An ornately-decorated canopy made of bamboo is framed in the foreground with the ocean and mountains behind it.
Film Photos & Projects

LomoChrome Metropolis in the Philippines – by Yameen

January 23, 2022

Lomography’s LomoChrome Metropolis has admittedly been a wildcard among the options in my film drawer. Introduced in 2019 with a successful Kickstarter campaign, it was heralded as “the first new color negative film in over 5 years” and was made available in a wide arrangement of formats including 35mm, 120, 110 and 16mm. 

With its subdued, muted color palette, Metropolis is advertised as ideal for cosmopolitan cities, hence its namesake. But I wondered: what would Lomography’s “city” film look like when shot in a lush, colorful tropical setting?

A white & green tuk-tuk rickshaw parked in front of a gray concrete building.

A young boy runs past a garage with its door half way open, revealing a parked motorcycle.

Mellons line up against a wall on the floor outside as a motorcycle is parked next to them, slightly obscured by shadow.

A deeper shade of sol

In 2020, I traveled across the Philippines with two film cameras which became the body of work for my photo book, Kuya. On the beautiful, colorful island of Palawan I loaded up a roll of 35mm Metropolis in my Fujifilm Klasse W point-and-shoot camera and made my way to the town of El Nido for a mix of street and landscape-style photography. As I walked around taking pictures, I hopelessly wondered how the photos would render on Metropolis’ unique color palette. After a few exciting weeks of anticipation, I received the scans back from the lab and was quite pleased with the results.

A boat sits passenger-less in a brigth blue ocean with mountains in close distance.

Metropolis’ muted tones are evident, for sure, but a subtle warmth to the photos remains true to how I recall my memories of that day. Skin tones appear pleasing with perhaps a bit of heightened exaggeration. Somewhat surprisingly, blues really pop. The crispness of the ocean is wonderfully rendered, as are the bright blue skies. Other colors stand out, green among them. From the palm trees, melons, coconuts and unripe bananas scattered among shops on the main commercial road, greens appear lush and nearly true to nature. Elsewhere in town colorful tuk-tuk rickshaws with their imaginative mashup of colorways appear as lively as they do in person, although reds are not as expressive on Metropolis as I had hoped.

The film’s latitude is impressive: I overexposed by one stop, rating the “variable speed” film at 200 iso (Lomography claims it can be rated between 100-400). But even on this extremely sunny day none of my highlights were overblown. Shadow detail was faithfully preserved and film grain appears pleasing to the eye. Anecdotally, some of the shots charmingly remind me of tones captured on my beloved, expired Agfa films.

The ocean and mountains are framed in the distance between a plam tree and white concrete building.
A shadowy pattern overlays an ornately-decorated stairwell.

Watermelon and other wares are lined up on wooden shelves in an outdoor vendor stall.

A blue metal wall sits in front of a construction site with a poster promoting a forthcoming waterslide park's future debut.

Final thoughts

As a film photographer in an unpredictable market that seemingly constricts and expands year-to-year, I appreciate having different options available and I particularly love that Lomography provides many creative tools for artists.

Its name may arguably be limiting in a way that does it few marketing favors, but LomoChrome Metropolis deserves to be explored outside of strictly an urban city’s boundary. With an announcement at the end of 2021 that Lomography would soon introduce an updated formula of Metropolis with more contrast and punch (and seemingly sultry reds), I think “v2” of the LomoChrome brand’s “city” film may just be the formula that convinces more people to step outside of its concrete jungle.

A vendor sells ice cream to a young girl as a man sits behind them looking at the photographer.

A young boy sits on the ground, his arms rested on his knees, as a blue motorcyle is parked in front of him.

A ridged brown door with a brown canopy sits flush in a gray concrete wall.

A decorative star ornament hangs on a white concrete building, partially obscuring a sign that reads 'NO PARKING'.

A motorcycle sits parked in front of a blue metal wall with the words 'NO PARKING' written in red.

Yameen is a photographer and sifter in the land of fun. Based in San Francisco, California, he is always looking to capture the beautiful, the gritty, the absurd & the unexpected.

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10 Comments

  • Reply
    Fred Nelson
    January 23, 2022 at 6:56 pm

    Very nice write up and pictures! I’m going to have to try the film!

    • Reply
      Yameen
      January 24, 2022 at 4:25 pm

      Thank you! And yes, definitely try it out. I think it has a lot of untapped potential. Really interested in picking up the new 2021 formula. Thanks again!

  • Reply
    James Evidon
    January 23, 2022 at 10:43 pm

    I have been ‘whelmed’ by most of. the Lomographic films and frankly turned off by the more colorful kitchy ones. But this one is downright pleasant. It has a very natural look, and for digitsl post-processing, I find it easier to add a little contrat and saturation than it is to tone down those higher saturation and contrasty images. Congratulations to Lomo for heading in thr right direction.

    As for the images posted by Yameen, very very nice!

    • Reply
      Yameen
      January 24, 2022 at 4:26 pm

      Thanks so much! Have you been able to try the new 2021 formula yet? I am really interested in it. The reds in particular look pretty amazing.

  • Reply
    Scott Gitlin
    January 24, 2022 at 6:47 pm

    The film nicely complements your compositions.

    • Reply
      Yameen
      January 24, 2022 at 8:51 pm

      😳 Thanks, Scott! Much appreciated.

  • Reply
    Juan Suarez
    January 25, 2022 at 8:49 am

    The color palette, and probably the subject, reminds me of my childhood in Ecuador. Lovely work.

    • Reply
      Yameen
      January 25, 2022 at 2:09 pm

      Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply
    K
    May 15, 2022 at 5:34 am

    Thanks for sharing this… all your pics are excellent! Loved the subtle warmth and the authentic bleach bypass-y look of the motorcycle pics… you’ve convinced me to save my metropolis roll for the beach!

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