Many of the photographs on these pages were taken with the Diana 151 Camera, a cheap plastic camera from the 1960’s, that was originally sold in toy stores. I got my first one when I was seven years old through the Bazooka Joe Bubblegum Comics. I shot some film, still have a couple of the original prints, and eventually forgot about it till many years later while attending Art School. The Diana with all its wonderful flaws – soft focus, vignetting, light leaks, and a total disregard of all the technical qualities of “good” photography, seemed like a natural tool for someone with a punk D.I.Y. attitude.
People either seem to love or hate the Diana Camera, and many can not understand why you would use a toy to do serious work. Using a Diana makes you work in a totally different way; formal concerns aren’t as important, and you begin to rely on intuition more and more. Eventually the Diana, although often times forgotten for years, became my main image making tool, and has been for almost thirty years.
I started to use the Diana camera in the mid Eighties, back when you could still find them in thrift stores for just a couple of bucks, and picked up quite a few. This was long before ebay, with it’s over-priced, vintage cameras of dubious quality, and the Lomo revival, with it’s over-priced, retro cameras of equally, dubious quality (admittedly, I never used or owned a new one). Never a big fan of the Holga either, but that was a decent alternative photo tool, which also included pinholes, Kodak Brownies (until they stopped making that 127 size film), old stereo cameras from the 1950’s, painting, drawing, not to mention cheap video and bad music.
So now we have the iPhone, with the Hipstamatic app, and it’s all so easy to make funky images. I find it interesting, but the digital imagery makes me want to dust off, tape up the old Diana 151’s, and get my hands wet in the darkroom again.
Links to my other sites:
HuskuDu Toy Camera Photography My original site now having a long-delayed overhaul.
HuskuDu Archive A time capsule of turn of the century web design.