I purchased my first digital camera back in 2001. It was a cheap off-brand model and I paid close to $300.00 for it. It shot grainy photos in 640 x 480 resolution and had this weird little quirk where the battery door would pop open just when I was about to snap a pic, so I held it shut with duct tape. I knew I was at the bleeding edge of technology and quickly disposed of my 35mm point and shoot film camera.
I’ve upgraded digital cameras every few years since then. I currently own a Canon SD780 (little pocket point & shoot) and couldn’t be happier with it. Except…. well, except for the fact that digital photography has taken all of the mystery out of taking pictures. Remember when you were a kid and you’d take your 110 camera out for a night at the movies or the arcade, waste a couple of rolls of film taking pictures of the boys playing Joust (who were unbelievably cute!!!) but way out of your league? Those were the days. Taking your rolls of film to the drug store to drop them off and wait a few days before you could pick up the prints. Wondering whether the photo of your best friend laughing so hard she spit coffee on the couple sitting in the next booth at Perkins was going to turn out because you really needed something to use for blackmail in 15 years.
The anticipation. The mystery. The randomness and happy accidents of analog. I missed all that. So a few years back I bought a Holga.
Strangely, all the things that make this camera wonderful are the things that bothered me about taking pictures as a kid: vignetting, blurring, light leaks and other distortions which stem from it’s cheap construction. The back only loosely stays attached to the camera body. The focus is a mystery and I swear that option doesn’t even work on my Holga at all. But that’s why I love it. It’s random, mysterious, and takes a really good photo in spite of itself. That’s what lomography is all about – capturing the moment as it is without worrying about light balance, f-stops, framing, or focus. Letting life speak for itself through the lens of a cheap plastic camera.
My own analog photography renaissance pushed me to introduce myself to Shawn (now my boyfriend) and create an account on Lomography.com. Here are some highlights from my lomo account.