Vintage Photos & Techniques with Lomography

Words by Erica Stark
Photos by Erica Stark

Photographing with film is always an exciting and unpredictable medium.  As new models of “a dying art” re-emerge into the market, how do you know which analog camera is best for you? Though there are hundreds of other options to choose from, Lomography has made instant photography and on the go film cameras easily accessible and easy to use.

I was given the opportunity to use three different Lomography cameras and share with you what makes each unique.  The three cameras I used were the Lomo’ Instant Square, Lomo’ Automat, and the Simple use film camera loaded with color negative Lomography film.  The most noticeable difference you will see from camera to camera is the size of the print and how much you can capture in your frame.  Each photo feels both nostalgic and modern, combining an old medium with technology.

Lomography Lomo’Instant Square

For the Instagram connoisseur, one who prefers not to use multiple apps to create that perfect square, I might suggest the Lomo’ Instant SQUARE.  This instant camera takes Instax square film and as the name and film suggest, your photo comes out as a perfect square! (modifications available). The pop out/foldable bellow is similar to that of a vintage polaroid land camera, giving the body a retro look.

The Square offers an instant Instagram shaped photo with the convenience of a lightweight, easy to carry body and the pleasure of a printed version of your photo to have and to hold instantly.  The square also offers many features such as bulb mode for long exposures, an on camera flash, a timer with a remote control, and the ability to take multiple exposure in one photo. Though you have limited space in the frame, you can quickly learn where you need to be positioned for the shots you want.

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Lomography Lomo’Instant Automat

If all of this is resonating but you’re wanting to shoot “outside the box” the Lomo’ Automat may be your perfect fit.  Though the camera body itself has more of a square shape, the Automat takes Instax mini film and gives you a slightly more panoramic feel.  You will also notice you’re able to fit a little more into the frame when photographing with the Automat vs the SQUARE.

You will still get most of the same amazing features besides the remote control, but your print is closer to a business card size rather than a square. The Automat also comes with a lens cap that doubles as a remote shutter release.  As with the Square, The Automat is very lightweight, but still doesn’t quite fit in your pocket.  I was consistently impressed with the quality of photos including sharpness and the color quality. My favorite feature is the ability to take multiple exposures.  I enjoy flipping the camera upside down for my second exposure and creating an image that mirrors itself.

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Lomography Simple Use

For those who aren’t the instant gratification type and prefer to just point and shoot with less bells and whistles but more color, the Lomography simple use camera may be the answer.  This camera has the simplicity and mobility of an older single use throw away camera with a slight twist; this in fact is not a throw away! Not only can you reuse the camera by simply refilling it with film, you can choose from Lomography color negative film, black and white film, or Lomochrome Purple film.

The color 35mm film matched with color filters attached to the camera to cover the flash can alter colors and create fun and unique photos.  The filters can be used as single colors or as Lomography says, mix at will.   During this photo shoot I used the normal color negative film vs the Purple Lomochrome film.  This was helpful, through trial and error, to determine the impact the flash gels have on each subject. I found that the flash colors are best seen when there is a lack of color in the scene (i.e a plain white wall).  The color of the orange fall trees against a concrete wall are not altered by colored flashes, however the neon palm tree against a white wall background shows the beautiful variation of colors that can be created with each gel. Likewise, our white dog turned to pink when using the pink gel in close range.

This camera fits in most pockets, and the only decision you have to make when shooting is which color flash you would prefer.  The lack of options may not be for everyone, but it definitely makes it easy.  I absolutely love how unique each photo is with the Simple Use film camera, capturing a lot in frame and with a surreal pop art look.  No matter which camera you choose, keep it fun and make each shot count!

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