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A collection of photographs and stories by Invercargill photographer Rick Harvey

The Quirky Art Of Lomography

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Lomography – love it? or hate it?

Disclaimer: I am not an expert on Lomography but a hobby photographer who has dabbled with the general style.

Just as photographers seem to either love or hate HDR, so too is the case with lomography – a genre of photography that was inspired by the images produced by the original Russian made plastic LOMO camera, and subsequent other plastic “toy” cameras such as the Holga.

The characteristics of Lomography are generally quirky, gritty, grainy, grungy images with over-saturated colours; soft, often questionable, focus; lens distortions; vignetting; light leaks; and many other things considered really bad in mainstream photography. In a Lomographer’s world a bad photo is invariably good; and a good photo is, well, just a good photo. In fact I had a chuckle to myself a couple of days ago when I saw this post on tumblr about a Holga camera.

And ideally photographs should be taken using good old fashioned analogue film – although it is acceptable to present images as lomography if they have been taken using a digital camera and an appropriate lo-fi lens such as the Holga I use with my DSLR.

Essentially the primary rule of lomography is that there are no rules apart from carrying your camera with you at all times and shooting without thinking.

The rules for traditional photography go out the window with lomography . Forget the rule of thirds; forget level horizons; shoot in harsh light, soft light, during golden hour, whenever; forget leading lines and compositional balance; don’t worry about what’s in the background; and so on.

This lack of rules is what attracted me to try lomography – plus of course the quirky images associated with the genre.

Many traditional photographers will look at lomography photographs and think WTF?

But then I often look at photos taken by traditional photographers and think exactly the same thing.

Photography  – for me anyway – is meant to be fun, and lomography is definitely a fun style of photography.

Astute readers will notice that I have called this post The Quirky Art Of Lomography – Part 1. There are 2 reasons for this:

  1. I do think lomography is arty – just as traditional photographs post processed with Photoshop and/or other software is arty; and
  2. Sometime soon there will be The Quirky Art Of Lomography – Part 2 in which I will talk about my experiences with analogue film lomography using a Canon EOS 1000F camera.

All photos on this page were taken with my Nikon D5100 and plastic fantastic Holga lens – enjoy – or otherwise…

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