Friday, 2 March 2012

Lomography - into Room 101 ?

I have reached that certain age were I have become a SOS (Silly Old Sod) and all of the ills of our society are my fault as I am a member of the 'Ageing Population Problem'. This is a subject that I could go on at length but fear not dear reader, that is for another time. As the years roll (speed) by, you pick up and nurture many ideas, prejudices and downright bigoted opinions. These are matured by decades of life experiences and right or wrong, it is these prejudices and opinions that form the character and often cause the actions of an individual.

Where, you might ask, are these ramblings taking us. To the cult of Lomography, that's where. Cult is the only term that seems appropriate. In 1991, two student 'discovered' the Lomo camera, which had been around for some time. It was a crude Russian copy of a Japanese camera and they found that it's equally crude results had a certain 'charm'. I have nothing against the cheap Russian cameras. Good usable cameras are by their very nature, expensive. Many photographers started on their photographic journeys with a solid if basic Zenit or Zorki which gave them access to this wonderful hobby and interest. These cheap but solid cameras gave many, who would otherwise not have been able to afford more exotic German, Japanese and at one time, British equipment, an opportunity to record their world in a creative and effective way.

I myself started on my photo quest, when at a young age, I was given, by my Father, a Brownie 127. This was little more than a box camera, made from Bakelite, with a simple single element lens and a shutter that had only one setting. Still, although limited by small contact size black and white prints, I headed off into the world with what was to develop (sorry) into a life long interest in  preserving  images of the world around me. It still, to this day, fascinates me and as I started with the most basic of equipment, I in no way which to pass judgement on others and the modest equipment that their limited finances allow.

However, the cult of Lomography, see for yourself at lomography. com, is a bit like The Emperor's New Clothes. I'll give you a few minutes to go and have a look at the web site and see what you think....

Great, you have come back. What did you think of the blurred, out of focus pictures, that make little attempt at composition? Perhaps I am being to critical. However I have spent my life trying to improve on the photographs that I have taken. From the Brownie 127 through Pentax, Mamiya, Rolleiflex, Canon and Olympus cameras and lenses, I have striven to produce photographs that have a balanced composition, are focussed on the subject and correctly exposed. In short, I have, using the skills that I have learnt and with what little talent that I may possess, tried to record the world around me in a clear and informative way. Photography is first and foremost about communication. It is about one persons attempts to transmit to an other, the tones of light, the colour and texture, the people and the situation or place that they are in. This means that decisions have to be made by the photographer, which if done correctly, will make that communication successful and worthwhile. The two photograph shown here, while not my best, involved various decisions being made at the scenes and then further thought had to be made when I processed them in my photo editor software to produce the ultra coloured versions you see here. As to whether they communicate anything is for you to say. While the scenes exist, the record that I have produced is all mine, made by my decisions. No camera, how unique it's abilities, could produce the above images.  There is thought behind those images, the thoughts of one human being hopefully transmitted to an other.  

Having written the above ramblings, I now have to answer the question posed in my title to this piece. Should Lomography and Lomographers be consigned to Room 101 forever?

In truth I cannot do that because on reflection, photography is about fun and lomography would seem to have a high quota of fun. Plus, an even greater reason to accept the lomographers of this world is the important fact that lomography uses film. As long as they use film, it will be available for me when I get the urge to take one of my old film cameras for a walk.

However, having taken my Room 101 sword from it's jewel encrusted scabbard, it must taste blood.  Therefore I present for permanent incarceration in that room, the rude and inconsiderate scum that on approaching me on a narrow pavement, fail to balance my movements in making it easier to pass each other. It seems that I must either be invisible or having seen me make a compromise, they don't feel the need to make such a move. I feel that it reflects on the lack of respect for our fellow human beings and a general selfishness that now seems to invade all levels of our society.

Good, the sword can go back. Thanks for sharing my little literary scribblings.

Until the next time.....

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