Words and photos by Denise San Jose. Inspired by The Ten Golden Rules of Lomography.
A blinding yellow flash went off right in front of my eyes and purple spots started to cloud my vision. A friend had just ambushed me with a funny-looking camera and I demanded to see my "deer-in-the-headlights" photo. I grabbed it from him and frowned when I saw that it didn’t have a preview screen at the back. He told me that it was a film camera—a Colorsplash, to be exact—and that it’ll take a while before I see my frazzled face.
"That’s the great thing about Lomography," he said. "You don’t have to be nitpicky. Just shoot!"
That was the night I joined the analogue movement. Soon enough, I got my own camera (er, cameras) and started "just shooting" and experimenting. Three years and hundreds of film canisters later, it still feels like Christmas morning every time I develop a roll and see how my photos turned out. Happy accidents are always a nice surprise and I’m so glad I went back to analogue photography. I highly recommend it to anyone who needs a creative kick in their lives.
Here are some Lomography tips to get you started!
1. Always Have A Camera With You.
You never know where life will take you so you should always be ready to immortalize those awesome/thrilling/melancholic /random memories in photos. If you don’t want to miss a thing, stash your handy, dandy, trusty snapper in your bag or pocket before heading out and don’t forget the film!
2. Don’t Be Afraid To Use It!
Day or night, indoors or outdoors, happy or sad, shoot! There’s always something to capture so if you’re armed and ready, then why not? Interestingly, your camera can become the focal point. When I’m out with my Diana Mini Leopard, strangers come up and ask me about it and Lomography. Not only is it a snazzy and versatile cam, it’s also a cool conversation starter!
3. Live, Eat, Drink, Wear, Sleep, Breathe Analogue.
Rather than trying Lomography as a trendy hobby, incorporate it into your everyday living. Just spend enough time attached to your camera (for example, document your daily routine) and you’ll be surprised at how naturally photography will come to you later.
4. Shoot From The Hip.
Or while lying down. Or underwater. Or with your eyes closed. Shooting from an unusual angle can produce fascinating perspectives. It’s all about how you see it - or don’t! Try this with pinhole photography, which is more fun if you make the camera yourself.
5. Get Close.
If you see something that intrigues you, go ahead and investigate with your camera. Sometimes it willa will see more than your own eyes, as in this double-exposed plate of "potatographer."
6. Turn Off Your Brain.
No, really, don’t belabour yourself. Don’t overanalyze your subject framing or worry about getting all the settings right. You’ll get the hang of it eventually. For now, just shoot. If not perfect, practice makes pretty or puzzling.
7. Be Quick!
In conjunction with #6, a split-second of hesitation can result in a potentially great but missed photo. Life’s fleeting moments won’t stop for you so neither should your Lomography. Also see #1.
8. Avoid Predictability.
What’s the fun in calculating how your photos will turn out? It’s nice to experiment and not know so throw caution to the wind and go crazy. Like in the heat of summer, I think my film got thirsty so I dunked the roll in a glass of pink lemonade. True story.
9. Avoid Generalisation.
Is it fine art or is it lowbrow? Is it even art at all? However results turn out, your images are your creation. You can love them or leave them, but it’s your one-of-a-kind masterpiece. Keep an open mind and welcome critique and compliments.
10. Break The Rules.
Forget everything I just said. Don’t think. Just shoot!
Denise San Jose is an editor for the Lomography Magazine. Feel like experimenting with film? Visit Lomography now for more tips, tricks, and articles about analogue photography!