Established in 1992 in Vienna, Austria, analogue camera brand Lomography have been waging war on digital photography for nearly 25 years. Developing analogue and instant cameras, along with interchangeable art lenses, they are bringing the fun back into photography and with a rapidly growing community of over 1,000,000 passionate followers worldwide, the interactive, vivid and blurred Lomography way of life is catching on fast.
Beginning with a fateful encounter in the early 1990s, a group of young Viennese students touring Prague stumbled across a historic Lomo Kompakt Automat camera from Russia and began ‘shooting from the hip’. For those not clued-up on the photography vernacular, the technique is quite literally holding the camera at waist level and shooting upwards without looking in the viewfinder. Upon their return to Vienna, they had the old camera’s film developed and discovered the vibrant colours, deep saturation and vignettes that it had produced – something they had never seen before. After sharing the images with friends back home, everyone wanted their own camera of this kind igniting a new style of artistic experimental photography which quickly became known as Lomography. The brand’s first camera to be developed was the LOMO LC-A which is a reinvention of the Lomo Kompakt Automat.
The Lomographic Society International (LSI) was founded in 1992 followed in the summer by the creation of the legendary ’10 Golden Rules of Lomography’ as a guide to the movement, commandments that still form the foundations of the brand today. The ever-popular LOMO LC-A was succeeded by further analogue designs to promote photographic creativity. These included Fisheye cameras, Konstruktor cameras, Diana F+ and Diana Mini cameras and the particularly inventive Actionsampler and Supersampler cameras which allows four sequential action shots to be captured on one 35mm photograph.
To add even further diversity to the Lomography collection which has also expanded to include interchangeable lenses for even more artistic effects, the brand launched a crowdfunding Kickstarter project to enforce their commitment to experimental photography in 2013. The Petzval portrait lens is legendary in photography circles and was first conceived in the 19th century. In a world where most modern lenses are designed to minimise field curvature, the Petzval lens offers an entirely different optical effect. Now produced in Russia by Zenit, the Lomography New Petzval 85 Art Lens, is a reinvention of one of the greatest lenses ever made and offers extreme sharpness, strong colour saturation, artful vignetting and a unique swirling bokeh background on every image. The popularity of the Petzval lens led to another crowdfunded project which saw the brand create the feature packed Lomo’Instant camera which reignited the brand’s fans’ love for instant photography.
With a 1 million strong following, the Lomography website serves as an information and interaction hub hosting the largest analogue photo community in the world with up to 1,500,000 images uploaded every year. The LomoHomes community, an analogue alternative to Instagram, allows Lomographical Society members to upload their images and use the platform to communicate and share photos, stories and information. The never-ending stream of snapshots creates a global Lomographic portrait as seen through the eyes of countless individuals and cultures.
Lomography seek to document the world around us by promoting photography as a creative outlet to communicate, absorb and capture our surroundings. In a time where so much of life is seen through digital screens, the brand emphasise the importance of classic photography and champion the enjoyment to be had from taking the time to create artistic images of moments and travels which become a key part of the journey in itself.