love at first lomo!

i've been curious about lomography for some time now, and decided to attend the free workshop last march 7th by the lomography gallery store in new york city's greenwich village. the workshop was called "portraits of women" in celebration of international women's day.

the workshop was free for all the ladies, but they charged $10 for the guys, unless they brought any ladies along with them. i dragged my sister along so i don't have to sit by myself during the lecture. she saved the day for me, too, because i realized too late that i had stuffed everything in my giant purse EXCEPT for my camera. i had bottled water, bottled lipton green tea, snack items, an umbrella (although the forecast said it was going to be warm, which it actually was), basically everything i usually tote for a trip to the city EXCEPT my digital camera.

i panicked. for me, leaving the house without my camera feels like forgetting to put underwear on. so i felt...naked! haha. and besides, this was a photography workshop, for crying out loud! (albeit a lomo-related one)

so thankfully, my sister did bring her shiny-green, new sony cybershot 10-megapixel touch-screen camera. it was super-slim, so it fit nicely in her small crossbody bag. it saddened me that i keep forgetting things nowadays. signs of old age!

my purpose for attending this seminar was to get the lowdown on lomography basics, and to see what the "gift" was to the attendees as they had advertised in their website. oh, did i mention that this wonderful workshop was free?

it was easy getting to the venue from the port authority bus terminal in new york. my sister and i boarded the A-train to get off at west 4th street. while inside the subway, we were standing close to this girl with unkempt blonde hair and a worn-out bag that had a pocket shaped like a huge camera lens. i whispered to my sister, "maybe she's going to the workshop, too." my sister whispered back, "she looks like she hasn't taken a bath!" haha. she went off the train before we did, so she wasn't a workshop attendee like i thought.

lomography shop

the lomography shop was a short walk from the subway station, and we got there just in time to get good seats. the store's interior is transformed into a "lomo wall" with colorful lomo prints. my heart skipped a beat when i saw the snowcat edition diana F+ camera i was lusting after! and then my heart palpitated when i saw that it cost $105! haha.

lomo wall

they loaned people their diana F+ cameras with flash for the workshop (if you don't have one already) and gave us a free roll of CN120 film--two things i've never used before!

the workshop gave us a background of lomography's history, how it all began in austria and how it's now celebrating its 25th anniversary as a photographic faction...a cult, if you will, of people who get the warm fuzzies finding beauty in blurry.

i met diana, holga, lubitel, oktomat, and various other plastic princesses that rule in this lomo kingdom. our facilitator was very enthusiastic about introducing the largely "newbie" crowd in the workshop to what lomo was all about.

she showed samples of what each camera can capture, sharing tips and tricks on how to photograph women in a flattering way. she also preached the lomo motto: "don't think, just shoot!" [watch a snippet of the lecture below!]

i learned some new terms like cross-processing and light-painting. i was transported to a time before digital cameras, when photography was about those old-school 35-mm cameras that you take to the photo processing store to be developed. you didn't know for sure how your prints would turn out. part of the beauty is the sense of surprise. the last plastic camera i ever used was the polaroid i-zone pocket cameras that used "sticky film." the pictures come out in miniature, "neoprint"-like form but with adhesive backing, so you can stick them wherever!


we were then made to walk to nearby washington arch to practice what we just learned. i actually had to ask for assistance in installing the film inside the diana camera. i didn't want to destroy the film before i actually had the chance to use it.


i was all smiles with my loaned diana camera around my neck as i snapped away by the arch. we were told that these cameras are supposed to be used in close-range to your subjects. i had difficulty manually turning the film after each shot because the knob was too hard to turn! i also didn't know that the film only had 16 shots so i ran out quickly while at the shooting venue because i kept snapping away while we were still at the store. haha.


after the workshop, we were given a 10% coupon to use in the store. i wanted to get the snowcat camera, but after finding out that the diana cameras need a special back cover (bought separately, $50) so you can use 35mm film, i decided to postpone my purchase. i considered the cheaper cameras that produced funky results, either the fisheye or the golden half. ultimately, i decided not to spend anything in that store altogether, until i made up my mind which one i wanted and within my tight budget, haha. after all, my sister and i found out that the nearby urban outfitters shop also sold lomo products and films! i got a lavender silk scarf from that store's clearance bin for only $5...that's it.

my sister and i realized that the "gift" was the free film we used for the class. should've gotten hersey's kisses from the bowl at the entrance. haha. my sister and i might end up in the lomo website when they upload the pics from the workshop. but given the short-range characteristic of lomo cameras, you may have to zoom in to see me in any of the photos. haha!

i loved this hands-on workshop on lomo. it's the other extreme of photography, with digital photography on the other end. i agree that sometimes sharp can be boring. there's an other-worldy, ethereal beauty in lomo photos, imperfections and all. i have yet to mail my film to that photo-developing website. i'll post the photos when they're processed.

[thanks again to my sister for stealth-shooting part of the workshop and for giving in to my vanity pose requests, haha!]

p.s. i was a little flabbergasted to find out too late that author neil gaiman was about 10 blocks away from where i was on that day for a booksigning of his new children's book "blueberry girl."

17 vandalized my wall:

Jeanny said...

wow lomo indeed is interesting and that camera is a beauty. Love to have that kind din kaso sobrang mahal siguro nyan dito sa Pinas pag nagkaroon.

The Becky said...

wahaha. welcome to the wonderful world of lomography. :) nice pictures!

i think it's good that you didnt end up buying the Diana snowcat. Dianas are not your usual 'first' lomo cams, as they're a bit harder to use (and definitely more expensive) than the others. but thats just me talking. hehe.

Marites said...

i've curious about lomography too and i've been wishing we could have that kind of lesson you got there for free here in my city (wishful thinking). hay, am still crossing my fingers.

Four-eyed-missy said...

Ayy akala ko pansit -- lomi pala yun! Last year ko pa naririnig iyan pero akala ko pansit lang ang pinag-uusapan nila heheheheh. *lol* kidding aside, galing pala ng lomography ano? Wala pa akong naririnig na gumagamit ng lomo cams dito sa PP.

ms firefly said...

i've been lurking in ebay too, looking for good lomo camera bargains. ^-^
i would love to have the fisheye too, i've always loved blurry vintage-y prints. i'm looking forward to what you're buying, influence me!!!! hehe

Sidney said...

I am also attracted by lomography... but I don't like the hassle to go to a store to develop my films... so I am waiting for the first digital lomo ;-)

fortuitous faery said...

jeanny: there's lots of other lomo cameras to choose from, some cheaper ones too. the cheapest one i saw at the lomo store was $30, if i remember correctly. thanks for dropping by!

the becky: yes, i fought my compulsion to get the snowcat diana F+...baka kasi pagsisihan ko sa huli. medyo nahirapan ako pagturn ng film dun sa loaner diana camera, eh. haha. i'm thinking of getting either a fisheye or golden half...basta yung mura lang! haha.

marites: anybody can really get into lomo without having to undergo a workshop! basta mahilig ka sa pictures! but of course, it's nice to get an intro from the experts like i did.

sreisaat: haha, yeah, the uninformed/uniniatiated can easily confuse lomo with lomi...haha. it's a fun alternative to digital, though. :)

msfirefly: will let you know once i buy a lomo camera! it's definitely gonna be a cheaper type, not the snowcat diana f+ i originally wanted! haha.

sidney: yes, i also find the traditional film-developing part of lomo to be a hassle...but sometimes we have to suffer for our art! haha. :P

Anonymous said...

be careful on what you say in a crowded train. minsan may nakatabi ang pinsan ko na itim at sinabi niya, "ano ba naman ito... parang hindi naliligo." "hoy," sagot ng itim, "naintindihan ko yan. pinoy ako. lumaki sa manila." to make the story short, laki ng hiya ng pinsan ko.

gingmaganda said...

usually sinasabi ng tao pag lomo, pansit! haha. glad you're getting into this too, but lomo is just a brand after all, the plastic ones are still made in china and the one i have here parang mas fragile at sirain than my other toy cameras. the important part here is that you learn the lomo philosophy (starting off with the shoot, don't think at shoot from the hip etc) at hindi lang ang fascination sa brand itself. haha. any toy camera will do after that!

fun talaga ang analog photog, and it's the waiting that's giving you a greater sense of accomplishment. digital cameras just feed on our addiction for instant gratification. haha.

ang haba na ng sinabi ko, para na itong lecture, para na akong si...*toot toot*.

magkano ang LC-A diyan?

fortuitous faery said...

plaridel: haha, that's so "jahe!" :P my sis and i were whispering, so we're sure we weren't overheard.

ging: i learned a lot about lomo's history! parang gusto ko nga magpractice with disposable cameras because they're cheap, but i don't think i can achieve the same saturated colors that the lomo cams do.

i didn't really check the prices of the other lomo cams in the store, basically yung snowcat camera lang that i wanted (na mahal! haha)...but then i was also eyeing the fisheye which was around $40-50. you can see the lomo inventory and prices online on the lomography website.

kilala ko yata si *toot-toot*, ahaha. :P

Mia said...

Welcome to the unpredictable and colorful world of lomography =) it's fun, addictive, and it's expensive! hehe

fortuitous faery said...

thanks, mia! i was worried about the "expensive" aspect of it! haha! but hey, that's art!

Anonymous said...

i still don't understand it. aside from it not being the noodles (hahaha), is a lomo cam the cam we were using before digicams took over? hehehe

fortuitous faery said...

doi: from what i've learned so far, lomography comes from an old brand of "toy cameras" called "lomo." they're made of plastic, so are the lens, so that the pictures they make aren't that sharp-looking.

just associate "lomo" with "luma!" retro photography! haha. lomo does NOT refer to the regular 35-mm cameras that were commonly used immediately before digicams came about. the lomo cameras were discontinued in the past but were remanufactured to meet the demands of those people who love lomo.

you can learn a lot by visiting the lomography website or by googling. :)

Joe Narvaez said...

Uy lomo! Curious din ako dyan. Astig!

fortuitous faery said...

joe: yup, it's cool!

Unknown said...

I absolutely love your shoe shot! I am a big fan of taking "self portraits" at this angle. Lomo is FUN!

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