Somewhere along the way, my vintage Diana F developed a dastardly light leak in the upper left-hand side of the frame (lower-right image).
As opposed to a beneficial or relatively benign light leak, I’d say this one ruined several rolls of film from Hawaii, except ‘ruined’ is such an ugly word.
How about I just say it ‘challenged’ the composition of several of my shots?
When dealing with crappy cameras, you learn to expect the unexpected. Sometimes the magic gives you unicorns riding motorcycles; other times it gives you toads.
Mind you, they’re still magical toads, so with some effort you still might be able to finagle it into a Princess; but then again, sometimes all you end up with are warts.
The above image is my attempt at saving a princess from an eternity of toad-dom. It’s definitely not the image I had conceived when I shot it, but I think it works. The mirrored symmetry of the new composition balances out the unevenness of the original.
So the good news is that it only took me the better part of fifteen minutes today to diagnose the leak in the Diana F (around where the viewfinder & the flash contacts meet) & plug it with ‘fun-tack’ (you know, that ubiquitous sticky putty adhering beer posters to walls in dorm rooms all across our nation’s colleges & universities).
The bad news is I still have a whole bunch of amphibians waiting for their turn to be kissed.
So apparently I’m not above a little bit of open pandering for free film.
UPDATE 03.16.10: I didn’t win the free film. Oh well.
Who is my favorite photographer? I’m not necessarily sure I’ve ever truly pondered that question before.
Of course, my mind goes to such luminaries as Ansel Adams, Alfred Stieglitz, Andreas Feininger & Walker Evans, but have they visibly influenced my work, other than inspiring me to pick up a camera?
Then, what of my low-fidelity brethren, if I may aspire to call them as much? The toycamera.com community has consistently challenged me to become a better photographer through their wit, comradery, advice and jaw-dropping talent. Yet, dare I single out one particular photographer from the whole?
I guess, push come to shove, I’d have to say my favorite photographer is me. Not out of hubris or any sense of vanity, but rather out of necessity. I need to believe in myself as a photographer, not just as a man with a camera. My wife has already sacrificed so much to allow me to pursue my passions, I owe it to her, if not myself, to follow through with my dreams. It’s been a gradual process; a bit slower than either one of us originally imagined. The current economy hasn’t helped. But I’m getting there.
What would I do with the film?
I’d use it.
To capture images, to build a stronger portfolio, to find my own distinctive visual voice. One-hundred rolls of film roughly equals 1200 shots in a Holga or BHF; 1600 in a Diana; or 900 shots in a Kodak Jiffy. That’s a lot of man-hours of work, in shooting, processing, scanning and editing, so I don’t enter this contest lightly. It’s a hard-sworn promise to rededicate & immerse myself into my craft.
Why am I my favorite photographer?
Because I’m always eager to see what I’m going to do next.
Another image from my trip to O’ahu this past December. My wife & I were hurrying along, trying to get from the hotel to the House Without a Key for cocktails, after spending a little bit too long at the beach that day. We had just started our mile-long stroll when I startled my wife by suddenly running out into the middle of the street, just to capture the scene relatively unobstructed with my favorite blurry-cam.
Of course, my wife chided me for violating the “No running out into traffic while in Hawaii” rule, but I think the result was worth it.
Gallery: fBHF – O’ahu 2009
Ah… the signs of Spring’s imminent arrival keep popping up around me: Temperatures are rising and the snow is beginning to melt, robins are roosting and geese are returning from their southernly sojourn, and probably most tell-tale, I finally wore my Chucks outside for the first time this year; although on March 20th, the first official day of Spring, I may temporarily trade my Chucks in for a pair of hiking boots.
“If hiking is good for you, then hiking with a Holga is even better, right?”
No arguments here.
Holga Hike logo © HolgaMods; used with permission.
The article is a general survey of toy cameras for the uninitiated (generally sticking to the Lomography retail line-up) and includes several digital means to reproduce the toy camera and Polaroid aesthetics.
While the semanticist in me disagrees with the inclusion of the Lomo LC-A, which to me would be better classified as a low fidelity (lo-fi) camera, as it has more bells & whistles than a typical “toy” camera and what’s left of the analog purist in me partially disagrees with digital imitation on a core level, I do have to say I am flattered that the author saw fit to include my image as representative of what can be achieved with a Holga.
This specific image, in particular, I have always felt unsure about. According to Flickr, it’s one of my most popular images, except I could never ascertain if that was because it was a good photograph or if it had something to do with a prurient phenomena of bikinis on the internet.
Maybe it’s a little of both and maybe “prurient” is too strong of a word. The image has more going on than just the foreground subjects and an easy rule in photography:
Pretty girls often make for a pretty picture.
I’ve noticed a lot of search traffic hitting my site specifically looking for information on how to flip the lens of a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash (BHF). While there are probably multitudes of other resources on the interwebs, I figure I’ll just throw my two-cents out there.
For those who don’t know, the BHF is a black bakelite beauty with a top-down viewfinder, single element meniscus lens, shutter speed somewhere around 1/30 to 1/60 & a bulb setting, while it lacks a tripod mount, it has a nifty handle. In it’s heyday, the BHF was a very popular camera. Your grandparents most likely had one. Nowadays, you can find them cheaply at thrift stores, flea markets, garage sales, and eBay, or for a higher premium decorating shelves in antique stores & hipster boutiques.
I got mine for free on Craigslist thanks to a kind-hearted Samaritan who was donating several cameras to anyone who could justify receiving one. I simply wrote “I’ll use it.” It arrived in the mail a couple days later and I’ve been enthralled with it ever since.
Anywho, an unmodified BHF takes a relatively normal photograph, but something magical happens when you flip the lens. It’s like the soft focus of a vintage Diana multiplied to the Nth degree. The lens’ focal point shifts from infinity to about 3 feet in the center, while the edges just melt away into blurry goodness. The effect can be quite surreal.
Flipping the lens of a BHF is actually a simple procedure with a very low-risk of permanently #@$%-ing anything up and is easily reversible. That said, I assume no responsibility with these directions if you somehow manage to accidentally bork your favorite family heirloom.
Ready? Let’s get flipping.
I’m starting to process some of the multitudes of images I captured on O’ahu this past December. The above photograph was taken at a tourist pull-off on the Pali Highway, a scenic route that takes you over (and through) the mountains from Honolulu to Kailua on the windward coast.
By its nature, it’s a shot that probably untold millions of tourists had taken before me and a shot that millions of untold tourists will continue to take in the future; in my imagination however, I’d like to think I was the first to use a vintage Diana F with Kodak Ektar 100 to make a multiple-exposure panoramic.
I’ll continue to process these images for now, as my wife is itching to scrapbook/album our entire vacation and wants to see what I have to contribute. So, I’ll post anything of interest here and then bulk load the rest up to flickr.
In blog news:
- – I’m learning enough CSS to finally tweak most of the little things that I disliked about the blog layout. I’m still not 100% satisfied, as I still don’t truly understand why certain aspects refuse to change, despite my better efforts; but I’ll continue to work on it.
- – If anyone out there is knowledgeable in WordPress, how do I get to fool around with the ‘dynamic_sidebar’? I want to have widget-specific CSS, but the sidebar doesn’t separate label widgets independently. Am I even making any sense?
I’ve been feeling inspirationally frustrated. I’m overwhelmed the sheer backlog of work just waiting to be processed, but at the same time I feel emotionally stymied that I haven’t shot anything new since the beginning of December.
I lack coherence. I’m no longer sure if I’m progressing or regressing.
I need anti-newton glass, an air filter, and a computer more capable than a netbook. I need more Diafine & film. I need to stop finding excuses & start finding answers. I need to break out of this rut.
I need to figure out just what it is I’m actually try to say.
For the past year or so, I’ve had the privilege to be part of a project within the Toycamera.com community to create a new book that explores toy camera photographers & the lo-fi images they create.
The brainchild of Andrew, of Green St Photography fame, he gathered a crack-team of toy camera enthusiasts as interviewers, editors, and designers to help put this project together. We’ve held several calls for entries in different themes, received hundreds of mind-blowing images from photographers across the globe and despite our best efforts, the book is actually beginning to take form and is slated for a release later in 2010.
So why am I writing about it now?
Because, my dear friends, there is still time to contribute to a tome that will come to define an entire generation of low fidelity photographers.
Hyperbole aside, if you have a crappy camera with a plastic lens that you’re passionate about making images with, send us your pics. We’d love to consider them. Really.
The current calls are for the themes of “Travel” & “Flora/Fauna,” but we may be adding more shortly.
Show us what you got and you just might get published.
Last year, I received a Polaroid PoGo printer for Christmas and with it came daydreams of creating a photo-a-day journal in a series of Moleskine Cahier notebooks….
I never made it out of January.
My beloved new gadget wasn’t what I hoped it would be… instead of being a source of inspiration, it became a major frustration. So, soon it sat on a shelf gathering dust.
The PoGo is designed to be a mobile printer: a small, battery powered, pocket-size device that could print small 2×3 low fidelity pictures on the go. A pseudo-replacement for the middle ground between film & digital photography lost after Polaroid bewilderingly discontinued its namesake instant films.
You would no longer need a bulky Polaroid camera with expensive film to have that instant gratification of physically holding a photograph you just captured… any digital camera would do, even your always-on-you cell phone (as long as your device had bluetooth or was PictBridge enabled and had a USB cable with you).
Sounded good enough to me.
As you may or may not have noticed the redesign of www.expiredfilm.com has finally gone live.
I’ll still be tweaking it here and there, but for the most part I think I finally have a design I’m relatively happy with.
Now, this blog, on the other hand, still needs some work. I’m still trying to sort out how best incorporate some of the design elements of the main site into WordPress.
But I’ll do my best to be diligent about updating more than twice a year.
Just an FYI, currently certain features are going to be on the fritz as I migrate the wordpress blog component to its new address at http://blog.expiredfilm.com and retool the main site to better fit my vision.
The bad news is that I’ll be figuring out how to do things as I go along, so stuff may stay wonky for awhile.
The good news is that I’ll most likely be better about updating as I make progress.
The updating here at expiredfilm.com has been a little lax of late, as I have been thinking of doing some sort of a major overhaul of the site design. I want to move away from WordPress being the index and content manager of the site. I’ll keep WP around as a component of the site, but I think I want something more immeadiate for you the viewer.
Instead of just seeing whatever I happened to have posted last, I want you to see some of my best images right away; not have to notice the Gallery link on the right and have to navagate there, then wait for the page to load, then have to click on a thumbnail, then wait for the image to load, etc, etc etc….
I want “Here, this is what I’m about!!!” as soon as the browser resolves www.expiredfilm.com. I don’t want to be just another generic flash slideshow either, but I want to do more than I have now.
So with all these wants, the question now is “how?”
Flipped lens Brownie Hawkeye Flash on redscaled expired 35mm Kodak Gold 400.
Shot for World Toy Camera Day, October 18, 2008.