Monday, December 26, 2011

Cameras galore

A gift that never seems to go astray with me is a shiny new plastic camera- mind you I have quite a few of the models pictured in a whole assortment and spectrum of colour and designs. Specifically for the Diana F+ camera I have Mr. Pink, the original black and blue Diana F+, the London 2009 edition which came in black and gold, the Diana+ Dreamer as well as all possible lenses, that is Telephoto lens, Fisheye, Wide, Superwide, Close Up and Splitzer. Spanning across all film borders there is nothing this all plastic camera super star can't do including use 120 medium format film, 35mm and even Polaroid mini film from Fujifilm.

As well as creating all the lenses, different camera bodies in different colours, the revival of the original 1960s plastic camera the Diana by Lomography has been aided with monopolising the market and making photograph cool again. With most new, boxed Diana F+ cameras you will receive a small and thin vinyl neck strap, there are gel filters for your own plug-in flash and a book to read as well. I've read both of the books printed by the company from front to cover and enjoyed every artful word of it all; Lomography try to establish a sense of community in their film photography with the aid of the Internet which seems odd but there's really no other way to do it. I think part of the cameras wide success across the globe can be attributed to the great family atmosphere they try to create by offering online support and create a community of camera lovers.

I first saw the camera as part of Violent Green's online store when searching for Stolen Girlfriends Club rings, and it did tickle my fancy and it wasn't until 2010 that I bought a camera for myself- that camera was the London Conference 2009 edition which came in gold and hadn't been touched. The neck strap was still tidily tied together in paper tissue but alas, there was no book. I had heard enough about the camera to be fascinated and be able to bank on buying it with confidence.

Although my love affair with the camera has spanned over two years I have still yet to develop my first rolls of film with it, 24 exposures costing nearly $30 at my local shop means that for four rolls of medium format film as well as three rolls of 36 exposure 35mm film, I have to really throw myself into the deep end to see any results and get it all done. What's worse is there is still bits and bobs left in other cameras I still need to finish as well, only adding to my money woes with cameras.

I'm not the only Diana camera mad collector out there- this First Aid kit cabinet hosts the Diana+ camera London 2009 edition in gold on the top shelf as well as Meg White of the White Stripes collaboration with Lomography. There are a few famous Lomography camera made celebrities in the world, including Jack and Meg white of the White Stripes- although I should warn you, Andy Warhol hated the camera. The bottom shelf hosts the Diana+ on the left and the original Diana camera herself. The reason behind the different colours and variations on the same camera is inspired by the original Diana camera in the 1960s and the different names for the same sort of camera. I won't bore you with all the minute details but copies and replicas were made in all sorts of names and Lomography have recreated that too with the camera's revival.

This bright yellow Diana F+ named 'Glow' really does glow in the dark and features a sweet star print on the top, white half of the camera near the winding wheel and viewfinder. It has eluded my collection only once and I don't believe I'll let it happen again... Fortunately for someone as young as myself who does not yet own a credit card, the Lomography Society accept payments via Paypal and Bank deposit. That is of course very dangerous and bad news for my poor hip pocket but maybe when I have time to sort through all my cameras properly and throw a few back on eBay I'll be able to get some of the more fun editions, such as 2011's Valentine's Day special and the geometric La Sardina cameras.

Don't get me wrong, plastic cameras especially the Diana F+ rev my engine but I do love classic SLR cameras too as well as those lucky enough to be serviced and have new leather such as this sweet pink Yashica camera. I don't think I own anything by this brand of camera myself, I prefer the Minolta more than anything even over my father's old Canon A1 but that's more due to weight and how the camera feels on my body than picture quality.

Instead of displaying my photographs on a wall, I prefer to keep them stored neatly and ordered in small photo albums. I do like the idea and notion of decorating with photographs taken by yourself but to let their quality deteriorate due to the sun is an insult! Only if I had reissued some prints would I consider decorating with photographs but I am quite happy with my collection of magazine copies from other nation's Vogues as well as Russh magazine for the time being- thank you very much.

Debutatne, Future Scientist and Banner. There's a whole alphabet of the 1960s cameras you can read about in the Diana+ issue book named 'True Tales and Short Stories' as well as the DianaF+ issued book named 'More True Tales and Short Stories'. As far as the recount of the Diana camera's glorious origins is concerned, each edition is the same.

Another camera that has a dark and checkered past but has been reanimated with electricity a la Victor Frankenstein (just kidding) is the all plastic camera the Holga. The only electricity existing for this baby is the in built flash unit in some Holgas; I own a 35mm Holga as well as the 120 medium format camera. The wild colours of the Holga are why I choose it but the was  very lovely cherry red edition available a while ago... I missed out on it.

I love teaming my Diana Dreamer with a contrasting black flash- the mint sea green body is very hard to describe in words and at times photographs fail to do it justice. I felt so excited when I was able to hold my own Diana Dreamer in my hands- its seldom sold on Urban Outfitters online and is one of the more elusive and hard to come by Diana cameras from the clothing brand. Other Urban Outfitters exclusive cameras include the black and white striped Parisian camera as well as the peachy Daybreak camera. If you like, the Daybreak is kind of the polar opposite to the Dreamer but both come in a wonderful pastel tone.

For those brought up in the digital age and not used to being able to see what photograph you're about to take, an all camera all-star such as the Diana camera or Holga can be a bit of an issue... particularly if you forget to either 1. load the camera with film before you go out shooting all day (which I am unfortunately guilty of) or 2. removing the lens cap before you take photographs. I always do a quick check for it when I'm lining up for a shot but also using an SLR camera such as my trusty Minolta lets be see what it is I am shooting but the picture quality and grain is totally independent of what I see through the view finder.

I could have been the proud owner of a red Holga camera such as this! While there are various Holgas available on eBay from Hong Kong, I prefer to buy within Australia due to the lower cost for postage and less hassles as far as waiting around for my package. The cute Totoro plush adds to it as well and while all the Holga cameras feature the red and black striped neck strap- the combination of strap and camera body looks particularly good.

The Diana F+ Qing Hua is another rare edition of the camera and is no longer available online for Australian buyers, cue sobbing. It was probably the Diana clone which captured my eye and my imagination, what with it's imitation porcelain print and the combination of that shade of dark blue and white as well as floral motif. It's one of the Diana cameras with a body that I would consider to be a little piece of art itself. Some of the patterns on cameras such as these can be quite intricate sometimes, the 2011 Valentine's day special is also something of an oddity itself with the painting like body and pattern.

I live for shops like this- would you check out the neon signs of the Diana F+ camera and the second edition of the fisheye? The boxes of Diana clones in the windows showcases how bright and colourful the cameras can be- no longer are you confined to the traditional black camera for those of us who are kooky and quirky we can have a camera to suit our personality. When venturing out I sometimes bring Mr Pink along for the ride, but that's usually just to wind-up my boyfriend a lot of the time.

This is the sort of lifestyle I dream of enjoying, travelling around with a cool backpack that looks like it's made from a wild carpet with a Diana camera in tow to capture what I can see. When living in Malaysia and Jakarta my father used his camera as a way of preserving his thoughts and feelings at the time and I do think that there's something significant about the whole shutter bug process and being able to keep things as they were on a certain day or moment in time.

I loved this photograph so much I drew a picture of it in grey lead, although that did mean I was unable to capture the matching blouse and blue plastic of this small and compact 35mm camera I must say it has the soft focus and wild colour of its 120 format big sister. I have one myself in black but I regret to say that I have not been impressed with the results although I do think that is the fault of the person who processed my film and the odd little ends I would get. You don't have to be a photography prodigy to know that when you process film, one photograph shouldn't be on the edge of another and take half the size of a 6 X 4 print in the middle. There was something not right about my results, aesthetically they weren't pleasing at all.

Maybe with my leftover Christmas money or if I decide against processing my waiting rolls of film I'll get my Polaroid mini film and finally test out the capabilities of the Diana F+ camera and Polaroid adapter. I have a camera fitted and waiting to go, I just need to get my film ready. A perceptive photographer suggested that using the Polaroid back to print an instant photograph was a good indication as to the conditions and would switch cameras and use the 120 back of the camera after a test photograph. I thought this was quite clever- especially when I thought about trying out the Telephoto and Close up Diana lenses since there is no real view finder to get an idea of how close or how far away it may extend the vision of the camera.

These range of Pentax digital SLRs come with plastic fixtures to make it look like a fun plastic camera on the outside but with the raging mechanical heart and soul of a digital camera. My favourite is the green and pink camera on the far end of the row- it reminds me a bit of a watermelon. I don't think I'd ever want to get a camera like this though, at the moment I'm aspiring towards a Canon 500D.

Starring in this photograph is a Polaroid Esprit Super Colour edition- something I won but no where near in the pristine condition as this lovely camera. The combination of the crawling ivy and the wild aqua blue of the camera just seems so right- depending on your lighting this camera can have a greenish tinge to it but the crackling plaster of the wall and leafy green plant makes it seem blue. It's just a really nice composition of a photograph to show how beautiful a camera can be and the vision it can inspire. Sorry about the rude word in scrabble letters though.

I have read Catcher and the Rye words and all but I have to say I think Holden Caulfield is a jerk and when I don't like a character and he's just stumbling through life with no sense of direction it really ticks me off! So the only thing I like about this photograph is the camera and not the novel; although my appraisal shouldn't deter anyone who wants to read the book that is considered to be a classic. I just don't agree with Holden Caulfield's impulsive behaviour.

I may not own this Diana clone but for a while I did contemplate it, it's the CMYK editions which stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key. The CMYK colour model are the primary colours of the light spectrum and when combined together form white light. I have a similar coloured Holga camera and it's my only Holga camera in 120 medium format; from what I've seen of the Holga photograph book compared against the Diana I would say the soft focus effects of the Diana and wild colours are even more wild than it's Western counter part. Though the two cameras and they photographs they produce can be very difficult to distinguish between.

A similar model to my father's original SLR camera is this Canon AE-1 bathed in light leaking goodness which saturates the photograph in a red/orange tinge. It only makes the white and engraved word 'Canon' seem even more bright and contrasting against the all black body. Just a friendly disclaimer, the camera is as heavy as a brick and when going for a light jog to catch a train or bus it packs a wallop against your chest; enough to wind your poor grandmother! Canon as well as Nikon have been leaders in technology for cameras and I'm sure for years to come that fine tradition will continue for years to come.

It's rare to see three Lomography camera uses all lined up- at least they all look to be fitted with Diana accessories such as the flash and fisheye adaption lens. I wish I had attended a school in America and there was a club of photographers that all used Diana cameras... that would be so cool. Maybe university will be the second coming of my hobby and I'll be able to meet like minded people within my faculty to take camera speak with me. I do already enjoy a little chit chat with people who want to know or have used cameras in retail but my contract ends in a manner of days so my short-lived stint is in it's Autumn.

I felt like a small child at Christmas time all over again when I bought this second hand kit of Diana accessories- there's its own cable release, four format masks for 35mm film, two view finder adapters, five additional lenses as well as hot shoe adapter and a Splitzer effects lens. It has every accessory available for the Diana F+ camera, minus the Polaroid adapter but I really did feel giddy with excitement as I got to unwrap every lens wrapped in bubble wrap and play with everything in the set. The shutter release for self-portraits was the main thing I was clamoring after as well as the fisheye view finder and also the light sensitive view finder.

This Diana+ clone featured a red plastic top, as did it's predecessor the Candid Camera. I love the hand-made red leather holder consuming the black camera body in red entirely. Made in its very early days of  creating Lomography clone cameras this little red delight is so limited, MoMA stands for Museum of Modern Art and is unfortunately no longer available for purchase on their website. Never to appear on eBay and even difficult to find a picture of online I would love to know someone who owns and uses the Diana+ MoMA edition. If you'd like to know more about rare Diana clones such as this one, haul your cute little butt on over to the Allan Detrich collection website.

There's nothing like relaxing and unwinding with a good book- I highly recommend reading the Diana F+ book issued with each boxed camera. The blue dust cover is called 'More True Tales and Short Stories' and while the interviews and history of the Diana camera remain the same, there are ten different stories and matching photographs than it's grey dust cover predecessor. I should make the most of my cable release and shutter on my Diana F+ camera and take a self portrait of myself hiding behind a book in a similar fashion to this girl here.

Disposable cameras are suitable for those of us who enjoy a cheap thrill every now and again- the last times I used them were in America in San Francisco, while I also had a digital semi-professional camera around my neck. Needless to say I had confused just about everyone by reverting back towards what are considered to be primitive cameras but I do favour the soul of a film camera and the art form of film grain. While digital photography has made it easy to use and accessible to the masses it has cost photograph its soul and cheapened it I find.

There's no denying that I am camera and photograph obsessed, I adore photographs of cameras as well as drawings especially angular looking beasts full of geometric patterns such as this anonymous rendition of a Canon camera. Each camera is unique and has a soul of its own, it's a friend to you with vision of its own and it will see and remember things differently to you. That's good though, I love the input and the changing colours a film camera can provide.

Photography books are another great love affair of mine, last year Santa brought me the complete encyclopedia of photography by Kodak and this year my father bought me a year's subscription to the Photography Australia magazine which I feel pretty chuffed about. I've been sticking lazy these last few weeks though and keep sleeping in and not reading any literature at all. In one way you could say that I am having a true holiday but I still feel guilty and terribly unproductive when I wake up.

This is one of the first cameras I got into my collection, a Polaroid Mini Portrait camera which weighs a tonne. The cool thing about it is that you can take a photograph at a time and have four different photographs at once on Polaroid film in a pop art Andy Warhol type of fashion with all the vintage goodness and reminiscence of a Polaroid camera. I have three Polaroid 600 cameras, one is Esprit Super colour in pink, another is yellow and the third is the Barbie edition. For an eighteen year old I really do have some weird hobbies.

Last and final cameras I'm lusting after are the White Stripes edition cameras; the Holga is named Jack and the Diana camera is named Meg. Both feature the peppermint candy motif on the winding wheel and a red and white body. While it's not as rare as the MoMA Diana it's still a great collector's piece and when bought as new comes with a truck load full of Lomography goodies. Both members of the white Stripes dabble in Lomography cameras although I am not too sure whether their preferences are reflected in their collaboration cameras.

1 comment:

  1. wow i love your blog! I wanna link this to my blog xx