Marks and Remarks
Food for the Mind and Eye

No. 0149, December 7, 2017


  Paul's Folly

     "Susie: a Lomographic Portrait"

Copyright 2017 by S.W. Paul Wyszkowski

     Lomography, as best I can tell, is a species of photography which intentionally uses bad cheap cameras for sake of their optical and other peculiarities. Which, I suppose, is one way to introduce some chaos into a picture to make it more interesting. I believe it is a Russian invention. While the most popular (and probably the original) lomographic camera is the Helga, a poorly made toy camera with a plastic lens, there are many others. There are even cameras specifically made for lomography, hard as that may be to believe.

     The SX-70, world's most elegant and optically amazing camera, introduced by Polaroid in 1970s (see M&R #146 for more about the SX-70), is finely crafted and not cheap in any sense of the word. However, it is technically quirky and the film it uses, recently reinvented by the fans of the camera and now available once again (at a fabulous price), is even quirkier. This qualifies the SX-70 as a bona fide lomographic camera. It is certainly not feasible or even possible to use an SX-70 for straight photography of documentary sort.

     Susie (see photo above) has been for decades my favorite test model for new photographic equipment, materials and techniques. (Being made of faux alabaster she hasn't aged a bit in all those years and, so far, has not accused me of sexual harassment.) This recent SX-70 photo of her, a counter-example of conventionally good photography, out of focus and largely accidental, ironically turned out to be the best portrait of her I have ever made.

     "So I guess you are now a lomographer?" asks Prickles, our resident student of odd human behaviors and a full-fledged hedgehog. Apparently. And, I assure you, unintentionally. But I can't argue with the results. "Oh, I could," she says cryptically and scampers off.