Photography by ANTON (with Lubitel)
Words by Stephen Dowling
Photographer ANTON set up a pop-up studio at Lomography's Soho store to celebrate its fourth birthday, shooting analogue photography fans and their cameras of choice.
Analogue photographers come in all shapes and sizes - just like the cameras they use. One of the joys of using old film cameras is discovering the almost limitless variety of shapes manufacturers came up with to create a light-tight box to hold film. Some are stylish and classic, others look like overgrown children's toys or props from a science fiction film.
A camera is a pleasing thing to hold – and some just seem to fit our hands perfectly. Why one photographer might choose a Leica rangefinder and the other a gleaming-chrome-and-black Nikon is down to the individual. That's why some photographers feel an affinity to one model for no other reason than it just feels right. Why does one photographer click with a Lubitel – the bug-eyed Russian medium format camera Anton used to take some of these pics – and another choose the refined Hasselblad. The Pentax ESII – a 35mm SLR made for a couple of years in the 1970s – is a relatively unremarkable camera, but it's the one I'd choose to take with me over any other.
Film cameras were made in tens of millions in a century that saw formats rise and fall. Film itself is still with us, and a handful of companies are still making film cameras now. Vienna-based Lomography – formed after a bunch of Austrian students discovered a Soviet photographic curio in a Prague shop - seem to have decided that the future is both analogue, and quirky. From the robotic chunkiness of the Lomo LC-A compact to the retro-in-plastic folding Bel-Air; the bright, cartoonish Diana F to the sardine-tin-styled La Sardina, Lomo's cameras are bright and informal. They are made in a sometimes dizzying array of colours and special editions. Above all, they are fun. These are tactile objects feel different to our fingers compared to our sleek smartphones, waiting for a swipe.