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March 2000


Simple, low-tech camera provides artistic images

By Anthony Ip

Article from the same section:
Lam Tsuen ‘tradition’ - The Wishing Tree

To professional photographers, "lomographs", pictures taken by a camera called a Lomo, may be considered to be low quality. However, to the lovers of this new photographic style, photography should be about ideas, and techniques are not important.

In fact, while most cameras nowadays emphasize high technology, Lomo cameras offer nearly no functions. Each Lomo camera only has a simple optic lens, and there is no flash function.

The resulting photos may be blurred and distorted. However, it is this "low-tech" feature that people are crazy about.

Said Mr. Wolfgang Stranzinger, the president of the Lomographic Society International in Vienna and the Lomographic Players in Hong Kong: "Lomographs are made spontaneously. They are warm and colourful.

"You can have great surprise when you take a picture without any plans."

According to Mr. Stranzinger, lomographs show reality in a more authentic way than the ones taken by professional photographers, as they often involve construction.

Miss German Yan is a Year 1 student at the University of Hong Kong who has been taking lomographs for 2 months.

"It is not difficult to take good photos with Lomo," said Miss Yan. "But it is much easier to make them bad. Most pictures would probably be under-exposed or out of focus."

However, Miss Yan said lomographs provide lots of surprises.

She said while taking lomographs, she finds herself moving away from reality and thus relieves stress. And she said that is why she is so addicted to lomography.

Miss Yan said she would take pictures of many different things in future lomographs.

"I take pictures of what I like," said Miss Yan. "Even tiny stuff."

For example, she said she took pictures of the escalators in the MTR, of a little cockroach on the floor and of her messy desk.

Mr. Stranzinger said people get interested in details in life when they start taking lomographs.

Said he, "Garbage lying on the street, a part of a dog, or even a shoe with a part of a leg can be the subjects in the lomographs."

Mr. Stranzinger also said that taking lomographs could help people communicate with each other. And that is why they allow people to post their pictures on the homepage of the Lomographic Society International (

"Lomographs have become projects for international communication," said Mr. Stranzinger.

However, Miss Yan, the Hong Kong University student, did not consider her lomographs artwork. To her, taking pictures with a Lomo camera is only for recording memorable moments.

Mr. Edmund Lo, part-time lecturer of photojournalism in the School of Journalism and Communication of the Chinese University, also said that Lomography is not art. He said that lomograpghy is more like a game.

Said he: "Different photographic equipment has its own characteristics and photographers should try their best to make good use of the equipment to produce good pictures.

"As lomographs are photos taken without any planning, it is not art anyway."

Also, he said he found no point in buying an extra camera particularly for that purpose.

"Lomography is nothing special," Mr. Lo said. "The effects in lomographs can be done by any other simple automatic cameras.







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(Courtesy of Lomographic Society International)




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(Courtesy of Lomographic Society International)



Internet Links:
Lomographic Society International
School of Journalism and Communication
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
The University of Hong Kong

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