5/23/13 new updates about the store closing and re-opening this May 2013 towards the bottom of the post!
Are you a fan of analogue photography and cameras? If you are in Seoul you are in luck, Koreans LOVE photography! It is easily one of the most popular hobbies here in Korea with all ages and as a result you have almost any camera at any price-range at your finger tips to buy new or even used.
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Thankfully the love for photography is not just reserved for fancy high-tech digital cameras, the analogue camera movement is alive and well in Seoul! One of the best locations for these sorts of camera lovers is the Lomography Store located in artsy Hongdae, a perfect location!
This shop is a world-wide chain and the only one located in Korea! It has been here about 4 years and judging by the traffic we saw coming in and out, it is doing very well!
When you step it it feels like you are in the past and in the future at the same time. Lots of colors and amazing retro camera bodies, but these are new and use traditional film! Yes, do you remember those days when you used to have to develop your photos before you could see them?? Here that method is celebrated as a unique art-form!
I am from San Francisco so given the artsy vibe of that city you can guess that yes, I am at least familiar with the analogue film trend/movement. Although I am not a photographer, I do really appreciate the availability of these cameras and the vast selection a LOT an an artist~ it is a great medium of self expression and I see the appeal.
Honestly, I have never been in a Lomography Store before or even knew a proper “reboot” brand existed for these~ I used to just see a camera style or two in misc boutiques back home or on sale at places like urban outfitters. Coming across this international chain in Korea of all places was a big surprise and thrilled me! I used to think these cameras were a bit hard to acquire and often vintage you + where would you even have film processed now?? Fear not, the Lomography shop takes care of all that for you!
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You can buy a wide range of brands, styles, accessories, film, AND get it developed at this store!
How awesome is that?
Bling-bling gold Diana F+ Camera
In 2004 Lomography made the world’s first compact Fisheye camera! These are so much fun and the Seoul store sells them in a variety of sizes and colors for you to play with!
They also have a nice selection of Lomography artbooks~
“It began with a fateful encounter in the early 1990s, when two students in Vienna, Austria, stumbled upon the Lomo Kompakt Automat – a small, enigmatic Russian camera. Mindlessly taking shots from the hip, and sometimes looking through the viewfinder, they were astounded with the mindblowing photos that it produced – the colours were vibrant, with deep saturation and vignettes that framed the shot – it was nothing like they had seen before!” – Lomography.com
Lomography has shops all over the world! This shop is Korea’s one and only location ♥
Aside from the cameras, they also sell lots of fun little things like key chains, buttons, shorts, bags, cases etc
Animal prints and fun colors = awesome!
The motto of Lomography is “Don’t Think, Just Shoot.” No do-overs~ every photo is a unique piece of art and the results are always a bit of a surprise ♥ That is what makes these cameras so fun, the lack of control!
Apparently the most popular model in Korea to buy is the “Diana” which is a camera that first appeared in the 1960’s.
The originals were made in Hong Kong and used as cheap plastic toys, prizes, promotional items etc and suffered from light leaks and all sorts of image “problems” due to its poor construction….. but this is exactly what makes it appealing now! The new versions offer the same quirks, plus some added features like panaroma, shutter speeds, exposure variations, and more.
Where to buy film in Seoul?
So what about film for your cameras? Not so easy to find anymore, is it? No worries~ the Lomography store in Seoul has plenty of film to pick from including some expired film which can produce fun results.
I had not idea they made such films now~ you can buy ones that will make your photos black and white, ultra saturated, deeper blacks and many more! How cool is that?
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If you have film to develop you can drop it off at this location!
The back walls of the shop are filled with awesome Lomography photos (aka LomoWalls )~ so much vivid color everywhere I looked! The temptation to buy a camera was rising….
The photo wall makes an amazing backdrop! As you can see, we dresses in spikes and skulls to match today~ BECAUSE WE ARE ADORABLE DAWWWW.
In the back of the shop they had some seating, I assume it is for group/club meetings, or if you are waiting for film to process perhaps? Anyway, check out the amazing wrap sticker they made for the air-con! Now every time I see a screen like that I am going to think about a frowning face haha!!
The CMYK Diana F+ camera looked like candy when we saw it! My camera looks so ugly in comparision D:
You can buy a baby version of your camera to use as a keychain! How cute is that? These are amazing pocket fisheye cameras ♥
Filters are always a lot of fun to play with, I have a few on my photoshop that I like using… but ah, something about controlling every aspect of it kinda kills the surprise! It is just not the same! Maybe I should ask for a Lomo camera for Christmas? ^^
They had a large inventory of Sprocket Rocket cameras in every color you could want! These have a fun feature which allow you take panoramic shots with the image extending to the whole area of the film including the sprocket holes along the border!
What an interesting result ♥ This one looks like a lot of fun for photo albums.
The Lubitel 166+ twin-lens lothario camera~
They had plenty of camera “Kits” that let you buy everything you need to get started in one easy swoop!
Well Hello there…..?
Nara gazing in awe at all the pretty colors lol
Analogue Lomokino Movie Maker!
Just like the other locations, the Seoul Lomography shop offers plenty of classes, shows, events, and activities to help build the community!
Update! 2013 Seoul Lomo Lab store closing AND now re-launch!!!
UPDATE~~~ Wonderful news! I had updated this article on 2/17/2013 to report that Seoul Lomo Lab had closed its doors after 4 years of business. Thankfully as of 5/2013 they have re-opened the Seoul Lomography shop and are having a large sale to celebrate! I did not have time to talk with them in length, so I can not say just HOW much has changed with this re-launch ~ but they still had a huge selection and the store looked pretty much the same minus some inventory and a few display items.
It may now be an unofficial lomo location since I saw a larger focus has been made on stocking Instax camera products by Fuji Film, but they had dozens of Lomo models including some new special addition ones so it is still very much worth a visit if you wish to purchase a camera! This could change in the next few months as they get things rolling again, so if you visit and find out anything new please do share in the comments! Glad to see them back in business in some form! If anything, the developing lab or club meetings may be the only things that change somewhat with this re-launch, but this is just my speculation at this time ^^
Directions to Lomography Shop + Gallery in Seoul ( Hongdae )
로모그래피 Lomography Hongdae
서울특별시 마포구 서교동 362-14 1층
Hours: Everyday 1:00 pm -9:00 pm
If you are coming by the subway, you are going to want to take the Green Line #2 to Hongdae aka Hongik University
The shop location is a bit far back into Hongdae, but if you are familiar with the area you should have no problems since it is right behind the popular Hongdae park. If you are new to Seoul or coming here on vacation your best best will be to eyeball the map above since Hongdae is a bit crowded and always changing so photos of the streets do not always look the same!
While walking from the metro you are going to have to cross a large street to get from one side of Hongdae (the side with the metro station and mainly pubs + restaurants) to the other side where all the shops and some of the clubs are. Everyone pretty much crosses where they feel like it, so just follow the crowds to the street filled with clothing shops and people~ it should be easy to spot. You are going to walk down this road of shops till almost the end where (as of this posting in 2012) you will see a Lush and a very pink Etude House on your left, this is the road you want to turn down to head towards Hongdae Park.
When you hit Hongdae Park you are going to want to take a right down the side street~
Keep walking and stay to the right, you will continue down a small road and eventually hit the shop on your left! It is set a bit back from the road, but they usually have signs and large camera cutouts so you can see it as you are walking!
Have you been to this location? What is your favorite camera? Did you find out about this location thanks to this post? Comment below and share! ♥