Youth take part in an extraordinary photographic experience
“Lomography is about being who you are no matter what – no apologies necessary!” says Kimon Kaketsis, a workshop presenter at the Lomography Gallery Store. Kaketsis presented a workshop to participants from Support Our Youth (SOY) in the days leading up to Pride, introducing them to the quirky, experimental, artistic analogue movement of Lomography.
Lomography as a photographic movement began in the early 1990s when two Viennese students happened on a Lomo Kompakt Automat, from which the movement takes its name, a small 35mm camera manufactured in Russia. They quickly fell in love with the photos the camera produced, with explosive colours, rich saturation and vignetting (dark edges and soft focus that frames a shot). Soon after this they founded the Lomographic Society International, which quickly grew to be a worldwide community for lomographers to share pictures, camera tips and organized happenings. Many of the cameras are made of plastic, allowing for light leaks and double exposures, which often gives lomographers “happy mistakes” and a unique picture for every shot. Whereas with digital cameras a photographer could take a hundred pictures that look good but are all the same, lomographers would rarely get the same picture twice.
“One of my very first cameras was the Holga,” a popular plastic camera, Kaketsis explains, “because it was an inexpensive alternative to shoot 120 film [medium format], and I fell in love with the aesthetic of what plastic lenses can do to film.” Originally from Calgary, Kaketsis moved to Toronto in 2002 to study photography, going on to do his master's in communication and culture. “During my master's thesis, I researched the concept of nostalgia in relation to snapshot photography. To do this, I turned to Lomography to use their products to help create my project. This was around the time they opened their location in Toronto. Since I am so involved in analogue photography, I wanted to work for a company that supports my ideals.”
The Lomography Gallery Store in Toronto opened in 2010 and has been offering an analogue alternative to the city. For people who want to try something different from the “digital grind,” the store offers workshops on different cameras and techniques, giving the curious the chance to try their hand at lomography and old pros the opportunity to try new things. “The store is also host to many great events,” Kaketsis says. “Just recently we had the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival and NXNE, and we also have plenty of product launch parties open to the public to celebrating analogue photography with us.”
Lomography spans the world, with stores in dozens of countries, and the community reflects this global diversity with throngs of queer members, Kaketsis among them. Gearing up for Pride, the Lomography Gallery Store got in touch with SOY and organized a workshop where youth participants shot with La Sardina 35mm cameras, with exceptional results. “I most definitely love Pride Toronto and all the parties and festivities, but it’s great to look at it from a different perspective, or through the lens, if you will,” Kaketsis says. “This workshop was a great way to show that. We got some fantastic shots out of it, too. . . Pretty good for first-time lomographers!”
Michael Lyons loves taking it analogue.
The Lomography Gallery Store is located at 536 Queen St W and holds different workshops and events every week. lomography.com
Below is a slideshow of pics taken during the workshop by the talented peeps at SOY (and Michael Lyons).