If you’re passionate about losing all self-respect as a photographer, look no further than the latest pretentiously sounding photographic KickStarter, Lumigraphe. It not only promises to extinguish any magic left in the exploration of photography’s early years but will also help remove any burden of disposable income from your wallet.
The video is deceptive enough to fool any unwitting photographer with more cash than braincells into thinking the product is actually a cool, unique and innovative idea. Presumably that is why 30 people have already spent a total of €4000 backing the toy company so far.
Here’s the promo video:
“Perhaps the most impressive thing about Lumigraphe is its simplicity”
Don’t let the sexy Thierry Henry accent fool you. Unless I’ve mistaken the whole thing for an ironic joke or study in social stupidity on the Internet I can tell you this statement is absurd. If you’re not
laughing cringing already at the word simplicity, let me break it down for you.
It’s gigantic. The only acceptable thing in modern culture that’s this simple and this big is Hodor and even he has a purpose. You’ll need a rucksack to carry this plastic tat and upon getting it out to use it’s far from simple to handle. It’s the size of a full plate camera and the designers deem it a handheld device. The video clearly shows how awkward you will look in the real world.
It overcomplicates. We’ll explore easier ways to make your video or photographs have a crap aesthetic below, however let’s look at how much of a meal Lumigraphe makes out of a simple idea: It is designed so your smartphone, whose screen is viewed in a fold down mirror, has its tiny lens pointed at the inside of a plastic box looking at a projection on the rear of the box made by a plastic lens on the front. Not simple in the slightest.
It is a lie. “The unique photography effect is unlike anything that can be created artificially with digital filters.” A soft vignette, Petzval or otherwise with a mild increase in saturation is far from non existent in digital photography. In fact I’d call it more of a blight, but maybe that’s just me. Despite being downright offal this is only pitting the product against digital alternatives…
Alternatives. The thing is, if you want to easily manipulate your image to forge a poor 1850s aesthetic, you can forget the camera obscura box all together. Sure it’s a cute idea for five minutes, but it’s been done badly already. Jelly lenses will do the trick for smartphones, or if you want to spend a little bit more the Lomography Petzval lens can give you what you want. Heck, why not go wild and trawl the vintage cameras section on eBay for old equipment which is still very much useable? You’ll get a bigger kick out of it and won’t be left with plastic junk afterwards.
Throughout the video, the creator Valmant Alchalme narrates and gifts us with some incredible tag lines to tempt us into buying. We’ve listed a few of them here so you don’t have to watch the whole promo video yourself:
The transformative effect is a simple matter of optics.
The more syllables in a sentence, the more likely you’re being conned.
…create beautiful, slow-mo and time lapse video
That’s right, the con-artists at Lumigraphe are selling you something that your phone you already has. Genius. Evil, goddamn genius.
These results are uniquely yours and allow you to unleash your inner arteest
What does that even mean? The photos you take will be yours and with this hunk of plastic I’ll suddenly be an artist? SOLD!
What you need to remember is your ‘camera’ already is a ‘camera obscura’, it’s just tiny. What’s the point in adding a second humungous one to the process? Unless you want to have the appearance of a grandiose twit just buy an alternative. Luckily, anyone with just the smallest background in photography (which seems to be pretty much every other person these days) will be able to dissuade potential idiots from forcing more money into Valmant Alchalme & co’s pocket.
In conclusion, this writer would advise not spending €80-€300 on any model of this elaborate plastic box. You can easily make one yourself out of cardboard which will not only be ready sooner but will fill you with a sense of pride over and beyond what Lumigraphe promises. If in the unfortunate circumstance that the full funding of €45000 is raised it’ll only serve to spur these guys on to bring more terribly thought out photography ideas to market. Let’s not let that happen folks.