Lomography – The Simple Pleasure of Kitsch Photography


There is something to be said for simple plastic cameras, the kind that have basic controls, one speed, auto-focus. They were really popular in the 80s and 90s, and to this day live on in our smartphones and lines of cheap point and shoot cameras. And little joys abound in the fact that we get to quit worrying about if the light is right or the framing is perfect, or our aperture is set correctly. It’s nice to be able to just shoot. That’s photography 101, really. If you see something you like, point your camera and make a memory. Lomography KonstructorThis past weekend I took the Lomography Konstruktor kit camera out with a roll of black and white film. It was fun. It’s not the greatest camera in the world, but it’s just neat to toy with. It’s got a plastic lens, a dark waist-level viewfinder, and while it has a focus movement, it’s really just “3′ or Infinity.” But it reminded me that I had been missing film for a while. I wasn’t inspired enough to really go shoot anything because I’d been carrying a really nice digital camera around (not that it’s a bad thing), and worrying more about what I was going to do with it instead of just getting out there and making photos. It was obvious I needed a reboot.For SaleIf you’ve followed this blog, you know I really dig the look of Lomography, and I’ve even tweaked one of my cameras into a sort of Frankenstein to mimic the style.  It does its job really well. It gives me the grain I want, the vignetting I like, and with the built-in film emulations in the X Pro 1, it actually has some nice contrast. It’s pretty damn cool. I’ve taken it to the zoo and had some fantastic results. In fact, if I went on vacation, I might actually consider taking it instead of a film camera just for fun.FrankenHolgaAnd there’s not a thing wrong with that. It’s why I built the FrankenHolga. I like Film , but realize that I can’t blow 12 shots, reload, blow 12 again, and expect to be able to enjoy the immediate satisfaction of digital unless I made a digital Holga for myself. That’s not to say the film Holga isn’t a super fun toy either, but the instant gratification isn’t there. Something worth protestingThe film Holga is no slouch. It delivers on it’s promise of you might get a good shot, but we guarantee you’ll get something. And the Konstruktor is the same, except with a little bit more control and a smaller image. The advantage of the Konstrucktor is that it’s an SLR so I can see through the lens without parallax distortion. The other benefit — yes, I consider this a benefit — is the focus is a crap shoot. Again, the lens does focus but it’s pretty spartan, and you can take a whole roll of shots you think are out of focus and they’ll be sharp as a tack, or vice-versa.Konstruktor - Pool TimeAnd that is not all, no that is not all! No, you get that 1980s vintage vibe. That’s the other neat thing about Lomography. You can take a photo that looks like it was from the 70s or 80s and share it with your friends #nofilter needed.Holga 120 FlowersSure, it’s kitschy. Maybe a better word would be carefree . It really is a freedom, too. It’s the chance to get excited about the results while simply focusing on the subject, not the camera. There are ways to set the digital cameras up to emulate this without having to Frankenstein something together. A piece of saran wrap over the lens, some color filters, shooting through a magnifying glass, even those goofy lens accessories for smart phones can turn a normal photo into a Lomo photo. I encourage everybody to give Lomography a shot, not just for the sense of freedom and enjoyment it provides, but for the sense of adventure and creativity it kindles. You might end up creating that family portrait you’ve always wanted, or recorded your trip overseas in a unique way.

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1 Comment

  1. […] have an affinity for plastic cameras. They generally take sub par photos full of light leaks and soft corners. […]

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