The Lomography Interview: Hannah Brown
We're halfway through our September #LomoMonth, and are really enjoying all the incredible images that people are sharing and discussing on social media - as well as the renewed interest in the Simple Use Cameras! It's also been a wonderful opportunity to spend more time with Hannah Brown, Lomography's UK Marketing Manager, so we thought we'd share some of our conversations and ask her some questions about the Lomography story.
Hannah - thank you so much for taking the time to chat, and for your support for our LomoMonth! Let’s start with your background: have you always been into film photography or did it coincide with your start at Lomography?
Hello! I did A-Level photography back in the 90’s before the digital days and learned everything about film photography from using an SLR to developing and enlarging. When I got to university everyone started using digital cameras and I totally fell out of love with it. It wasn’t until years later when I picked up my Pentax ME Super and started shooting again that it all came flooding back. I never realised it at the time but I was just really drawn to the aesthetics and process of shooting with film.
The Pentax ME Super is a classic! For those of our readers who don’t know the history of Lomography, can you please give us a brief overview of the brand and the company? How did it start and what have been the big milestones?
Back in 1992 a group of Viennese students stumbled across a small Russian camera in a flea market called the Lomo LC-A. It produced highly saturated unique photographs that were totally different to the photos people were taking at that time. When they took it home and showed their friends they all loved it, so they decided to try to get it back in production. Pretty soon, everybody wanted one, and this jump started a movement that we now know as Lomography. Since then we’ve reproduced a whole host of cameras and have over 1 million community members from around the globe.
Lomography has survived and thrived through some of the toughest years of the film photography industry: what do you think it is about the brand that has made it so resilient to the digital pressure?
We are genuinely passionate about film and that’s reflected in our community as well. Over the last few years we’ve produced new cameras that push the boundaries of this format, so, for example the Spinner which gives a 360 degree photo, or the LomoKino that creates short, super 8 style movies from 35mm film. We like to keep pushing what’s possible. We also launched a series of Art Lenses, this opened up the possibilities of shooting with film or digital and created a new pool of community members.
Ok so it's about adapting to trends while always being 'pushy' about film! And Lomography has a truly global fanbase - do you see any common trends in the countries where Lomography has been embraced? And where do you think the analogue renaissance will strike next?
One common trend is travel. Our community love to experience new things and go on trips around the globe, exploring new places and documenting them. Sometimes they’ll shoot a roll of film in NYC and post it over to someone in the UK to shoot over the top - we call this a filmswap. It creates a mixed collage of double exposures. It’s a really fun way to connect with people from different locations.
I have no idea where the “analogue renaissance” will strike next but there has recently been a rise in interest from the younger generation who grew up with digital and find the process and technique of film photography really exciting.
I’ve always been a big fan of the Lomography Golden Rules - they capture so much of the fun of film - which is your particular favourite and why?
It has to be “Take Your Camera Everywhere You Go”, mostly because I have a habit of forgetting and always miss out on a great photo. I’m getting better though and now keep my LC-Wide in my bag most of the time.
We’re obviously highlighting the Lomography Simple Use cameras in our month’s activities: why do you think photographers could benefit from adding a Simple Use to their camera bag?
The Simple Use Camera is small, compact and it’s super light. This means you can take it with you without it weighing you down. It’s so easy to shoot with, you don’t have to fiddle about turning it on or adjusting the focus. This makes it the perfect point and shoot, easy to use camera. The best part is that the camera is re-loadable too, so you can pop in any 35mm film once your done with the first preloaded roll.
Lomography manufacture an amazing breadth of films and continue to bring out new emulsions fairly frequently. What’s your personal favourite of the Lomography films today?
That’s a really hard question to answer because I tend to shoot with different films for different cameras. So, for example, I'll always shoot with Lomography XPRO Slide 120 film (cross-processed) on my Diana F+ for punchy, distorted colours and have recently been trying out some Lady Grey B&W film with the LC-A 120 because you can get a really crisp, high contrast effect which I love. I also highly recommend the Lomography 400 Color Neg 35mm film. I use it on my LC-A+ and Pentax ME Super and it always gives really sharp and colourful results.
Which of the recent Lomography film launches (I’m thinking Potsdam, Berlin, Lomochrome Purple) did you enjoy working on the most and why?
It has to be the LomoChrome Purple, it totally blew me away when I saw the first sample images. I couldn’t believe I was looking at a film that turned the green hues purple! I’d only ever seen similar with the Kodak Aerochrome film but never got the opportunity to try that out. The LomoChrome Purple is a really rewarding film to shoot with and you can process it the same as Color Negative film too (C41)
Lomography recently ran another successful Kickstarter: this time for LomoChrome Metropolis! What are you most excited about with this film? What does it do differently to anything else on the market?
The LomoChrome Metropolis is the first new Color Neg film to be produced in around five years so it’s a pretty special one for us. We’ve always been big believers in the need to keep analogue photography alive so it’s great to see more and more people getting into film. Manufacturing film can be really tough in this day and age and so there has been a number of films disappearing off the shelves but with this new growing demand we are now seeing companies re-release previously extinct film such as Ektachrome or Acros. With Metropolis we wanted something totally unique and looking at the first test shots its come out amazingly. Metropolis is a high contrast desaturated film that highlights the blacks in your images more than any other colour negative film we see on the market today - now that the Kickstarter campaign is over and we have successfully funded it’s production - we can’t wait to launch it next year!
Me too :-D And then what do you see as the future for film photography in Europe? What do you think needs to happen for analogue photography to continue growing with the next generation of image-makers?
There is a difficult balancing act for any film producer in today’s world as film sales continues to rise and manufacturing continues to become more and more difficult. We’ve seen so much growth in the last ten years it’s a struggle to keep up! A few London-based labs have reported more students and professional fashion photographers dropping films off and more portfolios have “film photography” sections than before. It’s really important to keep flying the analogue flag, supporting those companies that keep the industry alive and sharing the amazing photos created by the community to inspire more and more people to shoot film.
Is there anything you want the Analogue Wonderland community to know about Lomography that we haven’t already covered?
Maybe a reminder about two more of our rules. “Don’t think, Just Shoot” and “Don’t Worry About Any Rules” :-)
Hannah - thank you so much! You can join the Lomography community at their website here as well as follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. All photos from this article (c) Hannah Brown / Lomography
And if this has inspired you to try your hand with a Lomo film you can view our entire range of Lomography products here :-)
You can also read our recent Ultimate Guide to Lomography Film to understand more about the different results you can achieve