Just as I had finally put aside my fascination with this Russian issued Fed 5B camera reanimated by the brand 'Red Army Camera' my curiosity got the better of me and I was searching around for more variations of the leather skin cover contributed by various artists. There's something very shallow about the way I choose cameras, they either have to look pretty or appear expensive. I'm afraid the Fed 5B camera fits among the 'pretty' category with fascinating leather skins. There are some lovely sample photographs on Flickr and other online photograph sharing mediums. It has the vintage sort of blurring as well as curious colour interpretation that I cherish in a camera but at $260, costing more than a second hand Lomo LCA+ which I have barely used I know I should restrain myself from pursuing another camera to add to my collection.
The two new limited edition released of the camera by Red Army Camera feature brightly coloured cartoon characters using red and a secondary colour. It's not uncommon for this to occur, in fact many of the more intricate skins for the Fed 5B camera have been contributed to by artists such as this red and yellow creation by Jon Burgerman.
Jon Burgerman is one of the prominent key artists who traverse the disciplines of urban art, design, illustration and entrepreneurism. His award winning artwork can be seen globally from gallery and bedroom walls to cinema and iPhone screens. His art is instantly recognisable, combining fluid and lyrical lines, with distorted character forms and radiant pop colour schemes. A sense of British self-deprecation, dry humour and modern-day anxiety imbues his work along with an enthusiasm for salad.
The last limited edition for the year that was, 2011, is the gorgeous red and white vinyl skin made by artist Julie West. This is the camera I'm tossing up whether to get, if I do end up buying it I will first have to sell quite a few old books and clothes on eBay to make room for and also to create a little extra cash before university kicks in to my life like a bad, drunken bandit conducting a home raid. For some reason I was very drawn to the 'Smile' speech bubble next to the lens and had the ridiculous and misguided notion that by pointing to it I could amuse my subjects. The panorama on the back is very sweet and girly and the combination of various shades of red with white reminds me of Christmas.
American born and UK-based artist Julie West creates sweet and otherworldly female characters that have been accurately described as a cross between a robot and a Russian doll. Birds and bees also turn up constantly in her work (literally, rather than in the naughty sense), though we do wonder if she’s trying to tell us something… Julie has also produced her characters Bumble and Tweet as vinyl toys for STRANGEco (complete with magnetized birds and bees), made embroidery patterns for Sublime Stitching and her work has appeared on Flow snowboards, Jansport bags and in Wired and Complex magazines.