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Galleries

Lomography Gallery Store

Posted by Staff / Posted on November 10, 2010

Lomography Gallery Store TorontoThe Lomography Gallery Store is an interesting proposition - a real world venue for a community of photographers who've shared, shopped and communicated with each other online. As the name suggests, the new addition to Queen West is both a shop and a gallery, but the people behind it hope that it'll also become a clubhouse for fans of the distinctly low-tech and proudly analogue cameras it celebrates.

The Lomography story begins in Russia, where central economic planning led to the manufacture of a range of wonky cameras like the Lomo LC-A, whose primitive mechanisms and often plastic lenses were never going to give Nikon a run for their money. The story then moves to Vienna, where fans of the original Lomo camera made a deal with the Russian manufacturers to sell the camera to a growing cult of lo-fi shutterbugs.

Lomography Gallery Store TorontoLomography's Austrian HQ decided last year that there was enough of a community of Lomographers in Toronto to merit a storefront presence for the company, which led to a fall opening in what was once the Red Indian Art Deco antique shop. Local Lomo enthusiast James Greenspan got the gig as store manager, and sums up his mission simply: "We're a community, and this is a place for the community to meet."

Lomography gallery wallThe gallery aspect is manifest in a river of Lomo snaps, knitted together in a mosaic that flows from wall to ceiling to wall across the front of the space. Greenspan says that new exhibitions will be composed of the results of Lomography "rumbles," where a theme is announced to the community, and the results are collected online and printed out for display, a process integral to Lomography's online backbone. "Lomography was actually a social network before Friendster," Greenspan points out.

Lomography cameras and accessoriesThe store sells everything from the LC-A+, the update of the classic Lomo, to plastic-lens cameras like the Holga and Diana, to panoramic specialty items like the Sprocket Rocket, the Spinner 360 and the Horizon, to offbeat fun cameras like the Supersampler, the Actionsampler, the Fisheye and the Colorsplash. There are refurbished Russian cameras, as well as accessories, books, bags and t-shirts. Prices range from $30 for a pinhole camera kit to around $500 for a Russian-made Horizon Perfekt. Film can be bought, and Greenspan says that they plan to offer developing in the future.

refurbished Russian cameras for saleWhile you can get cellphone apps that try to ape the look of a Lomo, Diana or pinhole camera, Lomo fans insist that the film patina can't be digitally duplicated, and that no digital camera can match the one-shot, shoot-from-the-hip, accidents-are-everything aesthetic that Lomography encourages. With the arrival of the Toronto Lomography store, this community can finally meet in the flesh and shop in person.

Writing and photos by Rick McGinnis.

Discussion

33 Comments

Jin / November 10, 2010 at 01:42 pm
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anyone know the store hours and/or contact phone number?
becky / November 10, 2010 at 03:26 pm
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yes! yes! yes!

*die and gone to heaven*

no more ordering online! woot!
belvedere / November 10, 2010 at 05:17 pm
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why would anybody bother with inferior tech? what am i missing?
Kyle / November 10, 2010 at 05:59 pm
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Film isn't inferior tech, it is a less-convenient tech.
Unless you are dropping $7k on a state of the art DSLR, good quality 35mm film will give better results than digital.
And digital can't even come close to matching the detail in medium format film.
Steve Keys replying to a comment from becky / November 10, 2010 at 06:08 pm
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Took the words right out of my mouth, Becky. This is awesome news.
belvedere replying to a comment from Kyle / November 10, 2010 at 06:12 pm
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so cheap russian cameras r worth it? i don't get it, unless it's something weird like amc gremlin owner nerdfests.i don't c how a store selling cheap eastern bloc film cameras is gonna make a go of it. leica and hasselblad i can understand.
bob / November 10, 2010 at 06:24 pm
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There store is really pretty, I wish the floors would follow suit...
bob / November 10, 2010 at 06:25 pm
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ps. they plan to open a lab sometime next year
MelS replying to a comment from Kyle / November 10, 2010 at 07:30 pm
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@kyle I think you might have misunderstood belvedere's point, it has nothing to do with the pro's and con's of film vs. digital but of the quality of film cameras out there.Sure I personally find Lomos fun, but they really are overpriced plastic toy cameras. Go to value village, check out craigslist. For the same price of a Lomo you can get a way better film camera vintage SLR even.. (cool right, if you're into that sort of thing)
On a side-note, they couldn't have chosen for the store a better location... Queen W. close to Bellwoods.. How hip of them.
Matt replying to a comment from bob / November 10, 2010 at 08:52 pm
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Really? For processing like 220 (etc) film?
that would be awesome
Bobby replying to a comment from belvedere / November 10, 2010 at 09:09 pm
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I don't drink martinis, but you won't see me complain when another high brow bar opens.

Lomography is just what this strip of Queen street needs since everything else in the area purveys either boots or booze. Stop being a philistine.
bob replying to a comment from Matt / November 10, 2010 at 09:53 pm
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Maybe. All I heard was that they would 'hopefully' open one sometime next year.
rick mcginnis / November 10, 2010 at 10:29 pm
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belvedere & MelS - I think you're missing the point. The whole joy of the cheap toy cameras and lomography's "no overthinking" ethos is to roll with the serendipitous accidents, like the weird colour saturation, the lens and light flares, the selective focus, sprocket holes, etc. "Good" cameras like Hasselblads, etc. give you complete control (if you know what you're doing); "bad" cameras like the Holga or Diana or Lomo encourage you to relinquish control. It's an aesthetic that a lot of pros are happy to embrace, even, as a little refuge from stressing over the fine details.
C T / November 10, 2010 at 11:23 pm
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I think it's a great new addition to Queen West and look forward to checking it out!
The Liquor / November 11, 2010 at 12:22 am
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near Bellwoods? If the map is correct its east of Bathurst.

closer to Spadina than Bellwoods.
stro1 / November 11, 2010 at 12:48 am
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yaaay ! looking fwd to checking it out and showing off my dope Holga shots.
Andy replying to a comment from Kyle / November 11, 2010 at 06:42 am
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That was true maybe ten years ago. Today your average $800.00 camera will give you a technically superior image, especially in low light situations, with a resolution that 35mm film cannot even get close to.

Lomos are fun cameras and have spawned an aesthetic all of their own, but they aren't designed to compete with DSLR or SLR cameras.
Stra / November 11, 2010 at 08:37 am
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developing would be nice - anyone know if they sell medium format film?

As for the argument regarding digital resolution vs. film, it's old and done. Who cares about how many megapixels you can cram onto a sensor, film's look can't be replicated. Nor can the process of shooting with film.
Michael / November 11, 2010 at 09:21 am
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Would love to get the Sprocket Rocket. Cool little camera.
Andy replying to a comment from Stra / November 11, 2010 at 10:12 am
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Not trying to start an argument but replicating an utterly convincing film look is as easy as installing a Photoshop plugin - there are now several makes ont the market, all able to not just replicate a generic film look, but specific looks by make, by year of manufacture and by development process.

I can't see the point myself, if you want to shoot digita shoot digital already, but the argument that the look and feel of film can't be replicated is simply not true. Of course, Photoshop is fairly high end for the average user, and I totally agree that your average iPhone app doesn't cut the mustard.

Personally I've moved on from film. I used to be a member, fairly active too, when the Lomo movement first started in Europe, but that was at a time when I had a job where I had access to both free film and free processing.
Jake / November 11, 2010 at 12:49 pm
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Where is the best place one can one get 120 film developed in the city? (new to the film bit)

Thanks
Steve Keys replying to a comment from Jin / November 11, 2010 at 01:13 pm
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Opening hours are Monday - Saturday 11am - 9pm / Sunday 11am - 6pm
Tel: (647) 352-6700
Soren / November 11, 2010 at 02:21 pm
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Low-fi funky. Doubleplusgood.
Richard J / November 11, 2010 at 04:40 pm
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I had a Zenit-E as a teenager, one of my first cameras.

I also have a Demekin fisheye camera that takes 110 film.

@Jake - try Silvano's on Weston Road for developing film.
Stra replying to a comment from Andy / November 11, 2010 at 06:00 pm
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actually it can't no matter how hard you try. It's a photo-chemical process silly whereas digital ain't.
bob replying to a comment from Stra / November 11, 2010 at 09:59 pm
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They do sell it, and they have a really good selection (including expired film). Also, they're at pretty good prices - even Fuji instax film is a lot less than other retailers.

I would've loved to see Agfa, though.
bob replying to a comment from Jake / November 11, 2010 at 10:01 pm
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Pretty any much independent camera store that offers processing will.

West Camera, 5 second east of Lomography, will do it (although I've never tried it, so I can't comment on quality of prints).
paddyjoe / November 21, 2010 at 12:06 pm
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just another great reason to visit Toronto!
Jessiem / May 24, 2011 at 10:51 am
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Great little store! They do processing as well now!
Fantomex replying to a comment from bob / August 19, 2011 at 09:30 pm
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Agfa is out of the film business, and is into digital, leaving the field to Kodak, Fuji, Lomo, and Ilford
anon / February 16, 2012 at 01:25 pm
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This store is a scam.
they sell cameras that dont work, i went through 3 la sardinas, until finally giving up
Also on my last few visits to the store i overheard staff discussing how they dont get breaks, and were treated unjustly.
Their film is stored on the wall next to heaters, as well as in boxes and they sell these at a higher rate claiming they are 'expired'
They charge more based on design, not function.
They charge expensive rates for processing and send it out,and you have a much longer wait (min. 1 week) to receive your film back from lomography in comparison to the one day developing west camera offers.
their fuji instax film costs 15 for one pack, in comparison to other retailers who price theirs at 15 for two packs. Their fuji camera as well is an unreasonable price, 20-40 dollars more in comparison to other retailers.

I requested to speak to a manager upon my last visit due to my la sardina camera, and they sent out some 20 something kid who was supposed to help me, unfortunately he claimed he had not known about the issue, but upon further research i've found this is a world wide problem amongst this camera.

Needless to say, I will never enter their store again.
rachel / August 2, 2012 at 01:27 pm
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lomography is a joke. they sell toy cameras for triple the price they're worth. don't buy anything that is completely plastic, because obviously it will crack. cameras are not supposed to be made of those kinds of materials... if i wanted a toy i would go to a kids shop. either lower your prices or sell REAL cameras.
Taylah / August 21, 2014 at 11:28 pm
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This photograph has a orange hue, you can see the orange benefit there
is far less as opposed to reddish and inexperienced values.

Wedding images can be a delicate and emotional problem instead of a few images.

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