Lomo Photograph by Vinícius Sgarbe

The other week I managed to see a short Lomography lecture at Gulf Photo Plus. My friend B convinced me and I’m glad of it. The talk was given by Hind Mezaina, blogger of The Culturalist and UAE Lomography Ambassador.

It was a basics to Lomo. So, what is Lomography? It was originally based in Vienna when a group of college kids found an old Lomo film camera in a pawn/thrift shop and started playing with it. They also coined the term Lomography. The images that come from these rather inexpensive cameras are low resolution and you can create all kinds of interesting effects. And the key bit: the images are on actual film. This is not digital photography. Some people have the film scanned after developing it so they can play with it on Photoshop, etc.

Hind Mezaina showcased all the different kinds of Lomo cameras, which include Fish Eye and La Sardinia. There a whole website Lomography.com that you can purchase products on as well as connect with other hobbyists.

The first time I saw a Lomo camera I was on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. I went to Red Fish Blue Fish on Main Street in Hyannis and found this cool multiple shot sampler camera, which I considered buying for my niece or nephew for their birthdays. I didn’t know it was part of this Lomo movement, which has a large cult following. I think its awesome, the notion of collaboration and experimentation, that comes with this kind of art practice. In the talk, Hind herself suggested different ways to play with the imagery, including taking double exposures, or trading film with someone else to create the double exposures on. Some people mail film and swap with people from all over the world! What a way to connect and learn. Additionally, since it is traditional film, which needs processing, you don’t know how your photos come out until all of the processing is complete. This is in stark contrast to the immediacy digital photography now allows us.

For those in Dubai who want to join in there are a couple things to know. First there are three places that will develop your film.

  1. Kodak Express on Sheikh Zayed Road
  2. UCF in Al Ghusais
  3. Gulf Photo Plus in Al Quoz

At Kodak Express they will also give you a disc of hi resolution scans.

The cameras cost around 100 USD, give or take. And each camera can create different effects. If you want to repair a camera there is a shop in Jumeriah Centre near Sun and Sand. (I don’t know the name).

If you want to take risks, interact with new people, and collaborate in a creative community then Lomography may be right for you!

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Check out Lomography websites and consider the nature of imagery. What effects can you apply to your current artwork or projects? Is it time to buy a Lomo camera?