You wouldn’t dare dunk your iPhone in bleach or red wine, or simmer it over a low flame. But according to the rules of lomography – an alternative style of film photography – you can, and should, do all that with a roll of film.
Lomography, which turns defects into effects, takes its name from the Russian-made LOMO LC-A Compact Automat camera. Introduced in the early 1990s, this experimental method still has a hold on Tel Aviv.
The Tel Aviv lomography community started small with a few events, launched a Facebook group, (https://www.facebook.com/groups/lomography.il/), and took out ads and catalogs to break into the mainstream. Now it has spread to Tel Aviv’s most important establishments: the bars.
For the past two months, the lomographers have taken their Wandering Gallery to various Tel Aviv bars, holding photo shoots and spreading the word to the uninitiated who happen to be present. On Sunday, October 21, the sixth and final event will be held at The Container in Jaffa.
“The most important rule in lomo is that there are no rules,” says Daphne Inbar, the Israeli branch representative and one of the event’s organizers. “We work with a few simple, carefully chosen film cameras and create an experience without thinking about frame, composition, light or anything photographers usually teach. We’re creating a free style of photography that’s discovering amazing worlds.”
The most popular lomo effects tend to require a good deal of film abuse, such as using expired film, double exposure, boiling negatives, sprinkling glitter inside the camera, even shattering the lens. The idea is to get as far away as possible from the world of classical photography.
“What I enjoy most is the aspect of the unknown,” says young lomographer Yahel Hilly Shachar. “You don’t have the instant gratification of seeing the frame you shot right away. Instead, there’s a dimension of randomness and waiting.”
The worldwide lomography community boasts hundreds of thousands of members. The local Israeli branch has 2,000 dedicated shooters. While the official work of Lomography Israel is importing cameras and accessories, most of its focus is on the community’s life. In addition to the Wandering Gallery events, the community has meetings, workshops, lectures, competitions and a Facebook page that serves as a virtual gallery.
The Wandering Gallery goes to bars to connect photography with people and atmosphere. The bar itself is mostly what dictates the exhibition’s subject. At Salon Berlin, the focus was surrealism while at Soda Bar, the exhibition embraced Israeli authenticity. At Barvaz, the lomographers photographed the local roller derby team.
When the Wandering Gallery hit up The Container last month, the community celebrated the release of a new lomography camera by La Sardina – appropriate for a venue so close to the fishing docks. La Sardina’s cameras sport “mind-blowing” wide-angle lenses that, yes, come in the shape of a sardine can.
Sunday's event at The Container, DJs included, will feature some of the shots taken at the previous event with La Sardina’s DIY camera. A photo booth will be on hand where the curious can try out cameras and document the official end of summer.
The Wandering Gallery’s closing event: Sunday, October 21, 2012, at The Container, Jaffa.