This year was meant to be all about light but I've been distracted by something a little more...er...retro. I'd heard of lomo and seen the photographs that it produces, but little did I realise how kitsch, sexy, and remarkably plastic fantastic the cameras actually were. I wish I could say it was the creative challenge of film that led me and my credit card to ebay today, but no, I am shallow - it was the great big retro flash on the Diana F+ model that made me cross that fine line between desire and require.
So meandering its way down the M5 to me this week is Lomography's faithful reproduction of their early ‘60s cult legend camera 'Diana' famous for its dreamy, radiant, lo-fi images. The remake has lots of cool new features including ability to take pinhole photos, a plug-it-in-and-fire-away immensely retro flash with colour gel filters (with horse shoe attachment so it can fit to my canon), multiple exposures, half-exposed frames, and a bulb setting. It can even be converted to take 35mm filmvia the use of lollipop sticks, a razor blade, and you you guessed it sticky tape.
But I couldn't stop there....not when I saw the Lomo Fisheye Camera. Fisheye. What more can I say...fishyeye rocks and this gorgeous piece of plastic is a hell of a lot cheaper than a £500 lens for my Canon EOS.
This is going to be a very interesting experiment for me. I am very impatient perfectionist. I will spend a good while thinking up an idea for a photograph, put aside a decent few hours to shoot it and be arty in photoshop. That is one of the reasons I use a digital camera. Composed, shot, in photoshop, and up on the web in the bat of an eyelid. I have complete control and can happily afford to make mistakes because I can see what I'm doing, if it's not right, delete and start again, it doesn't matter if it takes 100 shots to get the perfect photo - it is just adjustable storage space. With these guys I will have no idea if a photograph has worked until I get them back from the printers. Film is going to take some getting used to. Especially the 120 film for Diana....that has to be sent away somewhere special to be developed (Mr Fisheye takes standard 35mm requiring a much more acceptable potter down to Snappy Snaps 1hr service). Also, difficult to accept will be that the camera will have more of a creative input than me, with these guys I will not be spending many happy hours creating the lomo effect in photoshop, the camera will do it for me, it is lomography. But I am excited by this challenge. A new style of artistic experimental photography to play with. The approach: to take as many Lomographs as possible in the most impossible of situations possible and from the most unusual positions possible, and then have them developed as cheaply as possible. Colourful, crazy, off-the-wall, unfamiliar and hopefully brilliant snapshots.
Diana F+ by Lomography
Lomo Fisheye No.2 by Bàrbara Ferrà on Flickr