I can't possibly decide what was my first and best picture. In it's first week of use, my 'TORI' Diana F+ was really two cameras: one 35mm, the other 120.
The camera was a surprise Christmas gift from my husband. I’d coveted it, but never would have bought it for myself… and then it showed up, with a roll of 800 iso 120 film included. I shot that roll over Dec. 24–26, much to the amusement and intrigue of the family. During the week between Christmas and New Year, I went to the Lomo Gallery Store on Queen Street in Toronto and picked up the 35mm back.
I shot a couple rolls of 35mm and had them processed and printed before I ever got that first 120 roll developed. In fact, I was finishing off the first roll of 35mm the day I dropped the 120 roll off… at the wrong store. Yep, I’d looked up where to have 120 film developed in Toronto, and found one branch of a popular drug store chain could do for an exceptionally reasonable price. Except my brain is sometimes like a sieve, and I first took it to the wrong branch. They sent it off to their lab, and of course it came back undeveloped, but not for a couple weeks, being the holiday season.
So I’m torn. Do I submit the First Best Picture I took, or the First Best Picture I saw?
The First Best Picture I saw is from that first 35mm roll. A happy accident of a double exposure, I was pointing and clicking away in busy Kensington Market without much thought about what would come out. I scanned it at home before I got a new scanner, so the version I uploaded here is without sprockets and of dubious colour quality… but I love it. The trees behind the buildings in one exposure aligned in such a way as to give the painting of the woman in the other exposure… hair. She’s like a tree fairy or something. An urban tree fairy waiting for spring on a cold winter day.
In early January, I recovered my first 120 roll from the wrong store and took it to the right one. As soon as I scanned it, I knew that this was how Diana really saw the world, and that she saw it the same way I did: As tall as it is wide. Bright. Busy. Sometimes a little blurry, especially around the edges. It was then that I found the first best picture I took:
Another multiple exposure (possibly even three exposures? I have no idea what I did), from my husband’s grandmother’s house on Christmas Day. Nonna’s house was, as it often is on holidays, full of family, food and vino, and Diana captured it perfectly. Busy and moving, warm and delicious. You can almost hear the sounds of Italian voices and laughter. You can almost smell the tomato sauce that was cooking all day.
There were several other delightful pictures on that roll: my husband introducing his Dad’s old Autocord to the Diana, a silly, blurry self-portrait with gorgeous light flares, and my other favourite, an overexposed skyline shot of Toronto at the end of the roll, which looks for all the world to me like the apocalypse is rolling in over Lake Ontario.
I knew then that this was going to be a fun way to look at the world.