Sunday, May 30, 2010

drastic plastic

Having been intrigued by the claims that one of these 'toy cameras', made of cheap plastic and dodgy optics, could take photos that had buckets of built-in charm, I decided to see if they would work for me too....

When it comes to these plastic bodied toy cameras, the usual suspects are Diana, Lomo and Holga. Other makes/brands are out there, both new and second-hand, but the big three are purposefully made to be dodgy. Think bad vignetting, overblown colours and 'your guess is as good as mine' focusing. The Diana takes 120 film, which is still popular, and easy to get developed.

When you're using film, you don't just snap away like with digital. Each load just has between 12 and 16 shots, so you make sure what you aim at is worth it. You also can't see how the image turned out. So each film is a big experiment. Did you guess the light right? Did you keep it still, or will there be blur? Did you wind it on enough, or will pics overlap?

Of course, if you get something 'wrong', it may turn out all for the best! The whole ethos of these cameras is serendipity. What ever will be will be. Street level art with a click.

When I got back the developed film, I thought there was one good image from it. It had balance, some expected bad lighting, and not true to life colours, it looked like a natural toy cam pic, a pleasing blend of not-quite-right.

Then I had another peruse through the failures. And came across 5 more winners :)
These had overblown colours, and some overlapping of photos, along with the darkened corners from bad vignetting. Very cool....

Here are some small samples. The full sized images, suitable for printing/framing will be going up on my red bubble site for public sale.

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Keep it nice :) or get kicked out :(