Thursday, 10 July 2014

"LOMO" is Eurotrash

The Lomographic Society wants you to believe that their refurbished or reproduced cameras are going to turn you into some rogue, urban artist with a shoot-from-the-hip policy and a Piaget from which to enforce it. Go douchebag, go! Document every image you can as you zip down the mean streets of the abandoned meat-packing district, between your shitty job at the anarchist lesbian info shop coffee collective and your gasless, damp loft. You're gonna make it on your own! Don't forget to call mom for that rent check. 

The overpriced camera packages the "Society" sells reflect a marketing philosophy that is up to its neck in lifestyle branding, kitschy literature, and snazzy package design, all attempting to convince you that low-quality is soooo goddamned hip. The cameras themselves are essentially hodge-podges of Russian and Chinese parts that equate to reproductions of infinitely cheaper, but just as inferior, 35mm cameras put out by a state-run USSR optics manufacturer in the early 80's. Or something to that effect. 

I'm a little harsh. The quality and color of the images that a Lomo produces are, at the very least, interesting. I imagine the appeal of this sort of image comes from the fact that it has sort of a "found art" quality to it. Looking at my own Lomo photos makes me want to pretend they were found at the bottom of a junk drawer in an antique store, the glove box of an auto yard car, or scattered amongst the debris of a abandoned nuclear wasteland. Maybe that's all the cold comfort a post-modern consumer can hope for -- you can't experience the real exhilaration of finding something lost and nostalgic from the other side of the Cold War, but you can recreate that feeling with shitty color reproduction, pronounced vignetting, oh, and don't forget, a lot of cash. How novel.

This is definitely a camera that I can just load up and know that maybe three or four of the shots will at least raise an eyebrow. I'd like to hand a Lomo with an empty roll of expired film to a child of, of say, ten, and see if I can fool someone into making an art show of it.