The lomography spiel

Posted in LOMO, Oldschool/Classic Things, Photography by jukeboxparables on March 5, 2009

So I’ve always looked at photography with interest and intent. It takes a certain level of talent to pull it off well. But to do it at all, you have to actually have the time. At least that was the case pre-digital. So with the rolling in of the digital revolution being some-time past and some snazzy Nikon and Cannon hardware out there what did I decide to do?

Go Film of-course! Ugh.

Everyone’s used a film camera! So I went shopping and researching online. Mostly using Flickr to gauge what certain hardware/people were producing. Fairly keen-eyed I started to notice a certain style amongst users of LOMO cameras. I then stumbled across the back story.


General Igor Petrowitsch Kornitzky, right-hand man to the USSR Minister of Defense and Industry, slammed a little Japanese mini-camera onto the ornate desk of his comrade Michail Panfilowitsch Panfiloff. Mr Panfiloff, Director of the powerful LOMO Russian Arms and Optical factory, examined the camera closely, noting its sharp glass lens, extremely high light sensitivity and robust casing. The two gentlemen, realizing the superior nature and extreme potential of this strange little item, gave immediate orders to copy and improve the design – with the ultimate goal of producing the largest quantity possible for the pleasure and glory of the Soviet population. It was decided – every respectable Communist should have a LOMO KOMPAKT AUTOMAT of their own.

The LOMO LC-A was born, and millions of cameras were promptly produced and sold. The Soviets and their Socialist playmates in Vietnam, Cuba and East Germany snapped happily away throughout the nineteen eighties, fully documenting the last gasps of Communism, and the occasional beach vacation on the Black Sea.

Well at least… That’s what they tell us. But anyway then;


A handful of restless Viennese students are cruising though the capital in great early summer spirits, enjoying the new-found Czech democracy. By this year, the LC-A’s time in the sunshine was coming to a close.

Weakened by dirt cheap, battery-powered imports from Asia, the LC-A’s popularity was waning, and it was available only at quirky, old-school camera shops. It was at an establishment such as this, where the Viennese students happened upon the adorable camera, and bought a couple for fun. Back on the resplendent streets of Prague, they zipped through the first few rolls of film: shooting from above and through their legs, shooting from the hip, and even sometimes looking through the viewfinder.

Back in Vienna they soon had the whole bag of film developed at the trusty corner supermarket (super cheapo!) and received a real surprise: Thousands of small, amusing, sad, garish shots of their little tour, wonderful focused and unfocussed images fresh from life in the Czech Republic. The images were amazing, dazzling all those present with a crushing sense of excitement – the likes of which they had never felt before.

That’s pretty irresistible to my sentiments. I don’t even care if it that’s all true. It’s one hell of a marketing sell. But what matters is the actual product is genuine. Sure you can get the same effect LOMO’s do using post-ed in photoshop but what is the point? It IS that aspect of not knowing what your viewfinder is going to do that gives it all a refreshing feel.

But anyway to wrap-up the Russian LOMO’s went out of production and a company bought up the leftovers and has since started producing copies and marketing a worldwide revival movement. They also sell a bunch of similar zany cameras such as the Holga and Supersampler. It’s all good I take my hat off to them.

I still couldn’t buy into that and go to a trendy hip-scenester store in Paddington and shell out $450 for a Chinese copy though. So I hooked up some mother-country connections and had an authentic LOMO LC-A at my door in 3weeks (made in Russia in 1984!) and I’ve definitely fallen in love with it.

And heres some of my favourites;

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