25 Lomos: 23. Guitar streaks

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One of the foundations Lomography was built upon was of embracing experiments and defects.

The Lomo LC-A was a camera built in typical 80s-era Russian style – low on finesse. Compare the camera to its ancestor, the Cosina CX-2 and you’ll feel the difference.

The camera’s vignetting and the shakiness that could come from its long shutter speeds would be minus points in some photographers’ eyes. Lomography taught you, instead, to embrace them.

As Lomography developed, it championed other cameras with idiosyncratic quirks.

Prime amongst these were medium format toy cameras such as the Holga and the Diana. Their plastic lenses and cheap construction meant all sorts of aberrations, from focus fall off to film-burning light leaks.

Lomography’s philosophy? Welcome them.

This picture wasn’t taken on a Holga and Diana – so light leaks wasn’t something I was expecting or looking forward to. Instead, it was shot on an LC-A 120, the medium format big brother of the original LC-A.

I had the LC-A 120 with me on a trip to New Zealand, and I was glad I did. It’s the perfect camera for those big blue southern skies and bright light.

This was taken not long after this pic of the Wesley Methodist Hall. This secondhand store was a treasure trove of bric-a-brac and castoffs, including these guitars hanging from the ceiling. A quiet place full of forgotten treasures, the bright summer sun streaming through the window.

The LC-A 120 is light and made of plastic, but it isn’t prone to light leaks; this came from the film slipping off the spool as I reloaded the camera. Light bled in from the edges before I was able to tape it up and pop it in a light-tight film case.

Happy accident. What would have been a decent xpro shot was suddenly turned into something fantastical. It’s not just the streaks – it’s the Kodak name burnt through the backing paper, stark as a tattoo.

Perhaps it’s the contrast and the extra grain from the cross-processing, but the accidental light streaks here look fantastic. It feels like a lost album cover.

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