For some reason throughout my collecting of film cameras, I have been constantly intrigued by ridiculously lo-fi plastic cameras. These cameras range in form from the freebies that were given with magazine subscriptions and bank accounts to the purpose made Holga and Diana plastic beauties. The nice thing about the supremely crappy ones is that one can pick them up for a dollar or two at local thrift stores. I will run through my favorites of these plastic gems in somewhat chronological order as I obtained them.
The Time Magazine 35mm film camera. I picked this one up in the local Animal Aid thrift store. I believe it was 2 or 3 dollars. It was a cruddy and dirty mess, but I had seen some nice results so figured it would be worth cleaning up. Heck, it even had a hot shoe! It features the 50mm Kinetic Optical lens…sounds great, huh? Settings include the “Diana-ish” sunny, partly sunny, partly cloudy, and cloudy for aperture and one guy, multiple guys, or landscape for focus. I have enjoyed using this camera and have had fun with a flash on it.
I believe the second camera of this genre I picked up was the Ansco Pix Panorama. I had a very similar camera in the early 90s and really liked it, but I think I broke the rewind lever on it…go figure on an all plastic camera 😉 This one is panorama except you can remove the “mask” that goes over the film frame, which I did. I used it for a while this way and just guessed through the viewfinder until I hacked it up to resemble the full 35mm frame view. This is an uber basic camera with only a lens cover, shutter button, film winder, and film rewind. I truly love the simplicity in shooting this offers…no doo-dads to fiddle with…just pure composition to think about. I now have two of these, one with the mask removed and one intact…although I have yet to really use the intact one for panorama style images…think I prefer to just shoot “wide angle.” And on that topic…I did try a Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim and actually preferred this model…it’s not quite as wide, but also does not feel as though I am going to crush it in the pressure of my hands 😉
The third camera I will mention is my latest addition, the “no name” blue and black “Sports” model 35-55 zoom 35mm camera! Just got this for $2 at a new Goodwill store I just found. Haven’t run film in it yet, but will soon. Its controls include a manual zoom ring on the lens that even zooms in the viewfinder…how high tech!
If you are dabbling in film at all, I highly recommend this type of camera. It’s great when you are feeling overwhelmed with f-stops and shutter speeds and all of the other decisions to make when shooting. It brings photography to its purest form of light/shadow and composition. And as I like to say, it’s not the camera that takes the photo, it’s the artist behind it!
Here I introduce you to one of my favorite rangefinders in my collection. This camera never ceases to amaze me with images it produces with little to no effort on my part 😉
I had started this project about a year ago and never really completed it as I would have liked. I finally decided to quit sitting on the idea and pursue it. The concept is to have an image of an old camera printed on the front of a t-shirt with it appearing to be a real camera worn by the person. The camera straps could actually be extended up to look as though it is hanging on the front of them.
I started by shooting my beloved Pentax MX slr, Yashica Electro 35 GSN rangefinder, and Canon Canonet QL17 GIII rangefinder. I got them posted on my website that night. I decided the next day to do some more, so I shot my vintage Diana plastic camera, Kodak Brownie Chiquita, and WWII era Rolleiflex twin lens reflex (tlr).
I’ve got them on my website through RedBubble and I think they came out great. Had to tweak the sizes a bit to give them a realistic look. Thinking of ordering the Pentax one for myself because it’s my favorite camera and it’ll be cool to wear it even when I’m not 😉
I was lucky enough to be loaned a great vintage Harmony guitar by friend and musician Bobby DeVito recently. I had mentioned to him that I wanted to “borrow” great guitars from some of our musician friends to do some film based art photography on them. He was happy to oblige.
The guitar is an acoustic with an arch top and beautiful f-holes. It belonged to his grandfather “Slim” Henderson who was a country artist in the 1940s. Apparently he played for the Grand Ole Opry and once cursed in a song on live radio and therefore blackballed in the industry. I guess things were different back then, especially in the country music genre 😉
I set up the studio (aka: second bedroom) with a black backdrop and frame given to us by a friend. I also set up two studio lights, loaded up the Pentax MX and shot away.
I was happy with what I got…some detail shots and some full body shots. I am just amazed at the artistic elegance of musical instruments like this…and shooting the details makes me see so much more!
Have a busy weekend coming up. Tonight from 6-9pm I will be at East Village Uncorked in Pompano Beach, FL. This is a fun and free event with wine tastings, food vendors, and a chance to get acquainted with numerous local vendors in the East Village Shops. Of course, you can also peruse the local vendors wares such as myself 😉
I will have a table there selling my photography and have printed up many new images for the occasion. I have added many new images to my transportation (cars, specifically), music and “Japanese Inspiration” sections.
On Sunday, June 5, I will be attending a benefit. It is to fund a new music program under the Dan Marino Foundation named in the honor of local music supporter Jimmy Pagano who sadly lost his life a few weeks ago. It is the Jimmy Pagano Memorial Tribute & Benefit and I am donating a framed “Row of Resonators” to the raffle for the fund. So, come on by and know that you are contributing to a great cause!
I had mentioned this wonderful city in a previous post here. Well, once again, in my “better late than never” fashion, I have found yet more images that I have deemed worthy of publication on my website. I had uploaded them to my facebook page album here and am getting them posted on my website now.
Several of these images are quintessential New Orleans to me.
This was shot on one of the days we were walking around the French Quarter. I thought being a balcony with beads on it made it a perfect New Orleans vignette.
We stayed out in the Garden District so we walked around there a good bit also. This is one of many incredible doorways we saw in the area.
Of course we had to try a Muffaletta from the Central Grocery in the French Market section of the Quarter, so we had a nice walk in that area. I thought this had a nice juxtaposition of the American flag and the Natchez life saver.
It just serves as a reminder that I need to get back there…I truly do miss this wonderful city.
This is the second in my series introducing my collection of film cameras. This one features the lovely and talented original Diana plastic camera from the 1960s.