Lomography today launched a Kickstarter that, if funded, will bring a brand new color negative film to market. Inspired by the film by Fritz Lang, LomoChrome Metropolis has an unmistakable look with muted colors and cine-film grain structure. The company hopes to acquire enough crowdfunding to produce this C-41 process film in 35mm, 120mm, 110 and 16mm formats.
If the funding goal is met, LomoChrome Metropolis will be Lomography’s 11th successful Kickstarter campaign. The company has previously used the platform to bring to market a variety of products, including its Lomogon, Petzval and Neptune lenses, and Diana Square and Lomo’instant Square instant cameras. Campaign backers will enjoy up to a twenty-five percent discount on the film’s initial batch.
When contacted by a representative from Lomo regarding coverage of this new film, the first question we asked was if this film truly is a brand new emulsion. Over the past few years the film community has seen numerous supposedly new films hit the market, but these are typically repackaged versions of old expired film, or pre-existing film products not readily available to the end-consumer (they’re business-to-business products for use in surveillance cameras or in the medical or scientific sectors, etcetera). While there’s nothing wrong with these boutique films and we love shooting them, it’s always more exciting when a truly new and unique product comes to market. And LomoChrome Metropolis is in fact a brand new film. Lomo has been developing it for a number of years following the 2014 release of LomoChrome Turquoise.
“The demand for both of our LomoChrome films has been extremely high and we could tell that the film community is eager to try new things and experiment even more,” our contact at Lomography told us. “So we took the risk and time to work on another new emulsion.”
Metropolis is an ambitious idea. Offering the film in four formats appeals to a larger number of photographers and filmmakers, but also comes with higher demands on production and labor costs and the amount of film to be produced. The 16mm cartridges alone will require the backing of 500 contributors.
“It has always been important to us to cater to different formats, so this film is no exception. Even though we could probably easily sell everything we’re creating in 35mm, we encourage film photographers to try and shoot all kinds of formats […] it’s important to keep the diversity alive.”
Beyond the Fritz Lang inspiration, the film’s name also comes from the breakdown of the word metropolis — “metro” meaning mother state and “polis” meaning city. To Lomography, film is the foundation — or metropolis — of photography. In the marketing material for the film, the company calls the new film a part of the fight against “the flood of fake imagery, staged vacation shots, carefully curated spontaneity, countless selfies and empty images.” The film instead encourages experimentation and randomness, with its latitude of 100-400 ISO complementing that goal.
[Sample images provided by Lomography]
One of the obvious reactions to early sample photos made with the film is that this is not a traditional color negative film. Metropolis seems to create moody, grungy images with deep blacks, cool tones and the punchy contrast so familiar to Lomo products.
“There’s enough norm-core color film on the market,” our contact at Lomography told us. “We’re Lomography, we like to experiment and do crazy stuff… It felt only natural for us to create a very unique and different looking color film. Currently, the film market is not really offering anything new in terms of experimental or artistic color emulsions. With this new project, not only are we responding to the demand for film but we also want to confirm that film photography is still alive and thriving.”
Formed in Vienna in 1992, Lomography has become a leader of experimental analog photography, starting with its resurrection of the Russian (now Lomo) LC-A camera, and expanding with quirky films and niche art lenses. The company also houses the largest online archive of user-submitted analog and experimental photography with more than fifteen million photos uploaded to date. The Kickstarter for their latest product can be found here.
Assuming a successful funding via Kickstarter, we will be sure to test LomoChrome Metropolis when it’s released in February 2020.