Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Homeage to Cameras

My favourite thing about working at a stationary shop over the Christmas break is being able to chat with customers about cameras and photography. I had some conversations and dealings with a girl who owned a Diana F+, a guy who used old school SLRs to photograph people riding bikes and another who used a Polaroid 600 camera in the shape of a whale. I take great pride in being able to reel off information about cameras and such when no one else can and I think that if I am lucky enough to become a permanent casual than it may be my knowledge of all things photo that gets me over the line, as well as my height and ability to reach things on most of the top shelves.

I love the rough, sketched pictures of Canon SLRs people roll off with funky geometric prints over the leather casing. I admire the rough lines and imperfection of the body but I could never bring myself to draw in this style. I'm too much of a perfection and worry about the minor details rather than accepting something as good quality in the broader scheme of things. It's on of my quirks, but at times it can be a hindrance. There's seems to be a quite a lot of good rough drawings of Canon cameras, as opposed to Nikon. Or maybe that's just my bias in the types of images I collect on my hard drive. I remember my dad bringing his heavy Canon A1 to family functions and it's weight dragging me down like a brick. It's one of my fondest memories of exposure to film photography.

It's photographs like this that almost (not quite_ motivate me towards cleaning my room and making it livable. The clean white walls bathed in an orange, yellow light as well as the shelf holding shot glasses and a vinyl edition of The Smiths. Hung above to the left is a Diana+ camera, the Dreamer and a floral wreath. Of all of which is perfectly composed but instead of the shot glasses I would replace them with either candles or empty collectable vodka bottles. Like the one in the shape of a skull I had my eye on.

The red bathed lighting of the photograph teamed up with the soft-lifted hair in the wind and the light-hearted nature of the photograph really speak to me. Specifically the red lighting and the hair makes me think of my singing idol Florence Welch and the dramatic and theatrics stage-presence she brings to her live shows. This is what photography is to me- going on wild adventures with a clunky metal body camera supported on a wildly stitched neck strap. I wonder if a coloured filter was used over the lens or the flash of the camera for this effect...

I'm a proud owner of not one, but two pink Polaroid 600 cameras such as the one drawn above. The first I acquired was a Polaroid Barbie edition, pretty much as new and the second is the most similar to the drawing a Esprit Polaroid camera but the top is cracked and held together a little stodgily with tape. I still love both of them though and their clunky feel against my body when I'm playing around with them in my room. The third Polaroid camera in my collection is a Super Color edition in bright yellow. It reminds me of a cheery banana. I had planned to use it when dressed up as Simba the lion for my year 12 end of year costume day- but was too busy preparing for the concert at which I performed.

From left to right: Diana F+ Glow edition, a classic Diana F_ in black and blue as well as an Edelweiss Diana+ camera. I'd love to know what other blurred and out-of-focus goodies are hiding behind these three formidable cameras; perhaps a treasure trove of camera film or various lenses for the Diana cameras. I have all the add-ons for the medium format camera including the Telephoto Lens, Fisheye distortion lens, super-wide lens, splitzer attachment as well as the 35mm back and Polaroid mini back. Lomography make a lot of money from people like me, completely plastic camera obsessed.

I love the imagination but also the minimalist approach to this photograph- taken behind the lens of another camera the Diana Mini, a 35mm camera that's pocket-sized and pretty slick. The contrast of the two blues, plastic and sky seem to fit so well with the soft focus background and the winding wheel of the camera. I have one of these myself but it's not often I get the desired results when I develop my film at a cheap big-name store. If I had any sense- I'd do it at a proper photography store and make the money worth-while.

The bright and stark flash of the other camera makes it hard to make out but that guy is indeed holding a Polaroid 600 Barbie edition! I am the proud owner of one of these, although I have not yet tested it out or bent mayhem on the town. What I love about the camera is the green foldable top in contrast to the pink and purple body as well as the flower stickers across the face of the camera. Girly- but also manically put together and a Frankenstein camera put together in plastic.

A modified Diana F+ camera body

The lighting of this particular photo as well as the floral background and deer figurines reminds me a lot of the Frankie Magazine photo album which has a lot of similarly styled photographs and vintage mood to it. I believe the correct term would be the Hipster movement, but I guess I try to avoid that word since I am a bit of a reluctant closet hipster myself. I embody their ideals but mock them conversationally with my friends. It's a weird sort of scene, especially since I own so many plastic cameras and listen to the same sort of music.

I also own a Holga 120, a beautiful beastie to look at but I think I prefer a lot of the effects achieved through the plastic lens of it's toy-camera counter part the Diana. The combination of bright red and white body against this lemon yellow coloured pleated dress is so cute though. The holder looks as though she's part of a wedding, a guest baring plastic camera just willing to interpret the happy festivities in its own unique way. That's the niche of the toy camera market and plastic cameras; their ability to turn the ordinary events into the extraordinary and create non-imitateable photographs.

It makes me want to dye all of my hair blue as well! Dressed all in black and posing with the Diana camera- the stuff dreams are made of this girl bears a doe-eyed face as well as a smoked cigarette. Punk has never looked so artistic or so intriguing. The soft-focus lens used to capture the moment was perfectly suited to the content of the photograph and only adds further mystery to the identity of the blue haired girl and her camera.

1 comment:

  1. i came across your blog after googling 'bambis'- that fantastic image of the deer and camera (love it!) - whilst researching bambi figurines for my own blog. what a great way to find your blog...love it! edwina