Bad Quality = Art? Lomo Photography

My first ever camera, given to me as a present due to persistent nagging by myself in the late 1970’s was simply horrendous. Even as a spotty early teenage herbert, I knew it was rubbish. Whereas I’d been entranced by cool skinny guys with Hassleblads and Leica’s etc, what I actually got was one of those Eastern European, plastic camera’s that took 110 cartridge film. It leaked light like sieve, had all manner of strange colour variations in the weird film I bought and it was like trying to take a photograph with a large bar of nougat. In a word dreadful. These days, it’s probably incredibly cool – partly as it harks back to a more innocent era and partly as a kickback against the pristine glossiness of your average 21mp digital file. Hence the rise of Lomography, plastic camera’s and in my case, a great iPhone app called ‘Hisptamatic’.

A couple of examples are shown above. I kind of like them to be honest. But my question is does bad quality = Art, does bad quality made an otherwise mundane shot worth looking at? I don’t really know. Does it really matter in the end? If the viewer or the taker likes the look of something does it matter how it originated? The fact that a cheap poster of a Warhol was run off on an industrial CMYK four colour printer as opposed to being silk-screened by hand in The Factory doesn’t diminish it’s artistic worth, even though intrinsically it’s worth nothing? Or does it?


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