At the height of the early 1990’s Glasnost chic, the experiments of two Austrian students spawned a whole new wave of photography. Their own enthusiasm for the pictures they were producing with the Russian camera, the Lomo Kompakt Automat, led them to the smart idea to head for St Petersburg and negotiate a contract for the worldwide distribution of the cameras.
Positioning themselves as a movement rather than a product, they exhorted fellow enthusiasts for the very specific kind of saturated images produced by the dinky little cameras to see their photography as a lifestyle; Lomography. And it caught on. A kind of low-tech, pre-Flickr analogue network of eager photographers, professionals and amateurs alike, snapping the world. The fondness for the luxury-free Soviet stylings of the cameras was all part of it. Soon the retro product design of Lomography cameras became an object of desire around the world.
Lomography Gallery Stores began to pop up in many major cities, cleverly styled as places that would showcase the output of the cameras’ users as much as being a retail outlet.
The success of the classic Diana + cameras is at the heart of the most recent escapade: The Diana World Tour. The tour involves an exhibition of customised classic Diana+ cameras – which has already been shown in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul, Porto, Lisbon, Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and New York City – taking up residence at the Lomgraphy Gallery Store in London for the month of April, coinciding with the launch of a number of new special cameras.
In London, the exhibition of over 100 classic Diana and Diana clone cameras from the ’60’s and ’70’s will be complemented by a special project of customised cameras. The London exhibition will see a broad range of UK-based creatives and designers unveil their own version of the classic Diana camera; from Tatty Devine and Philip Treacy to Kate Moross and Vexed Generation.