Friday, November 20, 2009

10 Golden Rules of Lomography

For those who are just new to Lomography, one of the most popular searches made concerns with guidelines or tips on how to take lomographic pictures. Just as traditional photography have basic rules on composition, so does lomography. Although the term “rules” seem to be antithesis to what Lomography is all about, there are 10 Golden Rules that actually exist. You may use them as initial guidelines if you do not know where to start. Eventually, you are expected to make rules of your own; so that, you can have an identity as a lomographer or photographer. Here goes…

1. Take your Lomo everywhere you go. This is a very useful tip. Many times in the past, situations have presented themselves to me; a beautiful subject, a single spectacular moment in time, etc. Unfortunately, on some of these occasions, I am without a camera. If you ever had such an experience, I believe you know the feeling. Regardless of where you are going, however boring your errand is, always carry your camera. Even if you will simply walk around the corner to buy something. No two moments are ever the same, and interesting subjects are never too remote. So, don’t be lazy, put that lomo camera on your pocket, or sling it on your shoulder, and be ready for that one great moment. One more thing, an extra roll of film is also not a bad idea at all.

2. Use it anytime - day and night. Because photography is essentially painting with light, some people are very particular with the quantity of available light. This should not be a concern for lomographers. Your primary loyalty should be to the moment. When the moment comes, with no particular consideration for time of day, click that shutter. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. However, there are certain limitations to this rule, depending on the camera you are using. A handful of lomo or toy cameras, those with fixed aperture and fixed shutter speed, and similarly does not have flash, are completely useless at night. That’s just their specifications; they are for day time photography only. Unless you find a way to modify that camera to be used with a flash, reserve them for moments under a brightly shining sun.

3. Lomography is not an interference with your life but a part of it. If you feel uncomfortable about what you are doing, or if you feel that you are burdened by the act of carrying a camera and taking photographs, there is something wrong. It could be that, it is simply not your cup of tea, or you are pressuring yourself with unnecessary expectations. Relax! There is nothing at stake here; you are supposed to have fun. Enjoy it as much as you a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice!

4. Get as close as possible to the objects of you lomographic desire. Or, as close as your camera could possibly allow you. Unless you are taking photographs of landscape or clouds, try to get close to your subject. Fill that frame up! It is difficult to appreciate photos that do not seem to have a story to tell. Also, lomographic techniques that result to saturated colors and high contrast complement well with well defined shapes.

5. Don't think, just shoot. Among all the rules of lomography, this is probably one of the most frequently quoted. It is a slogan for many lomographers. It is the ultimate expression of the carefree and punk rock nature of lomography. Too much thinking makes your photos more predictable, hence less surprising. It defeats one of the major joys of lomography, that is, stumbling upon happy accidents. Spontaneity is the key, not composition; let your instincts take care of that. Humans by nature are hardwired to appreciate beauty, order and symmetry, so it should come natural for us to compose an image without being conscious about it. Besides, lomograpic cameras are not necessarily SLR cameras, so there really is no point in relying much on your view finder, in fact there are some cameras that do not have one. And, if you are still thinking if you should take a photograph of a subject or not, that simply means you should!

6. Be fast. For me, this is one of the most challenging rules. Timing means a lot to photography in general. Great pictures are those that immortalizes a single great moment in time; like Pacquiao’s gloves pressing against and denting Cottos cheeks. The impossible question is, when will that time come? More often than not, timing is a game of chance; hence, if you cannot predict it, don’t wait for it! In a matter of seconds, one special moment would gone by, never to return again. Do not wait for the right moment, because the perfect moment is here and now. Once you feel it, shoot it! Again, refrain from too much cognitive processes.

7. You don't have to know beforehand what is on your film;
8. Nor afterwards. After the shutter clicks, move on. Do not linger on the previous subject or imagine how the image might come out. You can’t do no wrong in lomography, so relax! It is done! Your next subject awaits you. Commit to the moment!

9. Shoot from the hip, behind your back, from the ground, and what not. The camera should not always be in front of your face. Everybody’s looking for a new perspective, those which the eye does not often see; so let your hands take your camera to unchartered territories and impossible angels. Surprise yourself, as though these pictures were taken by your alternate personality. Go psycho over lomo!

10. Don't worry about the golden rules. Break it and shake it! Welcome to photographers’ anarchy!

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