National Children's Week - with Lomo
This is National Children's Week. And the theme is "children's right to play". While this may be bad news for those of us who own coal mines and spend most of our day whipping kiddies to force them underground, it can at least benefit the manufacturers of fun cameras.
Lomo are the people. Those fun-loving Russians. They have a range of plastic-bodied film cameras that bring some of the original feel back to photography.
These are basic bits. They focus, they have one or two shutter speeds, and one or two apertures. They take 120 film, and you can crank out either 12 or 16 exposures on a roll. They can fire electronic flash guns - indeed some kits have a flash included. They are brightly coloured and amusing.
Do they work? Does a Golf-class submarine work? Does a Ukrainian reactor work? Need you ask?
Okay, yes, they do work. You get the occasional funky little surprise...well, see the above sentence...but mostly you get a basic toy-camera image that can be surprisingly attractive. So much so that a number of major software programs contain controls designed to emulate these visual effects. It seems a little wacky to spend thousands on a DSLR and computer and software and carefully get the best exposure and then massage the files with a sledgehammer when you can do the thing fresh with the Lomo and a roll of film.
So what does this have to do with the children? Come in and buy the tots a Lomo camera and a handful of film. Show them what to do, and send them on their merry way. Pay for the prints - you may well be surprised at the creativity and vision of your offspring. They don't know as much as you and therefore have no idea that they can't do it...so many of them will go ahead and succeed. If nothing else they will be playing quietly.