New Lomography Kickstarter Makes Your Smartphone a Mobile Film Scanner
Though I understand where these things come from, calling something like Lomography “the analog Instagram” is like calling Kodak’s new Super 8 stock “the chemical MiniDV,” or even better, “the new digital from back before digital” — for the sake of modern analog (dear lord I just said that) we’re getting our chicken-and-egg orders mixed up. That said, we’ve seen some pretty interesting blends of the old and the new… and then back to the old again. There was The Impossible Project’s Impossible Instant Lab, which made Polaroids of cell phone stills — which we also called “the Real Instagram,” though again, I understand why. Thanks to (both a hobby and) a company called Lomography, the opposite chicken-egg process is possible — with some help, your smartphone is now also a digital scanner of film negatives. Read: Instant scanning, insta… sharing.
Lomography is an enthusiastic movement of stills photography that centers around the use of — you guessed it — analog cameras, and particularly those which produce an impressionistic, lo-fi, and generally difficult (if not impossible) to otherwise-recreate effect overall. I’d come to know it as the ‘plastic camera’ or ‘toy camera’ look — and thusly Instagram as the app which best capitalized on digitizing the aesthetics of such a movement (there were and are others). In any case, it’s clear several generations of photographers and casual photography enthusiasts can appreciate and enjoy this type of thing, be it analog or digital. Interestingly, Lomography (a specialty design company which champions the eponymous movement) is Kickstarting its Smartphone Film Scanner — having already surpassed its goal of $50,000 by February 4. Combining a smartphone-mounted device with an app that turns the whole jumble into exactly what it sounds like it does, there may be a whole new movement of ‘legit’ or ‘hardcore’ (or, yes, ‘real’) Instagram-ing on the horizon. From the Kickstarter:
Simply turn on the Smartphone Film Scanner back-light, insert your film, take a photo of it using your Smartphone and use the included App (iPhone and Android versions available) to edit and share. In an instant, you’ll end up with a digital version of your film which can be archived, emailed, posted on social media sites or printed.
The Smartphone Film Scanner was conceived as a way to offer photographers and enthusiasts a quick, easy and portable way to scan 35mm films. It offers unrivaled speed and convenience when compared to other film scanners. In addition, the scanner will work with a free integrated Lomoscanner App, which allows you to easily edit and share your scans.
These images are examples of the project in action — for a closer look, hit the Kickstarter page — and tell me they don’t remind you of “Instas.” Of course (if you have to look at it in this way) they’re cooler, because what’s going on is an actual new school A/D conversion of the old school, not a preset-filtration of the new school in emulation of the old school — but in any case, I’m no hater. Below is the video for its Kickstarter campaign:
And for good measure, a video about how the scanner works:
This is definitely a novelty item, but that’s where the heart and soul of something like Lomography lies — it’s the genuine cuteness of the vintage and the unpredictable nature of what comes out at the end that’s endearing about it all. Albeit somewhat clunky to carry around, perhaps, you have the option to scan film negatives wherever you go — so if this interests you, hit up the Kickstarter page and preorder/endorse the project for $40 to receive the scanner at a discounted pre-launch price.
How do you guys feel about this device and its accompanying app? Does it make more or less sense than Instagram, especially given this is closer to a ‘real’ version, in a way, of what Instagram tries to emulate? Do you see yourself using it over other negative scanning solutions, which are no doubt less portable and just plain cool?