lomo on lomo
Ideally, my weapon of choice should have been an LCA or Diana or something like that. The shocking truth is, I don't own any camera from Lomography at all [I know right? What kind of hipster am I anyway?]. I do however own an original Smena 8m, which was one of the cameras that kicked this whole 'Lomo' thing off back in the day. Had I used that camera for this shoot, I'd have had to re-title the post 'lomo on lomo on lomo'. Or lomo ménage à trois - but this is a family show.
I ran out of amo just as I arrived at the junction of Commercial Street and Lamb Street which, serendipitously enough, is the location of Lomography's east London shop. I popped in for some film, and a geeky chat with the kind staff as one does. It was a sunny day, yet I opted for the Lomography CN 800 for 2 reasons. Firstly, I had never used that film, and secondly, I intended to finally take some photos inside the shop following a comment on her blog by the very enchanted Katie.
The shop is located in one corner of a building that forms part of London's Spitalfields Market. The Market itself is quite old - 17th century - but the building is from the late 19th Century. Very quaint. This shop could not be any more perfectly located if they tried. This very point is where the 'City' [Financial district] meets Shoreditch [Artsy district]. Go figure.
Luckily, I had the Praktica BX20 on me [I will write about this in future], which can achieve a glorious 1/1000 shutter speed. This meant I could step outside quickly for some shots of the exterior of the building without worry, even in the blazing sunlight. Well, I should have been worried, as I apparently hadn't closed the back of the camera well enough when putting in the film - evidenced by the light leaks. But then, this is Lomo baby, light leaks rule! What was that again? "don't think, just shoot". There you go.
You can feel the true Lomo spirit take over you the minute you step into the shop. It suddenly makes sense to buy modern plastic redesigns of classic cameras for eye-popping prices, because, well, they're so gorgeous! And they are. In a way, Lomography is selling rarity, and I can't fault what they're doing at all. Besides, their film isn't really that expensive at all [contrary to what you may hear]. The only way you're going to beat the Lomo film prices is by shopping on the internet - eBay or Amazon that is. I have not come across a single brick and mortar shop that is cheaper than they are.The shop floor is mouth-watering array of photographic eye candy thanks to the vast range of retro and faux-retro cameras and accessories, photo books, post cards and, er, Russian 'Matryoshka' dolls. I have to confess being slightly tempted by the Lubitel and it's good looks, but I was smacked kicking and screaming back to reality by the price tag - "how much?! are you having me on?". Having said that, someone did buy one right in front of me. A lady, infinitely trendier than yours truly, and apparently not very photography savvy, paid for one after declaring "this is my first camera ever".
Luckily for her, she can learn all about it at the shop. Many events and workshops are run there, which is cool. I'm yet to attend one myself, but it is in the plan. I learn anywhere and everywhere I can.
Awesomely enough, the lab is on site. Downstairs in the basement there is a gallery, some social space and the lomo lab! This provides the ability for fast turnaround. The lab techies are very cool indeed, borderline angelic. It's a bit counter intuitive - this is England and they are darkroom technicians, they are supposed to by cranky and cynical.
I think Lomography should expand their brand and go into the coffee business. Imagine, 'Lomo Coffee', you know you'd buy it. How much money would they make from that. People would burn through rolls of film taking snaps of their coffee. They could throw in a free roll of film after say 20 coffees. And so on [call me Lomo, hire me. I can clearly make you money].
As long as they don't get the drinking coffee mixed up with that used to develop film. That could end badly.
Just a last word to thank the very talented Katie for her very inspiring blog Curating Cuteness. That blog is a daily dose of something beautiful.