Camera e1376917157150 - There’s a future in the past

The Lomography phenomenon shows that consumers can take inspiration from old ideas as well as new ones – and it’s all part of a global trend

Soviet-era cameras, using film and not digital technology, are among the hottest properties in the world of photography. The pictures they take are often blurry and oversaturated, and that’s just the way their owners like them.

Welcome to Lomography, a trend inspired by the Russian Lomo Kompakt camera. It’s a movement that has spawned a website, shops and an entire range of equipment, from very affordable entry-level models to high-spec kit. At a time when Kodak has filed for bankruptcy, some commentators believe that Lomography may have single-handedly saved film photography.

On the face of it, this has nothing much to do with wine. But Wine Intelligence analysts see Lomography as a hallmark of a wider consumer trend, which they have labelled as Retro. Society may seem obsessed with digital gadgets and gizmos, but millions of consumers are also finding much to love about the past. A past that could be real, or imagined – something that connects them with their own childhood, or even a time before they were born.

The drinks industry often plays the heritage card: think of the old-time feel of the Jack Daniel’s bottle, or the elaborate crests you might find on a Bordeaux grand vin. At times, the Retro imagery can be more playful, as with the Victorian steampunk paraphernalia employed by Hendrick’s gin (launched in 1999, not 1899).

Wine Intelligence chief executive Lulie Halstead believes the Retro trend may prove inspirational for an increasing number of wine marketers. “Returning to the past delivers comfort and safety,” she says. “We’re all familiar with looking back to look forward – it’s not a new trend, but it’s more enabled than it was before, partly due to social media, online media and the mobile media that we have. There is a comfort for human beings in going back to the past.”