Lomography kindly provided us with cameras to use during the TEDxVienna About Time conference and we had a lot of fun with them. Over the last few years, instant cameras have been back on the market: no need to wait more than a few seconds to get the film in your hand and the pictures are revealed almost instantaneously.
Take a coffee, take a seat, and let’s begin.
Instant cameras bring on a new experience for photographers that never had an analogue camera in their hands: they can develop their sense of creativity, their patience but also easily bond with people around them.
Fewer pictures, better memories
When digital cameras came to the market, quickly followed by smartphones, I felt that they totally changed the way we took pictures. We no longer bothered asking people to pose or make sure we had the right angle or the right light, as we could simply delete them and take another picture right away, or edit them on photo-editing apps.
As time passed, I realised I missed the contact with paper. I missed diving into my grandparent’s photo albums: it seems that sharing memories was easier around a table. Now I feel that we share those images from a button on our phone but we don’t share that ‘together moment’ anymore. I may have saturated my phone storage with pictures but my bedroom walls are empty of photographic memories.
By giving us only a limited amount of shots, Lomo cameras create precious and unique memories that can’t be duplicated over and over but that can be passed around. The fact that every single film has only one chance to get revealed, forces us to take our time and think before acting.
Volunteers getting ready.
Writing, talking, listening, picturing.
Visualising a picture and knowing your camera specs before shooting
Before the event, we had to sit down and think about what shots we wanted, taking into consideration the conditions we were in. We had natural light outside, warm light indoors and spotlights on the stage. There were several hundred people, activities, decorations and things happening that we were hoping to catch. Accordingly, we had to consider a few technicalities before shooting, to make sure everything was in order before proceeding.
Am I at the right distance to get the right focus? Do I need the flash? Is this place too dark? Will my subject move and blur the shot? Through these questions, the experience of taking a picture was about taking time and thinking not only of the result but also of the process.
Which is the person? Which is the technology?
Lomography: a camera that brings people closer
Finally, our experience with Lomography wouldn’t have been the same without all the people who came to see us. That’s the power of instant cameras and especially quirky looking ones, such as the Lomo’Instant Sanremo, with its vintage look or the Lomo’Instant Square Glass, with its foldable bellows design. People saw us taking pictures and were curious about the camera. They asked questions and were usually as eager as us to see the film develop. This gave us time to chat and create bonds with people. Sometimes we gave them the photo, sometimes we kept it, but one thing that definitely happened, we shared that moment together.
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