April 13 - As Facebook's billion dollar acquisition of Instagram makes headlines, a company called Lomography offers an alternative to using traditional film cameras. Andrew Potter reports.
Thought film was dead? Try visiting this store in central London. Here they still embrace the medium, through a range of distinctive cameras. The business is called Lomography. SOUNDBITE: ADAM SCOTT, LOMOGRAPHY UK GENERAL MANAGER, SAYING (English): "Lomography is a movement in photography, a creative movement. It's all about being free with your photos and not being so restricted by rules or anything like this. Photos taken with film maybe do look a little bit vintage compared to digital cameras. So a of people think of us as having vintage camera feel." Lomography started 20 years ago in Austria, when two students discovered this camera which was made in Russia, built of plastic and produced unique looking photographs. Other models followed, and so did cult popularity. I gave one of their cameras a go, and there's no denying the shots are... distinctive. More experienced hands achieve much better results. Lomography stores have sprung up around the globe, as photographers look for an alternative ways to capture the world around them. It's an anomaly at a time when film giants like Kodak are fighting for survival, as digital photography takes over. DELFINO TABOADA, LOMOGRAPHY CUSTOMER, SAYING (English): "It has something that digital doesn't. It has a a little bit of soul. You're tired of all the perfection." Long before social networks, Lomography started a community for photographers to share the images they took using their products. But giving photos that vintage feel exploded in popularity thanks to smartphones. Dozens of apps make it easy to customise photos with special effects then share them on social networking sites. It's big business. Facebook recently paid $1 billion for leading app Instagram. SOUNDBITE: ADAM SCOTT, LOMOGRAPHY UK GENERAL MANAGER, SAYING (English): "From our shops anyway people have come in with the apps and have sort of stumbled on it in a way. Maybe they've had the app but didn't know the real cameras existed so it maybe has a marketing effect for us as well. I definitely don't think it's had a negative effect." Lomography says it has weathered the economic downturn well, with photographers unwilling to sacrifice their hobby. It has a lab in east London to develop film, giving snappers the thrill of getting their photos back even in the digital age. Andrew Potter, Reuters