“Bad Photos”: A Political Theorisation of Lomography




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Peer reviewed


In recent years vernacular photographic practices have become integral participants in the formation of narratives within the media, the art sphere, as well as academic discourses on global and local political phenomena. What seems to have begun as a practice offering counter-narratives to those disseminated by authoritative sources has gradually been adopted by the latter as a means used to enhance their own credibility. This neutralization of alternative photographic forms of political narration has effectively deprived mainstream unprofessional photographic practices of their political diversity.

In this paper I focused on the photographic practice of Lomography as an exploratory technology capable of reengaging viewers with the most fundamental complexities of the relationship between photography, the political and the politics of vision. Established in Vienna in 1992, the Lomographic Society International (LSI) has encouraged its members to use the former Soviet Union LOMO LC-A camera and its newly designed successors as an alternative, unpredicted and unstable image-making technology. Prompting Lomographers to obey no representational rules while also organising exhibitions to display their work on the democratic LomoWall, the LSI has effectively fostered a community of photographic image-makers preoccupied with the transformation of mundane realities into representational alter-realities that do not often conform to established and institutionalised visual regimes. Lomography, I argued, foregrounds an alternative vernacular visual politics which allows for the negation of the normative Kodak ideology, opening up the question of the relationship between photographic representation and politics anew.


Paper delivered at the International Communication Association Annual Conference 2013, London


Vernacular photographic practices, Lomography, Amature photography, Visual politics, Politics of vision, Lomographic Society International, LOMO LC-A, alter-reality, LomoWall


Pasternak, G. (2013) “Bad Photos”: A Political Theorisation of Lomography.


Research Institute

Media Discourse Centre (MDC)
Institute of Art and Design