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The thing that sets the LOMO LC-A apart from most other compact cameras is its low-light performance.

Just like the Cosina CX-2 in which it’s based, the LC-A keeps the shutter open as long as is needed for correct exposure. It will keep the shutter open for up to two minutes. So while things might look shaky, at least they’ll be exposed.

The results I saw from early LC-A shooters (this being a half-decade before Flickr became big) made me want to emulate the moody mystery on nights out.

I took the LC-A almost everywhere that first winter, to bars and clubs and nights on the town. This is one of the first images I loved.

This was taken in a bar somewhere in Bermondsey, the South London neighbourhood stretching between Waterloo and Tower Bridge. I was there with a bunch of Kiwi transplants, my clubbing gang. Some of us are still here, some have long gone. The ranks thin after 15 years.

I was playing a game of pool with my friend Scott. Since he left to go back to NZ things have gone well; he’s a member of Fat Freddy’s Drop, the reggae-and-dub tinged Kiwi band who’ve become a live hit around the world. Obviously you’ll have to take my word for it. I have chopped off his head.

It’s the corner vignetting that makes this shot for me. We can’t see his face, so we can’t read the situation. But that vignetting adds mood and menace. This doesn’t look like a friendly game of pub pool. There might be more than a couple of pounds at stake.

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Stephen Dowling
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