Q: “Okay, I understand lomography ideologically but HOW does a Lomo work differently than conventional cameras? Physically.”
A: Fundamentally, the answer is “it isn’t physically different”. The physical principles of photography are essentially invariable, regardless of camera type. Like goes into a box through a hole and prints a pattern on a photosensitive material. (or sensor) A shoebox with a hole on one side, a lomo, a disposable camera, an SLR and a digital point-and-shoot, all share this same basic model of operation.
Lomography is more of a concept and an attitude towards photography, rather than a different technique. Despite that, there are a number of technical tenets that fall within the lomographic dogma. They do not physically differentiate the photographic process from that of other camera types, but they do define a particular technological framework.
The lomographic dogma is focused into disregarding technical perfection and even actively strive for an imperfect/amateurish look and feel. Using cheap lenses, dated film, hand-holding, motion-blurring, no controlled lighting are only some of the principles. The details can be found at www.lomography.com. The general aim is to highlight the importance of spontaneity and a dedication to composition and subject matter. This is done by stripping the equipment and the technical process of all bells and whistles and giving you the simplest possible camera, as close as it gets to the fundamental ‘box-with-a-hole’ definition of photography.
Some of the cameras made and promoted by the Lomographic Society are equipment oddities designed to produce certain special effects while reatining the simplicity and ease-of-use that is so characteristic of Lomos. An example is the ‘action-sampler’ which basically features a quadrant of four lenses, each printing at their own section of the film caret, each at a slight time-delay from the previous one. (this is achieved by four indpendent, phased shutters) The resulting photo is a composition of four photos in one, each with a time delay, portraying an action sequence as it unfolds. Others just have multiple lenses at different focals lengths giving you a variety of points-of-view or angles for a scene. But basically, they’re still normal cameras, simple ones, with a button to click, a film roller, and one or more lenses that channel light onto the film, just like it works with any other camera.