Lomography is a commercial trademark of Lomographische AG, which their creators associate to a photographic image style and an analog camera movement and community facilitated by The Lomographic Society International. The Lomographic Society International was founded in 1992 by a group of Viennese students after they discovered the LCA, a camera created by LOMO PLC of Saint Petersburg, Russia. Lomography started as an art movement through which the students put on exhibitions of photos within Vienna; the art movement then developed into a commercial enterprise. Since 1995, Lomography has been the sole distributor of the LC-A camera outside the former Soviet Union, and has moved into producing their own range of analog cameras, films and accessories.
Lomography relates to Lomographic photographers who advocate creative and experimental film photography. The name is inspired by the former state-run optics manufacturer LOMO PLC of Saint Petersburg, Russia that created and produced the 35 mm LOMO LC-A Compact Automat camera, now central to lomography. This camera was loosely based upon the Cosina CX-1 and introduced in the early 1980s.
In 1991, a group of Viennese students discovered the LOMO LC-A and were inspired by its "unique, colorful, and sometimes blurry" images. The Lomographic Society International was subsequently founded in 1992. After a series of art exhibitions culminating in shows in New York City and Moscow, Lomography signed an exclusive distribution agreement with LOMO PLC in 1995 — becoming the sole distributor of all LOMO LC-A cameras outside of the former Soviet Union. The new company reached an agreement with the deputy mayor of St Petersburg, the future Russian Prime Minister and President, Vladimir Putin, to receive a tax break in order to keep the LOMO factory in the city open.
Since the introduction of the original LOMO LC-A, Lomography has produced a line of their own analog cameras. In 2005, production of the original LOMO LC-A was discontinued. Its replacement, the LOMO LC-A+, was introduced in 2006. The new camera, made in China rather than Russia, featured the original Russian lens manufactured by LOMO PLC. This changed as of mid-2007 with the lens now made in China as well.
In November 2012, the Lomographic Society International celebrated its 20th anniversary. The LC-A+ camera was re-released as a special edition.
Current models marketed by Lomographische AG include:
- LOMO LC-A+
- Diana F+
- Spinner 360°
- Sprocket Rocket
- Fisheye 2
- Colorsplash Flash
- La Sardina cameras - a line of wide-angle cameras inspired by vintage sardine cans and whose design is loosely based on old the Kandor Candid camera
- LomoKino - a 35 mm analog movie camera
- Diana Baby - 110 film
- Fisheye Baby - 110 film
- Konstruktor - a Build-It-Yourself 35 mm SLR camera
- Fritz the Blitz
In 2013, together with Zenit, Lomography produced a new version of the Petzval Lens designed to work with Canon EF and Nikon F mount SLR cameras.
The company produces and sells several kinds of 35 mm, 120 and 110 film.
Similar to Eastman Kodak's concept of the "Kodak moment", the philosophy behind Lomography is summarized in its motto, "Don’t Think, Just Shoot." This motto is accompanied by The Ten Golden Rules which are supposed to encourage spontaneity and the taking of photographs anywhere, while minimizing considerations of formal technique. Typical Lomography cameras are deliberately low-fidelity and of simple construction. Some cameras make use of multiple lenses and rainbow-colored flashes; some exhibit extreme optical distortions and light leaks. The intention of the lomographic style is one of acceptance of such deficiencies in order to create images with a unique character.
Typical of lomography are images with high-contrast and with unusual saturation and color that were created using the technique called cross processing in which film intended for developing in slide chemistry (E-6) is processed in photographic negative chemistry (C-41), and vice versa. This technique can be employed with any film camera and can be somewhat mimicked with photo-editing software such as GIMP or Photoshop. However the use of digital manipulation to create this effect goes somewhat against the principles of Lomography.
The Lomographic Society International runs Lomography Gallery Stores and so-called "embassies" dedicated to the growth, support and public exposure of analogue photography. Customers interact through social events such as exhibits and workshops.
An example of the society's cultural events showcasing Lomographers' talents is the Lomokikuyu competition, which raises money for eye surgeries and vision care in Kenya, in partnership with Viennese vision aid organisation Light for the World. The project has since been updated and donations now also go to the International Red Cross to help fight famine in East Africa. More recently, portion of the sales from Japan Golden Week Edition cameras were donated to the Red Cross as relief to the victims of the March 2011 tsunami. The organisation also organises the Lomography World Congress, an international conference of practitioners held in varying host cities.
The Lomographic Society International also maintains a community web site featuring lomographic photographs.