My twin obsessions
I managed to avoid The Brands in Hong Kong. Whilst crowds of people hunted down The Brands in Harbour City (the humongous shopping centre in Tsim Sha Tsui), I rushed in for a totally different reason. Forget Gucci. Forget Louis Vuitton. I was after a certain shade of teal green/blue accented with textured black. A seductive all-plastic body with metal flashes. With ridiculously simple controls. I was after Diana. The Diana F+ to be precise. And when I encountered her in the City Super store – well, it was love at first sight.
Yes, dear reader, despite embracing the digital era with my beloved Nikon D40 camera, I was determined to lay my hands on this el-cheapo plastic camera. No Brand Name temptress was going to sidetrack me. No Jimmy Choo handbag was going to seduce me along the way to City Super. Not even the Hello Kitty! store could deflect me from my mission. And when I spotted her, I also had to have the limited edition gleaming white Edelweiss that was sitting next to her. So dear reader, I am now the proud owner of TWO plastic cameras! Just look at these beauties – a throwback to all-things plastic that was the hallmark of the 1960s.
And just look at her accessorized with the reflective silver flash – SO paparazzi. SO Jimmy Olsen!
The Diana is a faithful reproduction of the 1960s Diana camera produced by the Great Wall Plastics Factory, Kowloon, Hong Kong. A seriously dirt-cheap camera that pretty much failed to capture the attention of mainstream photographers. Often referred to as a “toy camera” (quell horror!), the Diana does everything a camera is not supposed to do: the lens (which appeared to go through no quality control) allows light to leak in; you get vignetting and edge blur; the shutter speed is totally unreliable. You never know what the photograph will end up looking like. But that is the appeal dear reader! You have to embrace unreliability and quirkiness because the Diana camera is temperamental – each camera has its own unique flaws and aberrations. No two Dianas or lenses are alike. Yet, this is what she is capable of showing you (photos are from dianacamera.com and huskudu.com):
The Diana uses 120 film (or if you get a 135m back, you can use 135 film). My dad used to load film for me when I was taking photos as a kid, so I’m having to learn how to load/unload film and then get it processed. I shot three rolls of film in one day with the Diana F+ (the teal and black beauty). No idea what I’m doing yet and no idea how the photos will turn out. But that’s the point of this style of photography (called lomography) – you shoot fast, from the hip or any angle, you don’t think, you don’t have to mess around with aperture priority or shutter speed. And what you end up with is a story, an interpretation, a casualness, a happy accident.
And this babe is so light. Sure beats lugging around my Nikon D40 with its NEW lens – yes, I did finally get a macro lens. And wouldn’t you know it…instead of going for a Sigma or Nikon macro lens, I decided to be different. I’m now the proud owner of a Fujiyama AF wide angle and macro lens. No idea what I’m doing with this lens either yet but over the next few weeks I hope to bring you some of my first Diana shots and photos with my new Fujiyama macro!