Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Just another one of my favourite creative pursuits. Lomography is the trademark for all things related to photography created by Lomographische AG, an Austrian company. Basically, their cameras are very inexpensive because they are entirely made of plastic, including the lens. They leak light and are very difficult to focus. When you shoot with a lomo camera, even if you try really hard to set things up, you really don't know what you're going to get until you develop the pictures. From my experience the pictures turn out anywhere from grey and eerie to bright and playful.

This is my lomo, a Holga, that I bought at Urban Outfitters in downtown Toronto. It's scratched up and well-loved. Unfortunately, a battery leaked in it last year, but I think I have it all cleaned up. I must have put my last roll of film in it before we moved because I just opened it up to check it out and accidentally exposed the roll four shots in. It's okay though because brief amounts of light exposure can produce some really interesting effects. All of the photos I have taken with my lomo are in the two albums underneath the camera in this picture. The Holga takes 120 mm film which is a little expensive. I have always meant to buy an adapter so that I can use 35 mm film in it as well. Maybe I'll have one sent to Squirrel Camp. I'm definitely taking my lomo with me on this trip. I wish I had been able to take it to Australia and New Zealand because I could have taken incredible pictures of the red and green landscapes, but I did not have any room left in my luggage at all.

The first time I took the Holga out. Nat and I went up to Rockwood Conservation Area for a bit of a photo shoot at the old wool mill. It was a grey day to begin with and that worked really well for me. I love the way Nat's red toque stood out in every shot.

I had these first photos printed on 3x3 inch paper. Later I realized that I could have it done on 4x4 or 5x5. I got a little carried away with the sizing and I actually like the 3x3 the best because I can fit two pictures on each page in my little albums. Having 120 mm film developed is actually quite the ordeal. The camera needs to be opened in a darkroom, so I can't do it by myself unless I want that light leak effect. Some day I will acquire a little darkroom bag so I can change it myself. I always just go to Pond's in Guelph. I consider the employees there to be the most knowledgeable in Guelph and they still panic when I bring them my Holga. I try to tell them that I don't really worry about what actually happens to the pictures but they are all perfectionists and can't deal with having, what they perceive as, a negative impact on my results.

Next, I took my Holga out on my way home from school one evening. I got some really beautiful pictures of the sunset and the old buildings I passed by each day.

One of my favourite pictures of Em and Daphne in the old orange kitchen on Emslie Street. In reality, the orange is much brighter, but the lomo can do all sorts of interesting things to colour.

The Holga also came to Hillside with me in 2008. This is one I took of Andrew and Em. They turned out a little pinkish, for some reason, but quite in focus.

Halfway through the festival I changed the film and put it in on the wrong setting. As a result, the pictures all overlapped. I wasn't too concerned, but when I picked up my pictures they came with a giant piece of uncut negatives. This way I could go back and make reprints and have them cut the way I wanted. Not necessary.

A bit of Em, Laura, Bronwen, and Lee, checking out the lineup.

I must have taken the lomo to the Mariposa Festival that year too because I found this, which I love. It's a half and half of a blurry Kristen (she's knitting) and a tiny, in focus Joel Plaskett. This small tent is Mariposa-style and I don't remember him being at Hillside. And I do remember that seed stitch hat Kristen was making in Orillia.

In the fall of 2008 I made a special trip to take my lomo to the Cheltenham Badlands. I had never actually been there before and I really wanted to see them, so I convinced a boy to take me there on a second date. I knew that this was also going to be a last date, so I didn't really care if he thought I was crazy for wanting to spend my Saturday afternoon taking pictures of clay hills with a weird little plastic camera. Don't worry, I did feel a little bit guilty for insisting we do something he may not have been interested in so I made him the best picnic I have probably ever put together. And, I think, we were both quite content.

As I was packing to leave Guelph, I decided that I needed to take some shots around town to remember my last summer as a grad student. This is a self portrait taken on Bristol Street near the Edinburgh Street intersection.

As these are all digital images of film pictures, some of the Holga character has been lost. They also look a little more washed out than they actually are. I wish I could show every picture here, but there are just way too many. I'm sure I'll have more on this topic once I'm home from the north.

1 comment:

  1. wow!! nice shots Cass, I don't believe I have looked in your albums in quite some time... I'm happy to hear that you are taking the lomo with you to the Yukon. I can only imagine the great shots you will get!!!

    Happy packing...