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Camera House : Better Pictures 14
20 years of Lomography As the digital photo revolution explodes, it’s hard to fathom the popularity of Lomography, an analogue photo system that has just clocked up its 20th anniversary. The Lomo journey started back in the early ‘90s, when Austrian students Wolfgang Stranzinger and Matthais Feigl stumbled upon the Lomo Kompakt Automat (LCA) – a small, enigmatic, Russian camera. Embracing the freedom of shooting from the hip, they were astounded with the mind- blowing photos that the LCA produced. The colours were vibrant, with deep saturation and vignettes that framed the shot. It was like nothing they had seen before. Upon returning home, they showed their new shots to their pals and a revolution in artistic experimental photography was unleashed. In 1992 Stranzinger and Feigl formed the Lomographic Society, and what began as a group of friendly photo enthusiasts became a worldwide movement with more than a million devotees. Two decades later and the Lomo’s innovation continues to produce fresh images and attract a new generation of shooters. The Society now has more than 50 stores and it has launched more than 150 creative camera models in the past 20 years. Karen Boudakian, who heads up Lomo’s Australian and New Zealand base, first caught the Lomo bug in the ‘90s and has been running the antipodean branch of the Lomographic Society since its inception 13 years ago. She believes the Lomo’s appeal lies in its ability to combine low-tech controls with high-quality vision. “Anyone can use a Lomo camera,” says Boudakian. “You don’t have to be a pro, that’s the beauty of Lomography.” At a time when every second person has an Instagram account, it’s surprising that the Lomo still has such universal appeal, but Boudakian suggests that while the technology may be old, the images that the Lomo produces remain cutting edge. “Instagram modelled its look on the Lomo so when you look at the Lomo’s images they still seem fresh,” she says. The Lomo Society recently celebrated two decades of creativity with an exhibition of work. Boudakian says she was amazed by the breadth and creativity on offer and the cross-section of the public that proved to be enthusiasts. “There really is no typical Lomo user,” says Boudakian. “Lomography attracts everyone – from people that have never picked up a camera before to the hipsters to children to professionals.” So what’s her advice to the Lomo beginner? “Shoot. Don’t think!” To find out more about Lomography visit lomography.com.au ■ 21 FEATURE LoMoGraPHy 021_Bpics14_lomo_v2.indd 21 29/08/13 12:16 PM
Better Pictures 13