VISIT THE LOMOGRAPHY GALLERY STORE THIS MAY FOR NOSTALGIA AT ITS BEST
Story by Kate Fane
While the majority of the artists on display at 2012’s CONTACT Festival have relied heavily on digital processes to develop their images, one group of young photographers have bucked the trend by choosing to look back to classic analogue film techniques. Last Thursday night at the Lomography Gallery Store saw the launch of Two and a Quarter, a group show devoted to exploring the creative potential of the throwback Diana F+ Lomography camera, whose vintage look recalls the original Diana camera of the 1960’s.
With a look made popular by the ubiquitous Hipstamatic app, Lomography cameras are a similarly accessible entry point into shooting with analogue film. Photos taken with the camera are given an aged look, deliberate exposure flaws, and a heavy use of the soft focus, providing the same sort of dreamy imagery of a Sophia Coppola film without a lot of photo know-how required. This focus on accessibility seems to be key to the Lomography brand, as the various camera models on display at the Queen West store seemed to be organised more by colour and design than by camera specs.
It would therefore be easy to accuse the company of selling cameras as accessories, rather than actual tools. Luckily, the Two and a Quarter show mostly succeed in promoting Lomography as a valid artistic practice. With 17 participants in the show, only one work from each artist was able to be shown in the relatively small space. It was hard to get a sense of each photographer’s personal approach with the arrangement, but it did display the camera’s diversity.
Fitting the vintage aesthetic, most of photos displayed during Thursday’s opening showed a fascination with the concept of nostalgia. As the camera is able to layer separate images without editing software, many artists chose to focus on ghost-like imagery and presentations of memory. Michael Raymond Clarke’s “Untitled,” meanwhile, further explored the camera’s artistic possibilities by presenting abstract imagery, an uncommon choice for a show that mostly displayed portraits. The black and white treatment was also a nice change from the usual colour scheme of the faded pastels of old family albums.
Lomography may have yet to achieve the artistic credibility of other photographic techniques, but it’s definitely an accessible (and affordable) way for beginners to create beautiful images. If you’d like to ensure your summer photos look like instant-classics, the Lomography Gallery Store will be running a series of workshops, gallery hops, and photo walks throughout the month of May. Check the full schedule at http://www.lomography.com/about/newsletter
Two and a Quarter runs from May 1st – 30th, 2012 at 536 Queen St West, Toronto.