Every passing year keeps proving that the future of film is brighter than ever. As we move on and adapt from the pandemic and re-open ourselves to the outside world, our outlook in life has gained more depth and nuance. The year 2021 for Lomography and the film community is a special one as we saw cultivation for bolder and more experimental approaches in analogue. True to our promise, we at Lomography developed more tools and sought more methods to support and enable the boundless creativity of film photographers. Such efforts seem to have made the film community more active, engaged and devoted — the analogue esprit de corps is stronger more than ever.
Read our recap and revisit our analogue journey for 2021.
Pocket-Sized Perfection: Simple Use Reloadable Film Camera and 110 Film Resurgence
Technological advancements in the photography industry are without a doubt, fast-paced, as new photography equipment with more up-to-date digital features are released yearly. Film photography, however, enjoys a different kind of trend. In midst of all this, 2021 is a year of surging interest with older and typically ‘under the radar’ formats and film camera types, such as the traditional ‘disposable camera’ and the 110 film format.
Lomography’s more sustainable Simple Use Reloadable Film Camera is turning into a cult favorite as more influential artists push its limits. Musicians like Django Django and Sulene documented the behind-the-scenes of their craft with the Simple Use. Professional fashion photographer Pasquale Ettore showcased his studio shots taken with the Simple Use, proving the camera to be just as competent as a usual 35 mm camera would perform.
Meanwhile, the 110 film camera is getting picked up by photographers such as medium format lover Sissi Lu. Since the release of the LomoChrome Metropolis 110 film format, photographers Diego Ortega and Tony Kemplen recently rekindled with the 110 film cameras in their camera collections; the latter even imposed a month-long challenge of shooting exclusively in 110. Blue-blooded Lomographers such as frrmrl, mamenosuke, and moongrowl are keeping the torch lit and alive for the miniature format.
We’re very curious what else the future has in store for these pocket-sized cameras; it’s looking very bright and promising.
The Reign of the LomoGraflok 4×5 Instant Back and Atoll Ultra-Wide 2.8/17 Art Lens
It’s easy to see why everyone was anticipating these two. The LomoGraflok 4×5 Instant Back is redefining the instant photography experience by letting medium format cameras produce their ultra-crisp and sharp attributes onto Instax film. Photographers such as Ben Fraternale, Giulio Speranza, Eliot Japy and Joan Michel lauded this instant back for its versatility and functionality, further making instant film a more valuable medium.
At the same time, the Atoll Art Lens is pushing the envelope further for the seamless and omniscient perspectives -- as tried, tested, and approved by wide-angle aficionados Zairre Wright, Sunny Liu and Mark Nisbet. We think 2022 will remain a big year for this powerful lens as more photographers receive their pre-orders.
Artistic Editions of Lomography Cameras for 2021
Every year, we give some of our Lomography cameras a new look to match every photographer. For 2021, we collaborated not only with illustrators and painters but also with sound artists.
Berlin-based trio Kitschkrieg designed the Simple Use Reloadable Film Camera B&W KITSCHKRIEG Edition to reflect their unit’s monochromatic aesthetic. Producer and composer Darius gave the Simple Use a holographic skin with the Simple Use Reloadable Film Camera Darius Edition and is preloaded with the LomoChrome Metropolis. Another chromatic design is the Simple Use Reloadable Camera Saturday Edition, which is preloaded with the LomoChrome Purple.
We also invited contemporary talents from Thailand to refashion our instant cameras. Kantapon Metheekul, a.k.a. Gongkan imbued his outer-space themed "Teleport" series in the Lomo’Instant Gongkan Edition. Illustrator Yozanun Wutigonsombutkul, a.k.a. Suntur used his artwork from his exhibit, “A Little Letter from Someone, Somewhere” to dress up the Lomo’Instant Automat Suntur Edition.
A Year of Color Shifts: Metropolis Mania and the LomoChrome Turquoise Comeback
As timeless and beloved as the LomoChrome Purple film is, the LomoChrome Metropolis has become a solid contender as the color-shifting film favorite with more than 15,000 photos in the Community alone since December 2019. It seems its cool and subtle tones have resonated with many, especially in these pandemic times. A reformulation of the film, the 2021 LomoChrome Metropolis, was also released just before last year ended.
Meanwhile, the LomoChrome Turquoise finally made its most-awaited comeback this year. Trust us, we know how many are demanding for its comeback, constantly on our communication channels, waiting for any updates from us! Finally, we made something work. With the new formula and batch set to roll out early next year, we are expecting the analogue community to paint the town in turquoise and gold!
Will the LomoChrome Metropolis continue its reign in 2022, or will the LomoChrome Turquoise take the crown? Will the LomoChrome Purple keep being the fan-favorite? The future prospects for the LomoChrome film triad always excite us!
Lomography Partners, the Everyday Analogue Architects
This year, we kicked off a new series of features dedicated to our partners and allies to secure the future of film. As they also share our goals and passion, our Lomography Partners have stuck with everyone through thick and thin. We learned a little more about them behind-the-scenes -- what motivates them to operate in the business, the challenges they faced, why they stand with Lomography, and more. Safelight Berlin advocates with us to keep film alive. The wonderful folks at Brooklyn Film Camera shares Lomography's experimental approach and principle with film.
Along with our Lomography Partners, the future is analogue. Here are some of our other Partners that we've featured this year:
- Lomography Partners: Analog House of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
- Lomography Partners: Magnolia Film Lab of Tbilisi, Georgia
- Lomography Partners: For Fun Film of Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Lomography Partners: Les Ateliers de Marinette of Lyon, France
- Lomography Partners: Blue Moon Camera of Portland, USA
- Lomography Partners: Mori Film Lab of Brussels, Belgium
- Lomography Partners: John Gunn Camera Shop in Dublin 2, Ireland
- Lomography Partners: Picture Perfect Photo Lab of Albuquerque, USA
Lomography Back in Action!
With the global rollout of vaccinations and strengthened protocols, Lomography has carefully restarted its offline events to reconnect with the analogue community. Our Lomography team in New York teamed up with Brooklyn Film Camera once again for the comeback of NYC Film Photo Gathering 2021, hosting various workshops. Lomography also coordinated with local businesses to hold the biggest raffle with over 20 amazing prizes. In celebration of Film Photography Day 2021, Lomography France joined arms with Initial LABO for a film swap project using Lomography films.
One of our favorite photographic pastimes, the LomoWalk, was also resumed. Our team based in Shanghai went on a cultural and creative tour at the North Bund early this year, and our LomoWalk in East London was fully booked!
Here are more offline activities from us across the globe, or check out our events calendar and learn what we've been up to all year!
- Italy: Lomography Collaborates with Revela’T Contemporary Analog Photography Festival 2021
- Japan: SAME SAME SAME BUT DIFFERENT
- France: Lomography x 10th edition of the Rencontres Photographiques 2021.
- Spain: Workshop: I Have No Clue
Analogue Activities with LomoAmigos and Friends
Aside from offline events and workshops, Lomography and its Community members were also very active in fortifying the analogue circle. Our New York team's closely working with Exposure Toronto for a series of artist features in support of the organization’s mission: to raise the voice of Black creatives in the photography industry. They also worked with the creative platform Masthead for artists to document their weekends with the Simple Use Reloadable Film Camera. Lastly, they also lent some Lomo'Instant Wide cameras to independent artists through Indiewalls.
One of this year's biggest collaborative analogue projects belongs to Lomographer Anca Pandrea a.k.a. ofchanceandchoice, the founder and organizer of Make This a Double. The project bridges Lomography's Community members and film shooters on Instagram through film swaps. The results are then uploaded to the perfectly curated LomoHome of Make This a Double.
Carrying on with our tradition is this year's TEN AND ONE Annual Lomography Photo Awards, one of our biggest film photography competitions in the Community. Every year, we open eleven categories with their specific themes and genres for Community members to submit. The competition is particularly high for the categories Monochrome: Black and White Photography (12,859 submissions), Urban Explorers: Street Photography (11,190) and Human Stories (9,190) as they had the most submissions. We accumulated almost 66,000 submitted photos overall.
A Deeper Digest with Lomography Magazine
Our magazine team is always fetching for the freshest stories and featuring meaningful analogue projects. This year, we were all about seeing unique angles, hearing new voices, and getting a bit more personal as we continuously explore ourselves and our humanity through film photography. From getting to know a family of Lomographers, carrying on a decade-long Diana camera project, to a Lomographer saving almost a hundred rolls of film, here are our five picks to enrich your relationship with film:
- A Chat With a Family of Lomographers
- WE DO THE REST: A Decade Long Family Project by Sophie Schwartz
- Rescued Memories: Quinn Balazs Saves 87 Lost Films
- Self Taught — a Photo Book by Tim Kerr
- Breaking Gender Stereotypes with Hong Kong Photographer TMT
As the pandemic continues, we became more appreciative of the outside world and the life it breathes. Hence, creative documentary photography grew to become an even more relevant genre among our film community -- covering local life, cultures, and subcultures. As such, we interviewed and featured the works of RODRIGO, Chris Mercado, Valerii a.k.a. utro, and Elie Souffan. Autobiographical documentary photography also prospered, especially in domestic, intimate spaces. Such are the works of Ada Jakimiuk, Sara Costa, Alan Diaz, Amanda Creamer and Pinelich.
We particularly got a nuanced coverage of American skate culture thanks to photographers Jeff Howlett and Zairre Wright. We also dove deep into the works and worlds of photographers Mattson Culbert and Giulio Pascucci as they combine two passions, analogue, and surfing.
Film swap stories and multiple exposures are extremely popular in our Magazine, too. For starters, this film swap between two cousins gave us a more renowned appreciation for traveling, relationships, and how film connects two people. Of course, we never miss out on a double exposure series from the legendary @hodachrome. And while we're closely following activities from the @makethisadouble project, we were also featuring other film swappers in the Community, as seen in the Film Swappers Society series. Do you want to get better with the multiple or double exposure technique? Here's a tipster on how to create tidy double exposures.
Lastly, here’s Lomography Magazine’s Top 10 Reads for 2021:
- Lomography Awards: the TEN AND ONE 2020 Winners
- A Quiet Glimpse of Tokyo
- An Open Letter from a Lomographer to the Lomography Community
- Annual Review: The Best of Lomography 2020
- People, Colors, Light: Portraits by Annette Zer
- Mirror Self-Portraits I Wish I Took (Plus Some Tips)
- Make This a Double: An International Surprise Film Swap!
- Pets on Film – Different Pet Photo Ideas
- Stories Left Untold – an Interview with Melyssa Anishnabie
- Film Swappers Society: First Edition Favorites from “Make This a Double”
An Era of Chemical and Physical Experiments
As everyone continues to strive in this pandemic, it seems many film photographers have turned the comfort of their kitchens and garages into their own laboratories and darkroom, especially in 2021. Photo manipulation isn't anything new in photography, especially in digital. It is, however, quite a laborious and notable effort in film photography. Physical manipulation has become a distinguished trend in the Lomographic Community as an alternative way of creative expression. Revisit these projects for more of the best physical post-processing endeavors:
- Distressing Expired Negatives: An Album by Spannerino
- 5+1: Mastering the Art of Hand Manipulation with Nick Tauro Jr.
- Studying the Film Negative as Matter: a Project by Max van der Wal
- Speckled, Colored, Painted — a Photo Gallery by annika_schwermut
If analogue experimenters weren’t distressing their negatives, they were busy cooking it.
Along with Lomography's own International Cookbook of Film Soup Recipes (Part II and Part III ), we also received many other film soup cocktails and recipes this year. Here are some of our favorite concoctions and brews personally made by analogue chefs:
- Film Cooking and Chemistry: Getting to Know Analogue Artist Anca Pandrea
- Fruits, Fungi and Film: an Experiment by Clara Rodriguez
- Stills, Seaweed, Salt and Gin: Natalie Goulet's Magic Film Potions
- Film Soup Recipe with Julija Svetlova a.k.a. Neja
- 5+1: Anastasia Varlamova's Interdimensional Film Soup
- The Joys of Pre-Processing with Film Soup by Lars Bauwens
- A Californian Lemonade-Infused Film Soup with Katie Small
- Film Soup Recipes by Elzi Boba
- 5+1: A Chromatic Instax Film Soup by Benoit Pernuit
Online Press and Social Media: The Lomographic Buzz
Lomography's enduring persistence to innovate the film photography experience -- even during this pandemic -- warranted countless of praises and commendations across the internet.
The Petzval Art Lens is always reputed for its unique and boundless creative potential as Ted Forbes of the esteemed Art of Photography and David Crewe of PetaPixel reviewed the lens. Certifying Lomography's lens-making competence, the Atoll Ultra Wide 2.8/17 Art Lens also received positive first impressions from PC Mag and remains as one of the most anticipated art lenses. Photographer and vlogger Sophia Carey further hyped the LomoChrome Purple in a video review, showing that even at medium or 120 format, the love for the cult favorite is more than deserved.
Word on the LomoGraflok Instant Back continues to spread across the analogue community as instant film lover and vlogger In An Instant a.k.a. Ben Fratenale reviewed the accessory on YouTube: "Instax Wide film receives a game-changing lifeline with the LomoGraflok Back, a simple but spectacular tool for large format shooters by Lomography. The results have me pretty much spinning out honestly."
We mentioned earlier our A Weekend With... collaboration with Masthead Magazine as we provided their friends some stocks of the Simple Use Reloadable Film Camera. Here are some of what artists and other industry professionals have to say about the Simple Use, once again proving the convenient and versatile magic of Lomography:
"There is something refreshing about taking a photo on the Lomography camera and not being able to see the image immediately after. I was more purposeful with each shot and I’m excited for the memories when I see them." -- Mélanie Masarin, Founder & CEO of Ghia
"Shooting with the Lomography camera allowed me to pause and appreciate the tiny details, the smaller moments that may not make it to a "feed" or "story." -- Myles Loftin, #Forbes30Under30 photographer
"The analogue camera felt like a device to slow down time, giving space for meditation and consideration. It made me appreciate beautiful moments and consciously look at what is real, what surrounds you." -- Melitta Baumeister, Fashion Designer
Lomography's admirable work and dedication converted to stronger support from the global film community.
Our tags #lomography and #heylomography tag now have over 2 million and 437,000 photos on Instagram, respectively. As we monitor the tags, we noticed how popular the Lomography films are, especially the LomoChrome Metropolis. So much that there are three Metropolis-shot photos in the Top 10. This year, our most liked #heylomography photo is by Hong Kong-based LomoAmigo Calvin Yung a.k.a. _sur.real_life, with over 8,000 likes.
Champions of Film: The Lomography Hall of Fame 2021
Our online community is one of the internet's biggest repositories for analogue photography -- a safe space for creativity and inspiration for Lomographers across the world.
As of today, London is the most photographed city in our Community, with over 241,000 photos, and is followed by Berlin, Bangkok, Paris, and New York. Many continue to tag their photos with the hashtags #35mm, #summer, #xpro, #lomo, and #lomography. The Lomography LC-A remains the ultimate Lomographer favorite as it has now amassed over 2.5 million Community photos.
Lomography wouldn't be anything without its creative community. Despite the circumstances, many Lomographers showed us the power of art and how they are cathartic to both photographer and audience. Thank you for pushing the film community forward. The spirit of analogue lives on within each member of Lomography. And so, we present Our 10 Best Lomographers for 2021 -- our endless gratitude for leading and inspiring everyone with your passion and photos!
Lastly, here's the most awaited gallery of the year, the Best Community Photos of 2021! These were the ten of the most awe-inspiring shots on film, taken by our very own talented Community.
We’re proud to say that 2021 has been an eventful and fruitful year not only for Lomography but for the entire film community. Our sincerest gratitude to everyone who made this possible, especially during these trying times. As the future of film burns brighter more than ever, a new chapter waits ahead of us. Keep shooting, stay safe and awesome… and Lomo On!