Lomo LC-A - Jamie Winder - 35mmc
5 frames with...

Recreating the past: 5 frames with a Lomo LC-A – by Jamie Winder

June 30, 2020

Photography has been an interest of mine since I can remember, one that seems to only grow over time. Back when I was using digital point’n’shoots (I couldn’t then imagine carrying a larger camera), I read about a small company who had acquired rights to manufacture and distribute an old Russian camera from the early 80s. It was small and as easy to use as my Sony Cyber-shot, but it turned out unpredictable colours, overlapping exposures and crazy light leaks. To eBay!

Having convinced a friend who lived nearby to get a Lomo LC-A too, we would shoot rough and unplanned around London (lots of throw-away shots, often of things I would not usually take photos of) trying to find conditions and subjects that would encourage the most unpredictable results from the camera.

Taking things up a notch, we started shooting whole rolls, winding them back into the canister (leaving just the end protruding), and swapping with each other to create totally random sets of double exposures.

Jamie Winder - 35mmc

From London, the LC-A came with me on trips across Europe and Asia, til it was eventually dunked into the Gulf of Thailand and rusted solid. Luckily, I found a magician back home who was able to revive it. Having refused to just purchase a new one, my LC-A came back 100% functional but only around 20% the original parts.

Shortly after, I moved to sunny Asia and the Lomo went to a storage container in Stratford.

London to Singapore

Though I’d generally forgotten about the Lomo LC-A over time, it would seem something of the experience stuck with me. Alongside my collection of quality Nikon glass from the 70s and my modern Fujifilm lenses, I also have a stash of battered old Soviet things. From a pixel-peeping perspective their IQ may well be dubious, but I really get something out of using them for certain types of subject.

Anyway, now living in Singapore I recently re-discovered my LC-A as well as a hard drive containing a lot of old photos. I was surprised to find that I still kind of like some of those dodgy Lomo photos from 10 years back.

I decided to set myself a small project to re-create 5 favourite shots from London in my new home city. I would try to find a visual parallel in the images, but also capture some differences in environment and spirit between the cities.

So—cheating Hamish’s format a little—here are 5 frames from London paired with 5 counterpart frames from Singapore. I have no idea what film stock I used 10 years ago, but the recent photos were all taken on Fujifilm Industrial 400 (RIP).

 

Jamie Winder - 35mmc

Jamie Winder - 35mmc

Singapore is known as ‘Little Red Dot’ for how it is often depicted on maps, so this signage is a fairly direct counterpoint to the ‘London St’ road sign. The neon lighting is common here, and helped me mirror a light leak that would otherwise be hard to recreate.

 

Jamie Winder - 35mmc

Jamie Winder - 35mmc

The shot of Hackney Town Hall is one of my favourites taken back in London with my LC-A—I love how the building seems engulfed in light. Although I was unable to produce a similar effect, this photo of a conventional ‘HDB’ (basically a tall council estate) has some of the barren stillness of the original thanks to the expanse of the sky. Luckily, I ended up with light leak to the left, too.

Jamie Winder - 35mmc

Jamie Winder - 35mmc

We don’t really have proper ‘pubs’ here in Singapore, per se, but this is one of my favourite bars. Number 5 Emerald Hill is a bit of an institution and is set in a beautiful old Peranakan shophouse. Also, I now have a fiancée to drink with! I like the surprise teal-to-red gradient that happened with this shot.

Jamie Winder - 35mmc

Jamie Winder - 35mmc

When I think of being outdoors around London I see grey skies, so the psychedelic colours of this street with classic red buses were a novelty. Singapore, by contrast, is a naturally more colourful environment (perhaps unnaturally colourful in this instance).

Jamie Winder - 35mmc

Jamie Winder - 35mmc

More on-brand with the grey skies, I enjoyed the accidental composition caused by 2 frames overlapping from London, and the almost graphic bar running vertically down the image. I somehow managed to merge 3 frames here from Singapore, for a similar effect.

As you might have guessed, I’m still drawn to the unpredictability of the LC-A, though the lack of accurate focus means I probably won’t use it so often today (well, that and the fact the plastic part of the winding mechanism disintegrated when I wound this film back).

Thanks for reading.

Jamie
Instagram: @j_blinder

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    shazdirector
    June 30, 2020 at 10:15 am

    Lovely work Jamie! I did enjoy shooting in Singapore – you should come visit Jakarta – lots to shoot here :))

    • Reply
      Jamie Winder
      June 30, 2020 at 11:05 am

      SE Asia photowalk 2020. It’s on!

  • Reply
    Chris Pattison
    June 30, 2020 at 2:17 pm

    Super stuff Jamie! I do like it when photographers surrender some control to chance. You end up with interesting images.

    • Reply
      Jamie Winder
      June 30, 2020 at 4:39 pm

      Thanks Chris, I agree – it can sometimes feel refreshing to push the opposite way (eg. against a digital workflow) and leave yourself open to surprises good and bad

  • Reply
    Liza Mehlfeldt
    October 22, 2020 at 10:27 am

    The beauty of the Lomo LC-A! I love the colors in these pictures.

    • Reply
      Jamie Winder
      October 22, 2020 at 12:43 pm

      Thanks Liza – amazing timing with your comment, as I picked up LC-A from the repairs shop this very day!

      Winding mechanism has been sorted and I picked up a roll of Superia to run through it tomorrow 👌

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