“Lomography, an Analog Company Surviving in a Digital World” is a blog article by Jenna Wortham in the April 26 New York Times in the Technology section. I was struck by the title of a subject area I live in – Analog people coping and growing the Digital World, but I was totally unfamiliar with Lomography. As a consultant, I work with organizations to help integrate their people “Analogs” with their new digital surroundings and processes. I also work on guiding companies to bridge to our old Analog world and their adoption of digital strategies. Sometimes I feel like a luddite, but then I’m really a geeky nerd of the lower-high level order. I like digital things, but I like people more. Making them play well in both worlds is how I earn my living as a consultant now.
I am a child of two worlds, both the analog, now code for human side of things, and the digital, which is where the world is rapidly moving. Often the two worlds don’t mix well together, especially for boomers like many of my friends and associates. Having purchased one of the first iPhones (day 2) I am a card carrying geek, and that is how many of my friends, and family saw me. The gadget king is at it again. Now everyone in the family has iPhones, iPads and we Skype on the weekends with our family in Texas. We’re bought in!
Though I have all the digital tools I earn my living by helping others integrate them into their lives, their businesses, and help them survive a dark side of digital implementation…distraction, and a sense of loss of real human interaction. The question of personal productivity and multi-tasking is also now open for discussion. Not every gadget or digital process really makes us more productive research is recently finding.
That is why I loved this article by Jenna Wortham. It captures the true sense of ‘surviving in a digital world by humans/analogs. In 2008 my 20 year consulting practice branched in this arena and I became the Analog Sherpa. My tagline was, and still is…”An Analog Sherpa for a Digital World.” Now you can see why this article impacted me so much.
With the bankruptcy of Kodak recently the challenge of surviving a digital onslaught is high, just ask daily newspapers – or the USPS whose volumes are about to send them down, at least for a re-tooling.
Where did Lomography come from? Lomography started 20 years ago in Austria, by a group of photographers and artists who stumbled across a cheap Russian camera called the Lomo that used 35-millimeter film. The Lomo camera produced unique and charming photographs that often contained artsy blurry streaks and were oversaturated with color due to the camera’s body design and construction.
Matthias Fiegl, one of the artists who went on to found the company started smuggling Lomo cameras back from Russia to Western Europe in the early 1990s and sell them among his friends and then host exhibitions to celebrate the art photographs.
In the age of skype, cheap digital video cameras Mr. Fiegl found something different – sharing actual prints with all of their unique flaws from the film and cheap cameras. Retro was back, and suddenly it was different and cool. People got hooked. Now a large Facebook community is organizing Lomographer meet-ups around the world. Instant is out, and unusal is in. Waiting is a part of the attraction for the Lomographers.
They still use digital cameras and the iPhone – instant is not verboten, but the fun of seeing something later, and not perfect is even more cool. The digital world and the analog world can co-exist side by side…and be cool at the same time. There is hope for the Analog Sherpa in this digital world…and I’m still cool to boot. Cool!