A Lomo camera is essentially a really, really low quality camera built in Russia. That doesn’t stop it from having a nearly religious following, however, and with the right attitude when wielding one of these cameras, it can be a very liberating photography experience.
Fuelled more by the fantastic PR campaign than by the quality of the actual cameras, the Lomo cameras do something really clever: They trade on their weaknesses. Light leaks? It’s a feature! Bad vignetting on the lens? It adds to the charm!. Impossible to get a correct exposure? It opens up for creativity.
Call us crazy, but it’s actually pretty damn cool.
I used to own a Lomo a while ago, and you can, indeed, get some pretty cool-looking photos with them. Now that low-fi is in, and retro is the way forward, Lomography may be your cheap ticket into photography cool.
The rest of the world is also cottoning on. BBC four, for example, shares this:
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 “good” photography. The resulting snaps were often odd to look at, out of focus and, due to the character of the Lomo lens, garishly coloured. But they were wonderfully fresh. The craze for Lomo spread so fast that when, in 1996, the St Petersburg manufacturers threatened to stop making the camera, Lomographers stepped in to guarantee all future sales.
I won’t be pimping my own Lomo photos – they were good, but I didn’t quite like the unpredictability of the Lomo cameras myself, so I sold my camera again. For the examples, why not check out the photos on Flickr tagged with Lomo, or try the rampant fan-base over at the Flickr Lomo Group. There are also dozens of local groups worth checking out.