On Mondays we like to take a moment and ask people who are experts in their fields to drop a bit of photographic knowledge on us. Today, we talk with Tiffany Bukowski, territory manager northwest, of the Lomographic Society USA. The Lomographic Society has carved out a unique niche, serving up analog (and only analog) photography in the digital age. If you’ve been in to Urban Outfitters or any one of the worldwide Lomography Gallery Stores, you’ve seen these marvelously low-tech, but incredibly cool cameras. This month the San Francisco Lomography Gallery Store will host a special exhibition of vintage Diana cameras – more on that below.
Blurb: What is your personal experience in photography? Do you shoot?
Tiffany: I used to be intimidated by photography, actually. I have some of the most talented friends that have spectacular portfolios of photographic work and I think that made me feel a bit… amateur. It wasn’t until a couple ears ago that I picked up an analog camera again (a PoP 9 in fact!). Lomography re-ignited the passion I always had for visual documentation. Since then I rarely leave my house without a camera (or two). In fact, last week someone actually paid me for a shot. So I guess that makes me a professional now… right?!
Blurb: Can you talk a bit about the Lomography brand?
Tiffany: Lomography is a company that began over two decades ago as an appreciation society for a small Russian camera – the LC-A, but has since become it’s own community of global Lomographers. We produce our own cameras, film and accessories. But it is truly about those who still have the creative force to go out everyday and shoot from the hip. Lomography is all about embracing the experiment and allowing yourself to adventure in the analog. We have an exceptional online community as well that truly motivates you to get out and shoot!
Blurb: What are your thoughts about the success of Lomography cameras when so much of the world is going digital?
Tiffany: There has never been a better time for Lomography. What we are seeing now is a validation of the aesthetic in light of apps and filters, as well as a desire for something that is tangible and thrives outside our online lives. There is a certain kind of magic in the happy accidents of film and the excitement of something that you literally have to wait to get back. Technology has a way of making our lives easier, but we all enjoy activities that take some skill or purposeful procedure – and these things have a way of making our lives richer.
Blurb: Which Lomography camera sells the best? Any thoughts on why?
Tiffany: Our perennial top sellers are always the Diana F+, the Diana Mini and the Fisheye. The Diana is simply iconic. It’s our take on the first 1960s plastic camera – of course, we’ve added our own features for added photo-fun. The Diana F+ takes 120 film (gorgious medium format) whereas the Mini is her 35mm little sister. Our Fisheye cameras do well because people understand the effect immediately. You can always get some great action shots, and it is a camera that we always tell customers “closer the better”!
Blurb: What does a Lomography Gallery Store offer?
Tiffany: Aside from always having the latest and greatest releases of our new cameras, the Lomography Gallery Stores are the community hub and meeting place for Lomographers from all over the world. Our Store makes a conscientious effort to socialize with the people who make Lomography what it is. Weekly, we host Blue Hours (mixers), workshops for all skill levels, and larger parties. We also take pride in our local Lomography talent and have a dedicated space on the second level for gallery shows that are rotated monthly.
Also, North America is hosting the Diana World Tour – and it kicks off in San Francisco on May 10th! This is a special Lomography rotation of the Deitrich collection of vintage Diana cameras and we are throwing some amazing opening parties across the United States. Every store is showcasing local artists’ Diana clones and a selection of work from the each territories’ best analog photographers. It’s going to be our biggest event this year, hands down.
Blurb: Is there a typical Lomographer?
Tiffany: Of course not! We pride ourselves on embracing each customer as an individual – no one Lomograph is the same, thus, no one Lomographer is either. As for the Store, there is a wide range of regulars that come in; from professional digital photographers who shot analog for themselves to young first-timers who’ve never even seen a film canister before. I think there is a contagious enthusiasm for Lomography that every person feels when they enter a Lomography Gallery Store or attend one of our events.