Juan Hoyos is Lomography’s new Director of Marketing and Online Media for the North Americas, and we were recently able to chat with him about the future of the company. It has been commonplace in the industry for the company’s label to be targeted towards hipsters and be all about plastic cameras with cross processing. But in the recent years, the company has shown a bit more of its serious side starting with the Bel-Air and even more glass lenses and offerings for the higher end creatives.
And according to Juan, people should be excited.
Phoblographer: You were recently named the Director of Marketing and Online media for the North American Market. With that said, how do you think the North American market differs from that of say European when it comes to the analog world?
Juan: I come from managing the Lomography embassy in Colombia, there the market is still fresh and new. Working there we used to gather the local community to work together with other Hispanic countries like Chile and Perú, in this part of the globe the analog world is something that is still fresh, new, there is not enough digital technology on every one hands (hi-tech is still too expensive in Latin America) so the analogue photography has a great market yet. Europe on the other hand is a market with a lot of small countries, this has made easy the marketing of Lomography and the brand awareness. Europe is also a traditional market, they like the classic, well designed products, so our cameras had a great acceptation there and the analogue market is strong and alive.
But North America is a country full of digital opportunities and new devices and technologies are launched every day; the analogue products in this country are seen only for those who are professionals, or students, the regular American who is not a photographer is not interested in analogue any more, so here is where the communication has to change, is not about keeping the digital away, but to try a different technique, to try “new” and experimental things, to engage that young kid and his mother who enjoys taking pictures with their phones in a “new” creative and experimental hobby.
Kids today are born with a digital tablet in their hands, and once they discover the film, they feel like they just connected with something new, and that’s an opportunity. Last year I directed the first Lomowall in Colombia, and this had a great succeed, the same year I helped to put together a Lomowall for the Red Cross on Washington D.C. and the results were amazing. Also since the release of our first Kickstarter campaign for a new product (lomography phone scanner) we have seen a bigger connection with our American audience, so bottom line, is this kind of experiences and the innovation on products and accessories that made regular people to get involved with analogue photography again.
Phoblographer: Lomography is getting set to release new art lenses. The first of which was the Petzval lens and second was the Russar+. Do you see the art lenses as a way for them to start working more with the digital world?
Juan: Well of course the Art lenses work with some digital cameras on the market. They also work with analogue cameras. So yes it’s a way for us to reach new people with exciting/experimental/creative products but these products also stay true to the Lomography ethos of creative/experimental photography. The Petzval lens for example it’s a lens 100% analogue that you can use in any kind of analogue or digital camera with the right mount.
Phoblographer: What segment of the market do you see making the most use of what Lomography’s coming out with as far as the Art lenses go?
Juan:: We don’t really like talking about ‘markets’. We think the Art lenses are interesting and will appeal to all kinds of different people who are interested in the creative possibilities of photography in the 21st century.
Phoblographer: Obviously Lomography isn’t trying to compete with other brands with their art lenses, but where do you see the future of series? Will they be more adapted for the DSLR customer or the mirrorless camera customer?
Juan:: We like to think we work for all kind of photographers and camera users, from the beginner one to the experimented professional, so we have exciting lenses lined up for all kinds of different camera types.
Phoblographer: What are the main and defining characteristics of the art lenses? So far, we see that they’ve been using glass instead of plastic.
Juan: No Art Lens is alike – With each new lens, you will be able to get truly unique shots with a special optical character you won’t find with regular photographic lenses. Every Lomography Art Lens in the family is creative, experimental and has a unique optical character which is different from the ‘regular’ lenses other optics manufacturers are generally creating nowadays. Each lens encapsulates the Lomography ethos of presenting the world with new ways to experiment with photography.
Phoblographer: Tell us more about the relationship between Lomography and Zenit. Should we be looking for more Russian inspired products?
Juan: We are very excited and proud to be working with the talented team at Zenit for these two new Art Lenses. Yes for sure the Art Lens family will grow more and some will have this strong Russian connection. However not all the lenses will be produced by Zenith, we have planned to work in new brand developments in other countries.
Phoblographer: How many new products should we be seeing come down the pipeline this year?
Juan: A lot 😉 we have many exciting products planned for this year. This is a special year for us and our new line of experimental photography products and accessories.