Film photography has been dying. Or rather evolving. Kodak’s going/gone (Kodachrome definitely is). Fuji’s started pulling (certain sizes of) Velvia 50, but there’s one little hip company still pushing the film craze – Lomography. And today they hyped the launch of their new film—LomoChrome—they called it.
I found their little news pre-release a couple days back and got all excited:
Lomography’s mission is to keep film photorgaphy [sic] alive and kicking. To be able to do this, we’ve found an exciting new way to keep your film stocks full of amazing Lomography films. How, you ask? Well, we now have access to a new production facility to produce films at the best prices. Can’t believe what you’re reading? You won’t have to wait any longer because tomorrow we’ll introduce the first in a series of brand new Lomography-developed films! The clue is in this article’s title: LomoChrome.
Last year they managed to revitalise a truly dire yet compact film format—110—and I was surprised. Even in its relative heyday, 110 was always substandard to 35mm. The 13 x 17mm frame size of 110 compared to 24 x 36mm of 35mm. Couple this with the fact that a large majority of the 110 cameras were fairly poorly made and you have the potential for awful photography. However, I shall stay quiet and say no more. Lomo’s revival of the 110 format has been well implemented, and so far well received. First the Orca, then the Tiger, Lobster and even the Peacock. Delighting a whole new generation of film shooters with a reissue of these dinky little cartridges that they just missed by being born in the 90s.
So for Lomography’s next act, I expected something more. They (re-)popularised large format film with Dianas, Holgas and their own contraptions, miniaturised these very cameras to make 35mm counterparts, tried a TLR revolution with a remade Russian Lubitel and then went after 110. What would be next? Would they revive APS? Perhaps popularise photographic plates?
And then I found the above press release. It had the word chrome in it. That could only mean one thing. A Kodachrome revival! They would attempt to make and develop Kodachrome film once again, only 2 years and 1 month after the last roll had been processed. The world of film photographers would rejoice! The wonders of Kodachrome 64 and the mysterious K-14 development process would once again be available to all! Yes. Perfect timing for my finding of 8 rolls of un-exposed Kodachrome 64 and one of Kodachrome 25 in the house clearout.
So the 30th of January came and I checked Lomography to find that yes, LomoChrome had in fact been released. But not as I thought:
Ready for the latest Lomographic Film sensation? We have some fantastic news for you! We’re excited to introduce you to our latest emulsion – LomoChrome Purple. It’s an awesome color negative film which gives naturally infrared results! Limited stock is available for pre-order, in 35mm and 120 formats. Delivery is guaranteed in July 2013 for most countries.
NO. It’s not a Kodachrome revival. It’s not even a slide/transparency film. It’s a faux IR film, based on Kodak’s Aerochrome, called LomoChrome Purple. Way to ruin to my day. And it’s not even available now, you have to pay now to finance the production of the stuff. I guess the last Lomography Kickstarter campaign didn’t totally float their boat, despite it getting totally over-funded. However, this begs the question. “Has any actually been pre-produced?” Are the photos you see on the Lomography site just Photoshop mockups of what happens to a photo if you change the curves radically? This can’t be legit IR film.
I imagine the samples are the real deal, and that the film will be interesting to shoot, develop and admire, but all the while I can’t help feeling cheated. I wanted Kodachrome back. I guess I just have to wait a few more years until Kodachrome becomes trendy again.