What Does "Lomo" Mean?
Wow I just took the time and read through this. It's pretty intriguing to see how strongly people feel about Lomo and Lomography.
I guess to answer the original topic question, lomo is just a style, akin to something like what pictorialism in photography once was (a separation from standard photographic styles). Soft focus, heavy vignettes, pop-arty. Nothing wrong with it, just another art form and way of expression.
Lomography or Lomography.com the company is just trying to capitalize on it. I doubt that the original lomo society could have imagined where this would take off too. Their core beliefs were to take and use inexpensive cameras which were passed by by many photographers because of imaging flaws and embrace them. I feel many people dislike Lomography because of how the company prices and targets 1st time analog users. Their marketing and price gouging is what I think makes people dislike them and be very vocal about it.
I've shot holga it's fine, but it certainly isn't the camera I started out with. I would have been quite frustrated if it was. I've used the lca and it's a wonderful little camera, but to buy one new is $200-300 bucks! The new lca-w and the folding 6x12 I think are good steps forward for them, and cameras I myself would really like to use, but again really super expensive. There is a huge mark up going on here, as all of their cameras are plastic molded and made by cheap labor over seas. The amount they produce surely gives them a cost advantage through economies of scale. If the prices were lower, i feel there would be much less negativity.
"well it gets people into film" I guess but maybe it does the opposite just as well. High prices on gear that isn't as well finished or as durable, and expensive expired film(If you peel the labeling of most of the time you can see its like just old Kodak or fuji stuff, redscale is just rerolled flipping the emulsion side), may give consumers buyers remorse and have them shy away from film altogether after their first and only purchase. Others may move on to other cameras and systems, but I think very few make a full commitment to analog if they didn't have a more formal education in it. It's a fad for many.
The original lomo crowd wanted people to use inexpensive cameras to make art, but now its a huge reversal of that core ideology to buy expensive cameras to duplicate that style.
I have read on other sites about lomo shooters getting creative about their processing, it's cool in one way, but I think really scary and potentially very expensive. Many shooters have been intentionally altering their films after shooting by tossing them into random household chemicals and leaving them to dry. I can't imagine what damage that would cause to the machines, chemicals, or other peoples films which were developed together.
Too bad there has not been any real market info or studies to see how large the lomo market is, or how many people enter and stay in that segment, or how many exit. Plus lomography isnt public so there isnt any company reports we can view to see how they are doing. We can only guess based on what we see. I've actually have been observing more traditional cameras than Lomography products on the streets recently though. Sites like tokyocamera style and it's similar spinoffs serves as some documentation of what's in the hands of analog shooters around the world.