Surreal Moscow

Moscow photographs made a few years ago by Irina Fruc with a very special Lomo Compact Automat (LC-A) camera fitted with a surreal filter developed by Paul Delvaux.


A few years ago my cousin Irina Fruc (geb. Zabalasque) was given a unique photographic opportunity: the Lomographic Society International asked her to test a new development for the world famous Lomo Compact Automatic (LC-A) camera: a surreal filter which had been developed by the belgian painter Paul Delvaux. She immediately accepted the assignment, which involved taking a series of photographs in Moscow.
Irina's links with LOMO go back a long way. Her great-grandfather Alfred Balthazar Nierdermann visited the once and future Saint Petersburg in 1876, and was the subject of a young photographer called Radionov ( see the last entry in ). This Radionov was the grandfather of the notorious Professor Radionov who developed the LC-A's wide-angle lens.
Here is a diagram of the Delvaux filter as it fits in the LC-A:

For Irina's use, a very special LC-A was made to withstand the hardships of muscovite weather, with a warm white fur external protection layer and a number of other less visible but nevertheless necessary refinements :

The small lever on the right of the lens (left on the photograph) remains the exposure control. The lever on the left of the lens (right on the photograph) is the "surreal" control with three positions: the upper is "out" , no surreal effect. The middle is "foreground" i.e. the picture taken fills the area and the surreal effect is incorporated to it. The lower position is "background" i.e. the main picture is surreal and the object photographed is incorporated into it.
The photographs in this blog are "foreground" pictures, but I have included a rare "background" example here:

The Lomo LC-A "SR" model would have had no distance control, since its place was taken by the surreal control. The SR could not take close-ups.
Sadly, in spite of the outstanding results obtained, the LOMO decision to stop production of the LC-A made the surreal model impractical since the filter cannot be added to an existing LC-A (like a fish-eye lens) but must be incorporated inside the camera during production.
Here are twelve examples of what the Lomo LC-A "SR" had in store for us, to make us say with Neil Young :

The saddest words
Of tongue or pen
Are these four words
"It might have been"

Moscow subway


Moscow street


Annunciation Cathedral


Kremlin wall


Snow by night


Red Square


Red sunset


Red Square by night


Saint Basil


Wet Moscow


Red Star


Moscow campus


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