The Lomographic Community is awesome, where else do you find so many people from across the globe coming together in celebration of analogue photography!
One of the most interesting aspects of our Community is its sheer diversity, including the many unique aesthetics held in our vast archive of images. Today we will explore the aesthetic that started it all — lo-fi! Stick around to learn more about this lovely look and its origins.
Lo-fi style photography is a very famous and common style amongst Lomographers. Its name is borrowed from the musical term low-fidelity, which pertains to the do-it-yourself method in sound production. Lo-fi photography is distinguished through details and effects that would be considered as ‘imperfections’ by the high standard of fine art or critical photography. Such effects include light leaks, oversaturation, desaturation, rough film grain, motion blur, soft focus, color shifts... The list goes on! However, these unconventional effects, or what some would call mistakes are the lifeblood of the Lomographic movement.
This style wouldn’t be so popular in the world, let alone our community if it wasn’t for a paramount discovery some 25 years ago — so, let us briefly recall the Lomography origin story. This lo-fi aesthetic became popular in 1992 when two Viennese students bought a handful of vintage Soviet cameras in Prague called the Lomo Kompakt Automat. The Lomo Kompakt Automat, more commonly known as the LC-A, is a 35 mm compact camera that was introduced to the Russian public in 1984. These two footloose students immediately fell head over heels for this creative camera — kicking off their experimental escapade.
The Lomo LC-A produced a unique visual aesthetic which immediately captured the hearts of photography experimentalists everywhere. In turn, the students introduced the mysterious Russian camera to the Austrian market, and it became an instant hit. The Viennese Newspaper published the revolutionary Lomography Manifesto on the 5th November 1992, which included the 10 Golden Rules of Lomography. The news about this young, lively and creative movement even gained government support!
“The Vienna City Council provided the Lomographic Society International with an empty house on Breitegasse in the city’s 7th district, which would soon act as a base for all Lomographic operations! It was here that the very first Lomography exhibition was held. At the exhibition, 700 LOMO LC-As were sold and one of Lomography’s most defining features was born – the LomoWall.” — History of Lomography
Thus, the Lomographic Movement was born.
The lo-fi style that Lomography preaches can be easily achieved through the established 10 Golden Rules. The need for such genuine and heartfelt photographs has never been so important, especially in today's digital world, flooded by disposable images. The more you experiment and bend the rules of the photographic world the closer you come to Lomography's vision —a rejection of conventions and sterile processes in search of something truly unique, sincere and creative. So, make sure to try out some analogue techniques such as multiple-exposure or EBS (expose both sides) technique as well.
Apart from the Lomo LC-A+, an improvement to the Russian LC-A, the best camera to use for the lo-fi style is the Diana F+, the modernized version of the classic Diana camera. This darling was used by the famous photographer Nancy Rexroth for her acclaimed dreamscapes in the series Iowa, and has been a Lomographer's favorite thanks to the surreal and dreamy look it produces. Vignettes, light leaks and soft focus come naturally with the Diana F+, no filters and post-production required!
Other lo-fi tipsters we're sure you'll love:
- Stunning Lo-Fi Photography with the Diana Instant Square
- The Film Lab: 10 Analogue Experiments
- How to Take Symmetrical Images by Exposing Both Sides of the Film (EBS)