In The Spotlight – Lomography Embassy Store (Johannesburg)

You can lose your head to madness and all sorts of extreme emotions. Happiness is included in the range of emotions and this feeling overwhelms you when you step into the Lomography Embassy Store. The amplitude of emotion might not strike everyone with the same intensity but all will have an appreciation for art within the Lomography Embassy Store. This store located at 70 Juta Street in Braamfontein, Johannesburg and is one of two lomography stores in South Africa. The other is called the Exposure Gallery and is found in Cape Town. I met up with Lemo, from the Lomography Embassy Store to get some background on what they do and why they’re so awesome.

I shall try give you a brief explanation of lomography so you can understand what products the Lomography Embassy Store offers. Lomography is a type of unorthodox photography. It is based around the emphases of colour and light. The whole point is to create unusual photographs using different effects like:
– Vignettes (blurry faded edges)
– Light leaks
– Soft focus
– Fish-eye effects

Lemo, from the Lomography Embassy Store in Johannesburg describes lomography as being “happy mistakes”. I believe that’s an apt description. Watch the video below to see examples of the effects I mentioned. The video was shot on a Lomokino which is effectively a 35mm film lomography video camera.

You’ve seen these photos in hipsters’ profile pictures, edited photos from parties and Instagram pictures. You might wonder what’s the point of having a store that sells film and cameras that are capable of producing similar effects when you can do that on your computer. If you wonder that then you’re missing the point of being a photographer and in the end a lomographer.

In general, photography is about instant gratification. There is nothing better than looking photos and knowing you have just captured the perfect image with the effects that you want. If you capture images to edit then you miss the beauty of that. The mystery of lomography cameras is the use of film. You never know what you might get when you develop the photos, there is no instant “see it on the display” photography here.

The history of the Lomography Embassy Store begins in the 60s when lomographer cameras gained popularity. Craig and Anthony brought the products into South Africa in the 90s after discovering them while they were travelling. They didn’t think they would have much of a market for the cameras but owning two stores, an Exposure Gallery and an online store are testament to success.
The Lomography Embassy Store houses many different kinds of cameras. The range of cameras includes Diana F+, Diana Mini, La Sardina, Fisheye and Holga. Those cameras are the among the godfathers of lomography cameras.

If you want to get into lomography then the Lomography Embassy Store can help you do that. The awesome thing about the store is that they dig beginners. Lemo’s advice for beginners is: “Don’t think, just shoot.” The Lomography Embassy Store has lomography walks throughout the Braamfontein region and that allows you to practice on a lomography cameras, get practical user help and get to know how beautiful Johannesburg CBD can be. Prices for the walks last year were R180 without a lomography camera and R150 with one. The price included film that you’d use on the walk. To get the updated prices and the dates for the walks then you need to check out the Lomography Embassy Facebook Page.

I might have convinced you to pick up lomography but if not there is always the range of new-age instant photography cameras to keep you fascinated. The Fujifilm range is also available at the store.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This has been lomography in a nutshell and a quick view into Johannesburg’s only lomography store. Go visit them and say hello, even if you don’t purchase cameras or film from them you can always marvel at the happy mistakes and learn a few things about different forms of art.

Where can you find them
– Shop 7, 70 Juta Street, Braamfontein, Johannesburg
– The Lomography Embassy Store Facebook Page

Open times
– Monday – Friday: 09h00 – 16h00
– Saturday: 09h00 – 15h00