Interview with a local Lomography expert written for Viva Brighton magazine:
"We opened ten years ago, around the time that Lomography started to become popular. Lomography is a very basic form of photography which produces photos that are really not perfect at all – you get light leaks – and there are lots of different types of film you can use that give lots of different effects. This was also iPhone 3/iPhone 4 era, so there weren’t so many apps that gave you filters and that kind of thing – the only way to achieve those effects at the time was with film. It was really fashionable, but like everything it kind of faded away – yet film photography has remained very popular.
"Film photography has always been a passion of mine. In the last few years it’s had a real resurgence; every day we get people coming in who want to have a go, young people especially. I think it’s a bit like vinyl: people recognise that there’s something quite unique and special about film. A photograph taken with a film camera is not the same as one taken with a digital camera. First of all, you’re not going to take thirty of the same picture! You’re going to be more selective. Then there’s the thing of having to wait for the image. And the photograph itself – the grain, the quality – is not at all like a digital image. At least I hope that’s why it’s popular – I suspect a lot of people like it because film cameras look cool…"
"All the photos in the shop are taken by me. I still shoot mostly on film, especially for my own personal use. If there’s an event on in Brighton and I want a quick image so that I can produce it on a print for the weekend, I’ll take it on my digital camera – within two days I can have a product ready. But if I go on holiday with the family, or when I’m walking around town, I use film. I don’t think one medium is better than the other; they each have their own uses.
"I would say the main things we sell are the pictures of Brighton and the souvenirs – the postcards and canvases and fridge magnets – all of which we make here in the shop. We do digital printing, inkjet printing and large-format printing, so for all the products that we sell, we offer a service where you can have your own photo put onto them. We don’t process film on-site, but we work with a local lab called Colourstream so we can offer this service. We sell second-hand film cameras – anything from £20 point-and-shoot cameras to an SLR, if you want to take it a bit more seriously – and we sell lots of film, especially small-batch film.
"Sometimes I wonder what the next trend in photography will be. Surely for film to have come back into fashion, we must have gone full circle. But I guess the progression of film is about the sharing aspect of it; now, when people shoot on film, they have the ability to get the images in a digital format, not just in print. So I guess we’ll see…"
1 Sydney Street, Brighton. zoingimage.com