The Paralympics, captured on film
Some of the 30,000 film camera photographs on display from Lomography, an analog camera community, as part of the 2012 Olympic festivities, including some by Paralympians. (Stephen Dowling)
Millions of pictures will be snapped over the course of London’s 2012 Paralympic Games – by both photojournalists wielding massive telephoto lenses and spectators shooting from the stands on their smartphones. On websites and social media across the world, the athletes’ stories will be told in a digital tidal wave of bits and bytes.
In one corner of London, however, the Paralympics are being celebrated in a much more traditional way. At the Museum of London, not far from St Paul’s Cathedral, the spirit of the London 2012 Games has been captured on a “Lomowall” – a 65m-long riot of colour made up of 30,000 individual photographs all shot on film. The project is the latest in a series of such institutions overseen by Lomography, the Vienna-based analogue photography company that makes and sells a range of lo-fi cameras and photographic film.
Seen from afar, the pictures on the museum’s outside wall form a swash of pleasing colour, but when you look up close, individual images are revealed. Many of the pictures – sourced from the hundreds of thousands of members on the company’s analogue-only photo-sharing site -- use the shoot-from-the-hip aesthetic that Lomography has popularised, using plastic-lensed toy cameras, expired film, colourful filters and unusual angles to create edgy-looking images.
The wall also includes pictures of the British Paralympic team in training ahead of the Games. Some of the photos featured have even been taken by British Paralympian swimmer Chris Holmes, who is registered blind. He included several photos of his guide dog Lottie. All in all, the pictures – which were all printed out in Vienna before being mounted at the museum – come from 32 different countries.
“We decided to work with the title of ‘Inspiring and Achieving in London 2012’,” said Heidi Mace, Lomography UK’s online market manager and one of the project’s creators. “So, the final wall is made up of many different impressions of London, influenced by this sporty summer, but not all directly of sport.” The Lomowall will be open until 6 January, 2013.