Lomography Kickstarts a Brand New Color Film, LomoChrome Metropolis

Lomography Kickstarts a Brand New Color Film, LomoChrome Metropolis

2800 1575 Jeb Inge

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.

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Jeb Inge

Jeb Inge is a Berlin-based photographer and writer. He has also worked in journalism, public history and public relations.

All stories by:Jeb Inge
13 comments
  • This looks like something I could get behind. That’s pretty sweet desaturation and chunky contrast.

  • Is it just me that finds naming a C41 film xxxxxChrome irritating? My personal view is that using “chrome” should by convention, be limited to E6 reversal films. I keep being teased by new “chrome” films from various makers, only to be disappointed in finding they are only yet another “funny/weird” colour negative film.

    Wilson

    • I personally understand where you’re coming from, and agree Wilson. I asked the Lomo rep about the use of “chrome” and whether or not this might be an E6 film intended to be cross-processed and she replied that it is not. It’s a C41 film and E6 processing created poor results. That doesn’t necessarily address your comment, but it’s more info!

    • The first film with the suffix -chrome was released in 1931 and was a black and white safety film: Kodak Verichrome. Decades before that actually, some British glass plates were already named Verichrome as well. And Kodak Verichome Pan was only discontinued in the mid-90s.

      It’s probably Kodachrome that later inspired the association with color reversal film but it’s not an E6 film either. The E6 process was invented in 1977, long after the suffix was used for Verichrome, Kodachrome, the older Ektachrome, Agfachrome, Orwochrom or the Ilfochrome/Cibachrome process. In actuality, the suffix -chrome for photographic films stems from the use of chromium(III) potassium sulfate as a hardener in gelatine emulsions.

  • Verrry interestink! Although, I got on the Kickstarter bandwagon – quite some time ago – with the resurrection of Ferrania. AND I’m still waiting for my two rolls of film!
    This Lomography film looks very promising indeed. I’m a sucker for the package artwork alone. Using the Kodaky shade of yellow and black is probably no accident.
    I’m in.
    Thanks for the heads-up!

  • I backed it – 20 rolls. This looks really fun and creative. And the curmudgeons out their will be very annoyed to hear that even though Lomo just launched this and have 37 days to go, they have already hit the half way mark!

    • I have no doubt it’s going to be funded ahead of schedule. No matter what you think of the film, a company releasing new films (especially color) is awesome for everyone!

  • I have a question about it being rated from 100-400 ISO. How does that work if there is no change in developing times? Looking at their samples, it seems that the ‘best’ exposure is at ISO 400. Everything under seemed over exposed by quite a lot.

    • I have a similar thought to Huss – although it’s specific to the 110 cartridge format. My Pentax Auto 110 selects 100 or 400 according to the presence or absence of a tab on the cartridge, so I wonder which it’ll be. (Lomography’s Tiger C41 film, inconveniently, is rated 200 – but the Auto 110 seems to treat it as 100 and I guess latitude does the rest as my results have looked OK – so perhaps I’ve answered my own question about this one too.)

  • Exciting stuff. Not that it matters too much, but which factory will make this film for Lomography? Lomo 800 is Kodak’s from their disposable cameras, and there are only so many companies who can produce a C41 emulsion. So, who is it this time? Revolog? Maco/Rollei?

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Jeb Inge

Jeb Inge is a Berlin-based photographer and writer. He has also worked in journalism, public history and public relations.

All stories by:Jeb Inge