "lomohome" and post photos regularly there. I'm also a paying member of photrio but haven't posted a single photo here. I think the reasons for that are obvious- this is not a friendly community most days. I come here for the technical know how and occasionally get caught up in discussions like this one. If anybody is interested in what a "lomographer" can produce, I encourage you to visit my stupidly named "Lomohome".

    https://www.lomography.com/homes/ces1um/photos?order=popular

    There you'll find photos taken with high end cameras along with cheaper lower end ones. You'll see films of varying pedigree like Ferrania P30, Ektar and Fuji superia 1600 standing alongside lomography's rebranded films. What you won't see there is a lot of negativity for attempting something and maybe not achieving a fantastic result. You certainly won't see people playing race cards, calling people suckers, daft and ignorant. Some of my photos are good. Some blow. I show them all. I could certainly curate them to make myself look like I'm a fantastic photographer but I'm still learning and having too much fun to bother doing that.
     
  2. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I guess it doesn't hurt to be referred to as "seasoned", although that tends to make me think of myself as a target for the bar-be-que :blink:.
    But I think you are slightly mistaken about film and film cameras.
    I have no problem with people who like to play with the erratic and undependable edges of the film and analogue photographic equipment market. If they are having fun or being inspired - great and go for it.
    But it is important to differentiate those sorts of materials and that sort equipment from the much more dependable and infinitely more capable and expressive high quality, mainstream materials and equipment that are still available.
    Those materials and that equipment are just as capable of happy accidents. Those happy accidents come from how they are used, not the vagaries of the materials. They are, however, infinitely more capable of dependable and reliable results that exhibit accurate colour and faithful reproduction - when that is what is being sought.
    The sort of results that I was able to accomplish when I was eight years old using 127 size Kodacolour film in a Kodak Brownie Starmite camera.
     
  3. wyofilm

    wyofilm Subscriber

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    You rocked it Ces1um! I had decided to abandon this thread because it jumped the shark a long while back. I had been trying to make similar points all along, but you did it better.
     
  4. macfred

    macfred Subscriber

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    This is a contribution that touches me positively - thank you ! I like your "Lomohome" album.
     
  5. blockend

    blockend Member

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    Isn't that what every simple point and shoot camera, from the box brownie onward, offered?
     
  6. Pioneer

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    I have owned my LC-A 120 almost exactly 2 years this December and it has held up well. I don't use it a whole bunch, around 40 rolls in the last couple of years, but enough to feel confident with it. It is certainly not perfect and I apologize if I left that impression. Nothing has ever fallen off of mine but I don't always get a full 12 frames from a roll of film, even when I think I loaded the film right. The shutter is very stiff and requires good discipline to avoid camera shake. Loading film can sometimes be challenging though I have gotten better at this over time and don't have as many problems as I used to. You have to insert the roll at the top and then press it over a spring loaded peg at the bottom and if you don't get it in right at the top it will not snap in at the bottom. But the camera has very good points as well, so it balances out for me.

    I own a number of folders and I love them all, but in most ways the LCA 120 is easier and quicker to use. It is lighter. The rangefocusing arrangement is quite simple and easy to work with. Exposure is very good though the only way to make plus or minus compensation is by adjusting the ISO setting up and down. I typically use ISO 400 film because by going to ISO 200 or 100 I get a plus one or two compensation and by going to ISO 800 or 1600 I can compensate the other way if I feel I need. Obviously, with the lattitude that most color films bring to the table the metering is very good. Black and white still requires the ability to compensate one direction or the other to get the best out of it.

    The lens seems quite good and it is a 38mm wide angle. I know that it is made of glass, not plastic like my Holga. I use a 35mm lens on my Pentax 645 so I am comfortable working with that focal length. Lomo says it has 5 elements in 4 groups but I don't know which lens design that would be the equivalent of. It has some vignetting but on film it doesn't seem to be a big issue. The image quality is not the same as the Heliar on my Bessa II, but then not many lenses in this category are that nice.
     
  7. blockend

    blockend Member

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    I'm not sure that's the case, though it can get geeky at times and contains strong opinions. I'm very sympathetic to the point and shoot ethos, and get through a lot of film in simple cameras of various types, as well as being a fan of name photographers who work in that idiom. My issue, if slight bewilderment can be described as such, is the Coals to Newcastle aspect of Lomography. It's marketing something as novel that was entirely mainstream until quite recently, and making it bespoke and consequently expensive. Most of the film ever sold went through unsophisticated cameras that failed to exhaust the film's capabilities technically (in terms of exposure), or optically. Most people's family albums were devoid of photographs that could be described as sharp, and snapshots were very small and frequently blurry.

    To have never had access to such pictures, you'd have to be under 20 or had a camera buff in the family. I understand the attraction of ambiguity such images cast on reality, I don't get why it should generate a club mentality or attract a big ticket price. My plea to someone starting out in film is don't spend a lot of money, and experiment with cameras and film, preferably developing your own as it'll work out much cheaper. Sharpness is an over-rated quality and evoking strong emotion is rare whatever equipment is used. Don't get sucked into the commodification of qualities gear alone cannot deliver.
     
  8. Pioneer

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    Sure. They can all be great fun to use. To me the Holga is quite similar to the Brownie as I think that this was the type of result the Chinese were aiming for when they built it.

    Obviously the build quality is very different but they were put together in very different times and countries.
     
  9. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    +1

    There are plenty of simple cameras that take respectable photos like the Kodak box Brownies. One does not have to recommend a shoddily built Lomo as a means to encourage the younger generation to get interested in photography. To do so is a disservice.
     
  10. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I find the community to be very friendly - just not always agreeable.
    Sort of like families.
    I expect the reason that parts of the Lomography world are disagreeable to some here is that it sometimes seems to be attributing virtues to things that appear to some as vices.
    But mostly because the prices just seem weird.
    Sort of like Leicas.
    There was a store on Granville Island in Vancouver for a number of years that sold all sorts of eclectic gift and other stuff. It had a decent selection of Lomography product. The displays were interesting and colourful, the prices for things like Lubitel cameras seemed extra-ordinary (high!), but the highlight to me was that the display was always situate immediately below the store's prominent sign stating "No Photography Allowed".
    Beau Photo in Vancouver do a nice job of incorporating Lomography products and inspiration with more traditional materials and equipment and technical support and knowledge. They also have an excellent selection of inexpensive used cameras which are both high in quality and supported by a short warranty and excellent people.
     
  11. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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  12. blockend

    blockend Member

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    If only one had a time machine. Back in '85/86 I came across a camera shop I must have passed a hundred times and never even noticed. The type of place that had yellow cellophane on the windows to stop the shop display fading, but the contents had been there so long they'd faded anyway. It was in a rundown, somewhat dangerous district, and the thing that drew my attention was a large closing down sale sign. Even that wasn't enough to tempt me until it looked like closure was immanent, and I went in. It was a time capsule, though what they'd actually sold in the previous thirty years apart from the occasional film is difficult to image. Most of the little remaining stock was marked up in pre-decimal currency (1971), and was offered in original point of sales displays going back years.

    There was no shortage of defunct gear, lens hoods and filters in impossible sizes, and little leather pouches for holding the same. Brackets for fitting non-existent items to long dead camera brands. For Lomographers it would have been the motherlode, cameras so bad they'd never left their cases and offers silly or sensible were not declined. The advertising alone would have bought a very nice holiday. Before the internet equalized global culture and gentrification raised rents, such places actually existed. If it ever had a heyday it must have been brief, probably someone's demob' cash sunk into a hobby. We shall not see their like again.
     
  13. Cholentpot

    Cholentpot Member

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    I agree with you Matt. Film is mature and extremely capable. It's stable and reliable. However it is far more capable of being prone to errors than other mediums. A lot of us enjoy this the same way people enjoy driving a stick-shift no power steering in an full auto world. For those that learned to drive without an automatic transmission and power steering it's no big deal. For us that grew up with full auto cars learning to shift and to wrench the wheel around is a big accomplishment. Double that if we change our own oil.

    I grew up with film, digital came around when I was a teen/young adult. However I never really used film like I do now. With every roll that I nail, and every silly blooper I feel a major accomplishment. Even more when I do something stupid and off the beaten path and it works. And if I can replicated it even better! I feel that film photography has infinite possibilities beyond it being a mature medium. For me there is more to film than preserving a moment, it's an accomplishment in itself to shoot and use when there are easier and just as capable - if not more so - mediums available today.
     
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  15. jnanian

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    sorry for asking but why is it that you equate defunct gear /bad cameras ?
    as stated in this thread by people who have used cameras made by lomo
    the cameras work fine, and well enough to by another ..
    not sure how lomo got a reputation for cameras that don't take pictures
    cause the lomo website has tons of lomo pictures ( made by their cameras &c )...

    maybe its not the camera that doesn't work but the operator ?
    regular people sometimes have trouble with the simplest of tasks ...
    (like pushing a button )
     
  16. blockend

    blockend Member

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    I was trying to introduce some levity into a thread and reminisce about the days cheap cameras came cheap.
     
  17. Ste_S

    Ste_S Member

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    Like your Lomohome very much. Had been meaning to investigate starting one myself, how do you find the community there ?
    I put most of my stuff on Instagram at the moment, but it's a bit soulless really. People just chasing for likes and followers
     
  18. RalphLambrecht

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    I exclusively write and sign with a fountain pen just because it's easier to write with and less painful on my arthritis-ridden hands.
     
  19. RalphLambrecht

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  20. OP
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    gr82bart

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    I've been writing with a fountain pen since my twenties. I've amassed a collection too. Post for another controversial thread.
     
  21. jnanian

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    oops, my bad :wondering:
     
  22. Ces1um

    Ces1um Subscriber

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    Well Lomography definitely has people chasing likes and followers too- but I find a huge number of people reach out and contact you. Some want to know more about where you live, others want to do a film swap (double exposure type thing), and others literally just become pen pals. It does take some time though to "meet" people there but it is rewarding.
     
  23. Ces1um

    Ces1um Subscriber

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    My dog absolutely hated that cone. It was hilarious. If you want to have a real laugh at a dogs expense, buy it a pair of "muttluks" (velcro fastened sneakers). I put them on my dog because he had a really bad time with the road salt one year with his paws. He went absolutely mad, running around like a seal flipping it's flippers. Eventually, just to show us how unimpressed he was he squatted down, tilted a bit to the left and peed on the back sneaker. God it was hilarious. Best $30 ever spent.
     
  24. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    ces1um, thanks,
    your story made me laugh pretty hard :smile:
    i always wondered about those weird shoes !

    i keep thinking of that b52s song quiche loraine ! :smile:
    you know ...
    Has anybody seen a dog dyed dark green
    'bout two inches tall, with a strawberry blond paw;
    Sunglasses and a bonnet
    and designer jeans with appliques on it ....
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017
  25. canuhead

    canuhead Member

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    Where young people are being brought into the fold and converted, and I don't believe this has even been mentioned here, are the schools that still have photography programs, and by extension, working darkrooms.

    Without school photography programs and darkrooms, who else will keep local camera shows going lol ?

    Merry Christmas, happy holidays to everyone, and do try to avoid the Boxing Day stampedes.
     
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    gr82bart

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    Why does it not surprise me old men are clueless about today's kids.....