Lomography is a style of photography that encourages the use of simple, inexpensive, lo-fi analog cameras, which often produce images with distinct color palettes, which the Lomography Company takes to heart. You may know them as producers of popular mainstream films, Kickstarter-produced lenses, and 35mm and 120mm plastic cameras like their esteemed LC-A medium format camera, but do you know how they were founded? It all started like this:
In 1982, General Igor Petrowitsch Kornitzky, right-hand man to the USSR Minister of Defense and Industry, slammed a small Japanese compact camera called Cosina CX-1 onto the desk of his comrade, Michail Panfilowitsch Panfiloff. Panfiloff, who was the director of the powerful Russian weapons and optics factory LOMO, carefully examined the object, observing its sharp glass lens, extremely high light sensitivity, and sturdy housing. Realizing its potential, the two gentlemen ordered the LOMO PLC factory in St. Petersburg, Russia to create an improved version of the Cosina CX-1 – and the first working sample of the LOMO LC-A was born!
Two years later, in 1984, the LOMO LC-A began mass production, with 1,200 people working on the camera. Starting at 1,100 units per month for the Russian market, the camera’s popularity quickly spread to then-communist countries such as Poland, Czechoslovakia and Cuba. Fast forwarding through events such as factories in the USSR threatening to shut down production and several cameras like the Diana + and the Fisheye camera in development, they were accumulating massive growth and popularity, especially with the crowd of experimental photographers. In 1992, as their products grew in popularity outside the former Soviet bloc, the Lomographic Society International was born, and quickly led to the founding of lomo.com in 1994. Now found on lomography.com, they built an entire community around their cameras and films, this is one of the best places on the web to get inspiration from amateurs and professionals alike.
Over the past 40 years, Lomography has taken the world by storm. What started out as a cheap Soviet-produced camera called the Lomo has now become a way of life for some. It is now an internationally renowned brand that makes films, cameras and lenses for experimental and lo-fi photographers who love the character of their simple yet creative products, such as their now popular custom films: Lomography Purple, Lomography Redscale, and Lomography Turquoise stocks. With decades of use, Lomography cameras and films have been used by photographers around the world to create experimental and colorful scenes in 35mm and 120 format. Their film and cameras produce instantly recognizable features such as color changes, intentional vignetting and dreamlike focus optics.
I’ve spent months carefully selecting 20 images from photographers around the world to show you why I love this film and camera company so much. Every time I see a Lomography exhibit I get excited, and in a moment you’ll see why! These particular photographers and their images were selected because of their creative compositions, beautiful colors, and experimental depiction of everyday moments and scenes that were made into a film in its own right. Prepare to be inspired!