What Does "Lomo" Mean?

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by 25asa, Nov 25, 2012.

  1. I've seen this term used only in recent time, and wonder- what exactly does LOMO mean anyway? I think its in reference to using Holga type cameras, but haven't found anything to confirm that.
     
  2. Google makes it easy

    From lomography.com
    It began with a fateful encounter in the early 1990s, when a group of students in Vienna, Austria, stumbled upon the Lomo Kompakt Automat...​

    From Wikipedia
    LOMO (Russian: ЛОМО́) or Leningrad Optical Mechanical Amalgamation (Ленинградское Oптико-Mеханическое Oбъединение)​
     
  3. So all it is -is a company? I saw some reference to them making a Diana copy camera, which would back up the Holga connection.
     
  4. You really need to go to lomography.com and click on the About link
     
  5. I can't say that I understand the point of Lomography; using toy cameras with inferior plastic lenses, expired film, then often
    cross-processing that film in chemicals for which it was never intended seems a rebellion against technology, but perhaps
    that is the point. It's certainly not my thing, but anything that keeps people interested in film is a positive.
     
  6. SCL

    SCL

    I equate it to steampunk jewelry and the 'hipster" movement (except in the UK where the term hipster apparently refers to some sort of trousers). It seems to be some sort of mostly young people having fun with inexpensive "retro" tools to achieve a distinctive photographic vision.
     
  7. I recall in 1997, one of my workmates after viewing my work frustratingly stated that my work was, "Too Technical for her." She then showed her work out of a Holga. I didn't judge her result, or cast aspersions that it was what is was. That was my introduction to what was in that case, and many as a rebellious approach to the notion of Photography. I found it interesting that they insisted my work was problematic for them, as they casted it, and insisted that it was their way or the highway. Funny that at all, groups should break out over an art form, one claiming dominance over another like this is some sort of gangland activity forbidding the use of Aperture, and Shutter speed control. Having said that, I've seen works from these machines that are admirable.
     
  8. I am with you Tony. I don't understand them either. The kind of things they do seem to work better with a p&s digital. But I would not want to say anything because like you I want more people to use film.
     
  9. I have a n old photo of my wife;'s grandparents taken with some kind of square 620 or 127 camera is is clear and reasonably sharp.
    I also have seen [photos from my wife's brownie hawkeys.,
    and my old old photos from my 16 exposure minicam. all seem as good or better
    than the Holga / diana cameras.
    I asked a few months ago, If there was some kind of eye-level camera with a real lens and shutter.
    sort of a Diane with a real lens. they are few and far between.
    even the very Cheap 1950's Kodak
    "advanced style" box cameras were better.
    I just cannot see it.
     
  10. I'm 54, but maybe that's too old to understand the lure of Lomography? Maybe I'm just too old to 'get it'? My generation was always interested in the sharpest lenses, the finest grain films, etc. Then along comes the Lomographers that seem to want to do everything possible to degrade their images, a complete 180, and at a relative steep price. Certainly they could further degrade images from an already crappy, cheap digital point and shoot or phone cam, and not have the expense of processing? Hey, but if it keeps the film machines rolling, I'm all for it :)
     
  11. It means Leningrad Optical Mechanical Conglomerate, Leningrad is Soviet name for St. Petersburg.
    I was starting with their camera, when i was a kid.
     
  12. SCL

    SCL

    this just popped up on BBC - 20 Years of Lomography http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-20442725
     
  13. "I can't say that I understand the point of Lomography . . ."

    Keep in mind there are many millions of people who don't understand the point of shooting film. Or shooting black & white. Or spending lots of money on cameras. Or typing messages on an internet forum about photography.
     
  14. I think it looks fun. After all. How many photoshop users can't resist oversaturating and otherwise seriously, and we are given to know, artistically altering a photo. I think this is just more of the same. I remember back in the 70's messing around with the E-6 processing kits to get some odd effects. Its photoshop for film.
    The new Corel Paintshop Pro X5 Ultimate has a feature called Retro lab. It is designed to give you old timey lofi film effects similar to LOMO effects. There are youtube videos showing how to do it.
     
  15. I shoot many types of film with many types of cameras to get different effects and styles. I like lomo film and why not use it. I think it is better then using photo shop to get an effect but most have no problems with photo shop so we should except Lomo as an alternative . I have read and heard that Holga film photos have outsold digital prints in the same art shows and have heard/read it on forums and from a photogrpaher i know, who's friend shoots with Holga's.
     
  16. The "Lomo" mystique is even being used on ebay. Some sellers of expired film (especially film for which chemistry is out of production for like C-22) will have Lomography or similar Lomo terms as part of the item description.
    The earliest Lomo I heard of was a small, scale focus, point and shoot (sporting a 35mm f2.8 lens) and autoexposure that some enthusiast would shoot from the hip (without using viewfinder) to see what they could get. Of course if one wants to take pictures this way they could pick up an Olympus Stylus Epic or Nikon Lite Touch for a fraction of the cost and have a better camera as well.
     
  17. "I'm 54, but maybe that's too old to understand the lure of Lomography? Maybe I'm just too old to 'get it'? My generation was always interested in the sharpest lenses, the finest grain films, etc. Then along comes the Lomographers that seem to want to do everything possible to degrade their images..."​
    Tony, I'm 55 and not too old to understand it. After spending several years on technically sound and correct b&w photography I found it uninspiring. I wasn't motivated and wasn't really enjoying photography anymore.
    It was a relief to admit that since I was a kid first getting into photography, I was always drawn to ordinary snapshots and hints of the odd among the seemingly mundane. Most of the photographers whose work I find compelling have styles that might be termed the snapshot aesthetic. I find most family or personal documentary photography fascinating. I'm probably among the few visitors who won't mind looking through the family photo album on the coffee table.
    "...seem to want to do everything possible to degrade their images..."​
    Some photographers, notably Emil Schildt, have elevated this to a unique art form. In recent years Sally Mann has used hand coated collodion plates which, in a video documentary, she says she enjoys for the flaws that result from her technique - as contrasted against the earliest practitioners who mastered collodion coatings to minimize such flaws.
    "Hey, but if it keeps the film machines rolling, I'm all for it :)"​
    Now *that* I can agree with.
     
  18. zml

    zml

    One can create photographic "art" (whatever
    it is) with any camera but I'm afraid that
    Lomography is just a fuzzy expression of a
    very fuzzy idea.
     
  19. I like the lomo/holga/diana movement. I like that it allows more people to experience all the joys of film photography and developing film. I
    like that it keeps demand up for film products. And I like that so many schools are firing up their old dark rooms. I enjoy taking my Holga out
    for a spin. It makes me think differently about photography. And I am 54 also.
     
  20. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Based on what I've seen, "lomo" means hipster sucka.
     
  21. Lomo's La Sardina model just screams meows "Hello, Kitty".
     
  22. Back before I had heard of the concept of "Lomo" I was exhibiting at a gallery with several other artists, there was one other photographer and she asked me if I knew anything about cameras. It turned out she had no idea how to use her entirely manual West German Practica. She would just focus and hoped for the best. She told me she liked the element of surprise not knowing if what she got would be amazing or a wash.
    Fast forward to today, I have some hipster friends (I'm 30) and they all seem to be interested in our photographic past and want to know about film, they just assume that bad pictures are what film is all about.
     
  23. I personally don't like the results of the Lomography concept / idea. Having said that I popped in recently in the Lomography shop here in Milan, not too far away from my office, and I found a very buzzy and fresh atmosphere. Lots of ideas, discussions - they showed me their brand new 6x12 camera and we chatted about whether a large format camera was in the pipeline.
    Everything centered around film photography, and I myself like it very much if people are still shooting film. Only negative point: all the people in the shop were half my age - I'm 50 next year. Well, not that negative, some girls around were definitively pretty, but let's say I was a bit puzzled..
     
  24. many years ago (before 'Lomo' was coined) i took a all plastic camera to a wedding; it was a 4x4 all plastic 'Diana' (or Diana clone-can't remember) which i brought from the local "TG&Y" discount store. It was in the Toy section next to the plastic water pistel. About 50 cents. I took it as well as my regular cameras (nikon,hasselblad) and later when i got back with the photos the couple prefered Diana shots. They didn't know what cameras i was really using; they didn't say "was "THIS" taken by a Leica single stoke or double stoke". They were ONLY interested in the RESULTS! The image....
     
  25. I am sixty-one years old, and I like, y'know, totally get Lomo. Sure, some of it is about 'hipster' coolness and Thinking Different®. A lot of it is about a reaction to the ridiculous complexity of digital cameras. The bloody manual for a mid-range P&S is only slightly shorter than War and Peace and the latter is easier to understand. As someone on this forum said, we don't know what the tulip and the one-legged dancer do. When I worked at the late, not-much-lamented Ritz Camera, I sold a lot of cameras. I quickly learned not to talk too much about features, modes, etc. Want to make a customer's eyes glaze over? Try to explain white balance. The most common help I provided for users was to reset their cameras to factory defaults. And even that wasn't easy. Which of the forty-seven menus do I need? God help the poor souls who were talked into DSLRs.
    Lomo is the opposite of digital. No menus, no nothing. Point camera, take picture. Send film out, get film back with prints. No worry about Eye-Cue, See-A or even Bokeh. Can you imagine Suzie Hipster saying, "I need to upgrade to the new Holga MkIV. It's got a much worse lens, and way cooler light leaks!" The digital equivalent of Lomo is iPhone-ography. Point phone, take picture. Run picture through random app. Upload picture.
     
  26. One might not like the Lomography hype, but I think any company that encourages the use of film cameras should be congratulated. Young folks WANT to learn about shooting film. Eventually, some of them will "get it" and move on to better technique, etc. But it's really a movement against instant perfection -- and digital has no soul. Believe what you want, but Lomography has been around 20 years, and that says something. This is about having FUN with your camera.
     
  27. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    digital has no soul​

    Film doesn't either. Only the photographer can have soul. Really, this kind of nonsense hurts newcomers to photography, it should be about helping people with their photographs regardless of their medium.
    This is about having FUN with your camera.​

    That should happen with any camera, including phone cameras.
     
  28. except in the UK where the term hipster apparently refers to some sort of trousers

    Over here it refers to both the trousers and the meaning you know of. Some hipsters even wear hipster trousers (I might be making up that last bit).
     
  29. Urban Outfitters is selling the Lomo camera and film lineup. Their demographic is younger in general, not just hipsters. Fine by me, whatever works is cool.
    The marketing is reminiscent of Kodak's 1890s marketing strategy, which was so effective "Kodak" became synonymous with "snapshooters". Those 1890s Kodak ads heavily targeted women, and were remarkably restrained and free of condescending sexism. The Chicago Exposition (World's Fair) tried to ban or limit the use of "Kodaks", in favor of designated photographers providing prints and postcards. An elderly Frank James posted a sign on the fence entrance to his ranch banning "Kodaks". James had learned a lesson from his mercenary mom, Zerelda, who conned visitors into giving her photos, which she'd autograph and then resell to the next visitors.
    The more things change...
     
  30. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    Like Lex said:

    http://www.legendsofamerica.com/photos-missouri/FrankJamesAtFarm-500.jpg
     
  31. Hmmm... now that I look at that photo again, apparently Frank James was either threatening or promising bare Kodaks, not sure which. Now I wonder whether those fetching models for Kodak ads were "bared" as well, from or *on* the James ranch.
     
  32. Lomo's La Sardina model just screams meows "Hello, Kitty".​
    Actually it screams "over priced junk." Buy a used camera and walk away with a flexible tool you can use for a lifetime.
    A lot of it is about a reaction to the ridiculous complexity of digital cameras. The bloody manual for a mid-range P&S is only slightly shorter than War and Peace and the latter is easier to understand.​
    DLSRs all have an easy to select auto mode. When noobs ask me for advice I say start on full auto and commit to learning one new mode every few months. If you ever get flustered and have to take a shot just go back to your happy place, full auto. Your problem is you are approaching the camera manual like you are reading War and Peace. I advise people against that. Do not approach it in a linear fashion. Read the quick start guide and then commit to learning one feature at a time. Pick what interests you. Pick something at random. But whatever you do don't just slog though the manual. Download the PDF of the manual onto your smartphone or tablet. If you have an issue use the index and hone in on the specific topic that is giving you an issue. Ignore the rest of the stuff.
    Back before I had heard of the concept of "Lomo" I was exhibiting at a gallery with several other artists, there was one other photographer and she asked me if I knew anything about cameras. It turned out she had no idea how to use her entirely manual West German Practica. She would just focus and hoped for the best. She told me she liked the element of surprise not knowing if what she got would be amazing or a wash.​
    John, I wonder how many jobs there are that you can approach with that attitude. This website is proof positive that if you want to learn about photography there are plenty of resources on the web for self directed learning and study. All you have to do is put in the effort. I mean who picks up a tool every day and doesn't even bother to learn the basics? She could take a one week course on photography and improve her keeper rate dramatically.
    The other thing is we are photographers. We are not painting the roof of the Sistine Chapel. Anyone with half a brain that can hold a camera steady and turn the focusing ring can take great shots. All you have to do is push the shutter button enough times in various settings and you will eventually be able to cobble together an edited portfolio of 10 good to great shots. I've had more than one veteran member on this forum DEMAND to see my portfolio because they happen to disagree with me about one topic or another. I guess the premise is if you can post five small images on the internet after YEARS of shooting and they look good you know everything about photography.
    Fast forward to today, I have some hipster friends (I'm 30) and they all seem to be interested in our photographic past and want to know about film, they just assume that bad pictures are what film is all about.​
    That's my problem with the lomography business. There are enough lies about film out there. No need to perpetuate and add to them.
     
  33. Lomography is not new. Lomography, although not named that, existed about 90-100 years ago because photographers of that time felt they were in competition with painters and the general perception of the public was that "soft" photos were the best that cameras could produce but, eventually, photography took a step towards sharp photo results when they started groups like the F64 club and everything in the photographic world suddenly shifted to razor sharp results.
    You may not realize it but the Lomo folk are making up a very big chunk of film sales. Encourage them if you want to continue having 120 film around.
    The original "Lomo"/"Diana" camera? Try a tiny Ansco 127 box camera. I think it was called the Dollar camera. Horrible results especially at the edges. You will love it.
     
  34. You may not realize it but the Lomo folk are making up a very big chunk of film sales.​
    Why wouldn't I realize that? It has been stated multiple times in this thread by people who support, hate and are ambivalent about lomography. Very few things in life are all good or all bad. I think the gripe that a lot of people have with lomography particularly the business side of it is it is perpetuating myths about film photography. The other problem is will the current uptick in interest in lomography just be a passing fad? And if so and the bulk of the hipsters abandon film will the film world be left in even worse condition? I would much rather have fewer people that have some clue what they are doing stick around and be film users for life than have a rush of hipsters come in and get bored with over used hackish gimmicks used ad nauseam. There is a reason vanilla is the most popular flavor of ice cream... and probably always will be.
    There is something very nice about a properly exposed accurately color balanced appropriately sharp (subject sharp, bokeh everywhere else) image that is timeless. Sometimes it is just nice to frame up a subject and snap. Let the composition and subject matter do the talking. I don't beat my DSLR photographs to death in photoshop. I don't make up for boring subject matter and composition with tons of effects. Judicious use of effects here and there can be very nice. But to say every single image I'm going to take will have this light leak and this blur just gets nauseating after awhile. Abuse of effects has a long history in film and digital.
     
  35. I don't think that Lomography is a reaction to the complexity of digital cameras, it's a reaction to the perfection and uniformity of digital cameras. With every digital camera, you can turn it on, spin the dial (if it has one) to "P", and get a well-exposed in-focus picture. To some, it seems like the art of photography is slowly being removed from the science of photography. Lomography is the antithesis of that. Each image is imperfect in its own way; be it flared shutters or light leaks, you can tell that each image is your own creation. Personally, I don't like the results, but I understand why some people do.
     
  36. I think of it this way.
    I have a Nikon with autofocus and matrix 3D metering and speeds to 1/8000th and motor drive and interchangeable lenses and apertures to F1.4
    Then I have lots of what could be termed "box" cameras. They don't use batteries, have a single spring to drive the shutter providing a 1/50 speed and an aperture of F11 and only manual film advance.
    But you know what? I get good photos from both so, maybe, the Nikon is overdone.
     

Share This Page