…Paper Packages Tied Up With String

It’s not something I’ve done before, but this year I did gift myself a Christmas Present.

Some of us hunt for the ultimate denim jeans, or the perfect pair of trainers – filling our lives with formidable contenders but somehow never meeting up with that one true champion.

I’m becoming that way with cameras. The cover story from this issue of Monocle magazine last spring put many of my personal feelings into perfect focus – that the output of digital cameras never seems to glow with the rich warmth of that from old-school film cameras.


Digital vs. analog, flash vs. non-flash, clarity vs. surrealism, my camera-oriented allegiances have wavered and ruptured violently over the years. My office closet is now littered with the sad corpses of cameras I wanted desperately to rescue me from myself but that never quite did.

So this December, my best guess for what might finally end this camera-based turmoil turned out to be the Lomo LC-A, a 35mm device some consider a “toy camera”. From glowing descriptions and photographic examples, I began to trust that if armed with such a camera myself, every image I captured from then on would appear as if snipped out of some vibrant Steve Zissou-like scrapbook.

Being that the LC-A in its peak form and specs is now out of production, I bopped over to e-bay and ordered a slightly vintage, mint-in-box device from St. Petersberg, Russia.


24 days later, and a full week after Christmas, my lustworthy Lomo arrived via air-mail. I’ve mooned over every layer of the box and tape, paper, string and packaging that it arrived in.


I’m smitten as well with the way it looks, how the name-brand is printed in Russian rather than English lettering (butches it up a bit, I feel), and I appreciate the rock-like sturdiness the device suggests when I grab it in my hands.


I need now to take a test roll to determine whether I can salute the camera’s actual photographic capabilities, or if the LC-A is destined to die in the closet with the previous generations of fallen contenders.

Please, please, please…let this be the one!

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