Over the last year I’ve become what the kids would call a “stan” for Lomography’s Lomochrome Purple. Having gotten into film photography just over four years ago, I long missed the boat to sip the sweet nectar of Kodak’s legendary Aerochrome. I know, I know. Technically I can still shoot Aerochrome, but $300 – 400 for one roll of film? In this economy? I don’t think so.
If you’re like me and you’ve been bemoaning your long lost opportunity to explore the funkadelic world of Aerochrome, look no further than Lomochrome Purple to scratch that itch.
Since buying my first roll of Lomochrome Purple just over a year ago I have manically shot roll after roll, and I’m proud to say it has become one of my favorite film stocks in my arsenal. It has given me a completely new way of seeing the world around me and has expanded my imagination. Each roll I’ve shot makes me feel like I’ve stepped into a magical world of wonder.
Fairyland forests. Purple mountains of majesty. Skies of turquoise. I’ve put it through so many different scenarios, thinking surely something will trip it up, but it has yet to let me down. Surprisingly versatile, this film stock will give you a new perspective of the world around you and expand the horizons of your photography.
What is Lomochrome Purple?
Lomochrome was originally launched by Lomography in 2013 in 35mm and 120 film sizes. Over time they added 110 and Lomography has even done limited runs in 16mm and Super 8. As part of a big production run in 2019, Lomography decided to re-formulate the film to offer an even more saturated emulsion with stronger magenta hues. This is the current version available for purchase today.
Lomochrome Pruple’s inspiration, the iconic Aerochrome, was a color positive film (commonly called slide film). But Lomochrome Purple is a color negative film and can be developed in standard C-41 chemicals. This means that it’s more easily developed and more easily shot (positive film is notoriously finicky about exposure compared with negative film). Lomochrome has a suggested ISO range of 100 – 400, which gives it wonderful flexibility for a variety of scenes and lighting scenarios. Depending on which ISO you choose to meter it at, the color and look of your results will vary.
The show-stopping element of this film stock is the way it completely transforms and morphs the normal colors of our everyday world. Per Lomography’s website, “blue becomes green, green becomes purple, and yellow becomes pink.” Take this film on a hike outdoors and suddenly your surroundings will be a sea of purple. Or if you are more of an urbanite, take it for a spin downtown and you’ll have a unique world of teal skies and magenta buildings.
Lomochrome Purple in Action
I’ve personally shot this film stock in both 35mm and 120, but not 110 format, as I do not have any 110 cameras in my collection. While it sings in both 35mm and 120, my preference is for the latter, as medium format is my go to for sharpness and resolution size. I decided to shoot the very first roll I bought at night, mainly because a number of people told me it couldn’t be shot at night and I just felt compelled to prove them wrong. For an extra element of trippiness, I decided to slap an 8-point star filter on my lens and the results were out of this world. Like a night time purple and pink laser show from space. I highly recommend this stock if you’re a night shooter and looking for a different way to change up your shots.
Ever since this fateful first roll, I have shot Lomochrome Purple in a wide range of scenes including throughout downtown Milwaukee in a variety of lighting conditions, on a number of hikes in Wisconsin’s idyllic state parks, and even some portraits with a good friend of mine. And it’s held its own in every single scene I’ve put it through. I was especially surprised with how well it performed in evening city shots. In these types of scenes I often find standard C-41 films can be a bit of a challenge, as the shadow of large urban buildings with the setting sun can give off some unusual tones and color casts. But nope, Lomochrome Purple took it like a champ.
I typically meter at either ISO 200 or 400 depending on how much light is available in my scene. I’ve found the shots metered at 400 offer darker, bluer purples, while the frames shot at 200 give more pink hues and turquoise skies. Since with this emulsion yellows tend toward the pink side, you can even shoot portraits and have skin tones that will retain a somewhat natural hue (albeit a little more rosy).
Why I love Lomochrome Purple
Simply put, shooting Lomochrome Purple is pure fun through and through. I’m always filled with anticipation and excitement to see exactly how the colors of my scenes will render on this stock, and it never ceases to take my breath away when I get my results. It takes the world I know and flips it on its head. It helps breathe new creative life into me if I’m ever in a photo rut, and it helps remind me of the sheer magic of film photography.
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