A little over two months ago, we invited you all to submit your questions to Lomography for the first in a new series of community interviews here on #EMULSIVE. The premise is simple, we collect question from you, the film photography community, then package them up and work with the interview subject to get them answered.

It’s been a rather frantic time since we first sent out our request for submissions  but we’re finally able to share the results with you all.

Thanks to everyone who got involved, especially our interview panel members; Kim, Diz and Jennifer Henriksen. Your patience and sage input have been invaluable in getting this off the ground. A big thanks also to everyone at Lomography NYC for their stellar work, not just in agreeing to be first blood but also during the rebuild of the NYC Lomography premises following a flood in recent months.

The interview comprises of a total of 16 questions sent to Katherine Phipps at Lomography NYC – 11 from your submissions, three from the panel and two from yours truly.

Here’s Katherine to tell us a bit about herself:

I’m the USA Online Marketing Manager here at Lomography. I’ve been working in the NYC office since October of 2015 and started as a customer service rep/logistics assistant. I moved over to my current position in February 2016. I work on a wide range of projects from coordinating and creating content for our online magazine, to communicating with brands for collaborations and reaching out speak with press. As an artist, most of my work is photography shot on film.

Now that you know who’s answering your questions, let’s jump in.

You’ll find each of the questions we submitted to Katherine below, as well as accompanying commentary from the panel and Katherine’s response.

You can find the original submissions in our call-to-arms article.

Let’s get stuck in.



Question 01: Shawn Mozmode – @sdMozmode

You clearly have been innovative with your camera products and services offered by your development lab. Can you tell me more about your company’s philosophy and processes relative to providing an equally impressive customer experience when a person decides to make a purchase in your Gallery or Embassy store, sends film to your lab or buys a camera from your online store? Specifically how do you address examples of not so stellar customer service?

Panel commentary:
The panel felt that the customer service angle needed to be addressed and asked for an answer that clearly outlined how to report dissatisfaction through proper channels.

Frank, Devin, Juan, Katherine, Christian @ Lomo'Instant Launch Party
Frank, Devin, Juan, Katherine, Christian @ Lomo’Instant Launch Party

Lomography – Katherine Phipps:
This is an intense question to start with! People care very much about their photography, analogue in particular. This I will say very passionately: the online team and store staff, at least in New York, are very committed to providing exceptional customer experience.

We work really hard to treat our customer’s negatives as our own, to make sure everyone’s order is delivered in a timely manner, and to make sure everyone’s camera is working and if not we’ll replace or repair it.

I can’t really address what happened before I came to Lomo, but odds are if you (or your aunt) placed an order for Christmas 2015 – our busiest time by tenfold – I did my damnedest to make sure that everything went smoothly with that order and it arrived in time to go under the tree.

You may be surprised to know that we work in very small teams. Lomography USA is comprised of basically 5 people working very hard all day every day, so if you have any type of issue, the best thing to do is write an email to help@lomography.com and let us do our very best to address it.

We are people, and mistakes happen sometimes (and again, I speak to my team of coworkers right now) but when this is the case, we will be humble and work to make it right in the best way we can.

Everyone here is a photographer, except Danny who does customer service now, but we’re converting him 😉



Question 02: David Toman – @EtudeImaging

How much of your mission going forward is about film photography, and how much simply about offering fun, creative photographic experiences?

Panel commentary:
We edited this submission down into two questions for clarity. The second question appears further down this article.

Miria M with Colorspash by Frank
Miria M with Colorspash by Frank

Lomography – Katherine Phipps:
I feel like the author of this question needs to come to NYC and have a beer with Devin (store manager), Christian (USA GM, all the way from Vienna), Frank (Key account manager) and I and realize that we are people who love photography and want the same thing as all of you- for these creative materials to be around forever.

Lomography already has a great lineup of plastic cameras, and they are still around. They are fun, easy, and offer access to film photography to all which as you acknowledge is a very niche thing at this point in time. I would be lying if I said I hadn’t slowly fallen in love with this company in the last 8 months since I started working here.

Photography changed my life when I was 16 – I wanted nothing more than to be in the darkroom and not have anyone bother me. I shot my whole senior portfolio with a Holga. It was so uninhibiting. Now I look back and laugh because my teacher offered me a “Real Medium Format Camera” and I turned her down because shooting with a plastic camera made me feel so free.

Then I decided I wanted to be a photography professional and I was introduced to all kinds of other equipment. Analog, digital, large and medium format have been my main shooting practice for a while but now I’m returning to the joys of shooting 35mm and thinking about how Lomography’s 10 golden rules would change my art practice.

So, what I have to say about this film photography vs “fun creative experiences” business is what is the difference? Film photography needs users. Everyone should shoot film. It’s magic. My vision is that Lomography should be a household thing, and that people should stop shooting so much with their phones.



Question 03: Dev Samaddar – @dsamaddar

Lomography, some of your film is not mainstream and I am apprehensive to buy without knowing more about it. Can you create a section describing each film, how it looks/behaves when shot at different speeds with examples?

For example Lomo 800, brief description, strengths, weaknesses, ideal shooting situation/light, how it behaves at 200, 400, 800, 1600. Similarly for all other stock. It would greatly encourage me (and perhaps others) to try your films.

Panel commentary:
Complete agreement from the panel that this one should stay in as-is.

Danny, customer service manager
Danny, customer service manager

Lomography – Katherine Phipps:
There are plans to publish a series of tests in collaboration with EMULSIVE to give people exactly this information. Also, the Lomography microsites are a great resource for all of Lomography’s product families: http://microsites.lomography.com/film/

However, Lomography’s branded films are just as ‘mainstream’ as any other branded film. What I’m sure most people don’t know about this is that there are a very limited number of facilities that can produce film at all: 6 originally, but now only 5, as the Polaroid factory has shut down.

This means that all branded films that are not branded by one of those companies that owns the factory (Ilford and Fuji are examples), are rebranded from one of these existing companies. Lomography films are a film stock like any other.

I’ve heard mixed reviews about the black and white, but I shoot the color 35mm 800 and 400 regularly and have absolutely no qualms. Granted, I would rather shoot a roll of Portra or Provia all day, but hey it’s 100% fresh film, and pretty reasonably priced. I recommend that you give it a shot, but if you already don’t like it, you also probably don’t like the film stock it’s rebranded from either.

I don’t think it’s trying hard to be anything other than what it is, either. The Lomochromes are really fun to play with, and our 110 production is now evolving to a 16mm format so we’re also in addition to selling these basic films at a good price and cutting formats that aren’t readily available anymore.



Question 04: Shawn Mozmode – @sdMozmode

Hi Lomography! Thanks for all you do to promote the art of film photography. Can you tell me more about your company’s decision to have brick and mortar Gallery and Embassy stores? How are they able to compete with your own online store as well as 3rd party retailers of your products like B&H Photo?

Cub and Co Worshop
Cub and Co Worshop

Panel commentary:
Whilst potentially limiting in relevance to readers who don’t live in Gallery/Embassy Store locations, we decided to keep this question in to try and get some insight from Lomography on their business strategy.

Lomography – Katherine Phipps:
Since the beginning, Lomography has always been very interested in the community that has surrounded it. The founders wanted to have an actual place where Lomographers could hang out. In the early days, everyone who had and was shooting with a Lomography camera was a part of the Lomographic Society and were then ambassadors for said Society. The stores provided a clubhouse of sorts.

Now, in New York, the Lomography Gallery Store is not so different- it is our hub. Our office is upstairs, and our lab was in the basement, The store and gallery are on the main floor. It’s amazing how many people in the Village wander in and have no idea about Lomography, but are attracted to the space and then get to learn about something they oftentimes didn’t realize still existed – film photography.

We also operate the lab here (currently being renovated), which is a good percentage of the traffic on a daily basis, people picking up and dropping off film. But it also gives us a great space to host workshops, openings, parties, etc. It’s a fun space for creative people of all types. I have meetings with our LomoAmigos and love that I get to show them all of the cameras at once, which tends to get people really excited. Also we have an amazing LomoWall, which is a work of art in itself. It’s a great place to be. Come visit us! 41 W 8th St, NY NY 10011 USA.

Regarding the pricing structures, as far as I know the pricing is the same in the store and online. Generally, our products sold by third parties are around the same price as well.



Question 05: Jonas Lundström – @jonasx70

Checking out what’s new in your online shop, I noticed both the DIY pinhole camera Videre and 16mm film stock. Exciting to see you expand, picking up small projects and supplying formats you don’t cater cameras for yourself. Are these branches something you see LSI keeping on letting to grow further?

Do you think you’ve settled what you want to do with the Instax film in ways of cameras or do you have more plans in the pipeline?

I think you’ve done good in adding many features to the pure Instax cameras that have pleased people outside your ordinary customer base.

Geoff (lab tech) shooting LomoChrome 16mm on Film Photography Day 2016
Geoff (lab tech) shooting LomoChrome 16mm on Film Photography Day 2016

Panel commentary:
Many questions in one but this one was a keeper.

Lomography – Katherine Phipps:
We are definitely expanding the third party items we distribute! Tell your friends actually, we have a lot of cool stuff that we don’t sell nearly enough of!  And yes, we have lots of cool plans for lenses, cameras, film, etc., who knows, stay tuned.



Question 06: David Toman – @EtudeImaging

What can you say about your pricing and place in the market, and how would you respond to those who say LSI is only truly committed to profit?

Why everything is so overpriced? I mean, film prices. You want €9 for a roll of Portra 400, when it cost €7 at my local dealer. Agfa Vista – €4, and €3 at my local dealer. Ilford HP5 – €6, and €4,5 locally. Instant Wide, double pack – €23,90. €16 locally. Cameras. I understand you sell them new, but honestly, €299 for a Lubitel? I’ve been buying them for €20 in perfect working condition. Lomo LC-A+ for €250? I can pick up a used original LC-A, in working condition and with batteries, for €30.
Standard development – negatives + scanning €11. My lab will do that for €6. And I don’t have to pay shipping.

Panel commentary:
We felt that the original submission (in grey text) didn’t really encourage debate, and stood out more as a complaint than a question. We also felt that adding part of David’s original question here, better frames the original submission. We asked Katherine to consider both when providing her response.

A Lomo'Museum of special edition cameras
A Lomo’Museum of special edition cameras

Lomography – Katherine Phipps:
We are a third party distributor of some of the things you mentioned. As I’ve mentioned, we are a business as much as we are an idea, a community, and a movement. Perhaps we should try to separate that a bit.

You can get a Lubitel from the thrift shop, but who knows what happened to it before you had it and what will you do when it stops working? Ours is newly manufactured and is fully supported by warranty.

Also it was produced in our factory, transported at our expense, etc. Logistics I would say, account for the mark-ups you describe. But again, when you’re supporting Lomography, you’re also supporting the community, development, and continuation of the ideas around the brand.

You might be interested in...



Question 07: Karim D. Ghantous – @kdghantous

Nobody makes a good film scanner: one that is quick, high quality and reasonably priced. Every film scanner I’ve seen, save for the Flextight X5, exaggerates graininess. 2K scans of Super 16mm look cleaner than some scans of 35mm film on photo scanners. Is this a problem you would like to address?

Panel commentary:
There was a little debate about keeping this question but democracy – and not the heavy hand of EMULSIVE – rules all.

Ciara (our lab tech) Lab Teching
Ciara (our lab tech) Lab Teching

Lomography – Katherine Phipps:
We do have a film scanner of our own that was crowdfunded a few years ago, but it doesn’t necessarily provide the quality that you’re searching for I don’t think.

We don’t currently have plans to produce another one, but we are highly receptive to feedback from users as to what they’d like to see in terms of product development. In the meantime, you may be interested to know that we use an Epson flatbed in our office, and there are many different brands of scanners and scanning softwares alike.

The other thing this question makes me think of is that maybe what we’re saying is that there’s not a scanner that can make a photo as well as one can print the negative in the darkroom…it makes me miss printing a lot.



Question 08: Really Very Rachel – @ReallyVeryRach

Hi Lomography! I’ve been a huge fan of your 35mm toy creations for a long time – I love how they take their inspiration from older, iconic cameras with a personal favourite being the Diana Mini.

My question is, do you have any plans for bringing out a new toy camera any time soon?

Paolo as Super Diana Man on 8th St, NYC
Paolo as Super Diana Man on 8th St, NYC

Panel commentary:
A resounds “keep” on this one in. We all want to see more toy cameras, please.

Lomography – Katherine Phipps:
Let me know what kind of toy camera you are inspired by and I will happily pass it along! I think that the family of cameras that we have is so great, and the Lomo’Instant mini definitely has the same vibe, but as of now our latest projects have been lenses.

But, stay tuned, because Lomography always has something in the pipeline.



Question 09: Erik Gould – @ClickErik

Some time ago there was an announcement of a marketing partnership being developed between Kodak Alaris and Lomo. Could you elaborate on the topic?

Has that partnership born any fruit as yet? I’m wondering if for instance the new Kodak Super 8 camera came about as a result of Lomo’s input.

Crisneo, logistic manager. The one who is actually keeping Lomography alive.
Crisneo, logistic manager. The one who is actually keeping Lomography alive.

Panel commentary:
There was a bit of a split to keep this one in but enough interest by the majority for it to remain.

Lomography – Katherine Phipps:
In terms of a marketing partnership, I am not sure about that, but I can say that on a sales and distribution level we are certainly working with Kodak Alaris.



Question 10: Sandeep Sumal – @Givemeabiscuit

Are there any film stocks that either you believe, or customers are demanding, that are missing from the line-up of Lomography films and if so do you have a roadmap of planned film stock releases coming up? For example an ISO400 colour slide film like the old Fuji Provia 400x would be great…

Panel commentary:
We felt there was a little overlap with a previously posted question but this was specific enough to keep in.

Christian, Devin, Frank celebrate Film Photography Day 2016
Christian, Devin, Frank celebrate Film Photography Day 2016

Lomography – Katherine Phipps:
We do have films among our upcoming releases, but as I described in question 3, film production and branding is complicated. We’ve released a 16mm film in the very recent past, and have other film format releases to be announced in the near future.

I’m definitely getting a sense that people would be really interested to know what’s happening with these kinds of things and will definitely talk to my team in Vienna about getting more information.

Slide film fans : Afgaphoto CT Precisa is rebranded Provia 100F 🙂 Also if you haven’t tried Cinestill 800T you’re missing out!



Question 11: Craig Pindell – @cpindell1

Your selection of products is amazing, and shows great business sense, at least from this film photographer’s point of view.

Considering the current customer feedback, your company’s remarkable insight, and your company’s instincts, what do you see as the future of film photography in the next year, 3 years, and 5 years? And what will Lomography be adding or changing products to meet those predictions?

Panel commentary:
Nothing but agreement to keep this one in.

Katherine in the office
Katherine in the office

Lomography – Katherine Phipps:
In one, three, and five years, increasingly, we’re hoping that people continue the trend we’ve noticed across many different aspects of modern life: people will continue to be more and more interested in being unplugged and analog.

I expect that we will continue to use our resources to convince more and more people that they should be shooting film, and supporting those who always have in their creative endeavours. I would expect to see a continuation of the the expansion of the kinds of products that we carry. I expect to see the instant category grow, as that’s something that people really are enchanted by.

There’s been a lot of focus at Lomography towards optics, with the release of 5 art lenses to date and the 6th on Kickstarter. I think says something about Lomography’s desire to cater to all kinds of photographers who want to be creative.

The lenses, more and more, are homages to vintage optics, at this crossroads of old and new but accessible to all. And they’re super fun to shoot with and look great. And of course, as I’ve mentioned, we will continue to participate in the production and distribution of film.

I would love for the direction of development to continue on this path of new film stocks, new formats, new lenses…more things for photographers of all types to play with. Lomography is such a unique collective in this industry with something for truly everyone (seriously, everyone, photographer or not!) and I would love to see us increasingly embraced as such, especially by creative folks of all types.



Panel Question 01: Kim – @kimmiechem2

Lomography has forged a few paths with art lenses and increasingly diverse choices for instant photography cameras. Bearing that in mind, are you looking to veer away from traditional film chemistries in the long-term, in favor of art-lenses (which can also appeal to the digital market), and instant photography?

Frank, Paulo, Christian @ Film Photography Day 2016
Frank, Paulo, Christian @ Film Photography Day 2016

Lomography – Katherine Phipps:
Although yes, some of the more recent projects have been a bit more diverse, Lomography has no plans to discontinue or steer away from traditional film. It’s a core love of ours!

We will continue producing and distributing (and developing, scanning and printing it!) as long as we possibly can, hopefully forever!



Panel Question 02: Diz – @dizd

I am just getting to know Lomography, so understanding what you stand for would be helpful. I’d like you to give me your elevator pitch of what your mission statement is and how your latest offerings support that.

Ciara in the (almost functioning again) lab
Ciara in the (almost functioning again) lab

Lomography – Katherine Phipps:
Lomography is a creative and experimental photography company in love with all things analog. We started by creating cameras that make analog photography fun and easy, but also make products that cater to a more experienced photographer.

Lomography’s Ten Golden Rules say a lot about the creative spirit of our brand: it’s about shooting all the time, not thinking about anything too much, and in the end, throwing away the rules and just having fun.

  • RULE #1 – Take your camera everywhere you go
  • RULE #2 – Use it any time – day and night
  • RULE #3 – Lomography is not an interference in your life, but part of it
  • RULE #4 – Try the shot from the hip
  • RULE #5 – Approach the objects of your Lomographic desire as close as possible
  • RULE #6 – Don’t think (William Firebrace)
  • RULE #7 – Be fast
  • RULE #8 – You don’t have to know beforehand what you captured on film
  • RULE #9 – Afterwards either
  • RULE #10 – Don’t worry about any rules

Anyone can (and everyone should!) be a Lomographer. There is no sense of exclusion or elitism. The community really cares about one another, always exchanging tips and ideas.



Panel Question 03: Jennifer – @HolgaJen

I purchased my first Holga from Lomography many, many years ago. It was definitely a turning point in my artistic life! With the recent news of the Holga factory closure, what do you see as the future of this iconic camera? Does Lomography have any plans in the works to perhaps keep the Holga alive in some way? And if so, can you share any of that with us?

Upstairs at NYC
Upstairs at NYC

Lomography – Katherine Phipps:
I definitely had a similar Holga life-changing experience. We are all very sad that the Holga factory has closed as well!

As of now, there are no production plans that I can divulge, but we do have a stock of Holga cameras that we can sell, as well as the Diana F+, another great option to introduce people to the joys of plastic cameras.



Panel Question 04: EMULSIVE

In recent years the company has dipped its toes into creating new M-mount lenses, as well as resurrecting older glass (Russar, Minitar, Jupiter). With the recent news of your partner Zenit re-entering the camera market, can we expect to see new Lomography branded camera to take advantage of this new glass?

Lomography Daguerreotype Achromat 2.9/64 Art Lens
Lomography Daguerreotype Achromat 2.9/64 Art Lens

Lomography – Katherine Phipps:
Another one that I have to say, I don’t know of a specific plan for this, but we would really and truly love to see something like this go into production.



Panel Question 05: EMULSIVE

Fuji seem to be interested in maintaining their Instax instant film products over and above other formats (although there have been hazy commitments to supporting 35mm, 120 and sheet film for the next few years). With interest in instant photography appearing to grow and grow, can you see a future where we’ll see new instant film stocks, especially black and white?

NYC store by ChristianPolt
NYC store by ChristianPolt

Lomography – Katherine Phipps:
It seems that there’s a growing demand for this, I feel like more and more people are asking so this is another one I have to add to my list of suggestions.

I’m wondering if it isn’t in development or if there is some limitation or…there is probably someone who can answer more questions about specifically black and white instax.

I can see a future for it more readily if more people were actually using instax cameras!




It’s a wrap

And there we are, the first Community Interview is done. Thank you all for reading and please leave any additional questions, or comments below. We fully understand that this is a living, breathing process and don’t expect things to end just because we’ve had the initial questions answered. If you leave a comment or question below, we’ll make sure it gets to Katherine and do our best to get it answered for you.

The concept behind these pieces is to encourage and inform debate between consumers of film (professional or otherwise), and the industry that they support. We genuinely feel that these interviews can help to give the industry side of the film photography community a voice and open the way for clearer dialogue.

Only time will tell but with your support, we can make this happen.



Coming up

There’s much more to come and whilst we don’t want to ruin the surprise, you’ll be seeing and hearing details of our next Community Interview subject over the coming weeks.

Thanks again for reading and please make sure to leave your comments below!

Keep shooting, folks!


About the author

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Founder, overlord, and editor-in-chief at EMULSIVE.org. I may be a benevolent gestalt entity but contrary to increasingly popular belief, I am not an AI.

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  1. This was extremely interesting for me! I just got a couple of rolls of Lomo Color Negative 400 from a friend of mine and I love what I’ve seen so far. This was the first Lomography product I’ve used, but I’m definitely coming back for more.

    As for black and white Instax film, please please make that! I’ve really been hoping someone would do it since I bought my Instax two or three years ago.

  2. This was extremely interesting for me! I just got a couple of rolls of Lomo Color Negative 400 from a friend of mine and I love what I’ve seen so far. This was the first Lomography product I’ve used, but I’m definitely coming back for more.

    As for black and white Instax film, please please make that! I’ve really been hoping someone would do it since I bought my Instax two or three years ago.

  3. thanks for taking tame to answer our questions! I’m glad my holga jack came in time for christmas so thanks for that 🙂