How many times when you visit an archaeological site of some kind, do you see tourists weighed down by their heavy camera gear? Leave the digital grind behind, sling a Diana F+ around your shoulders, slip a couple of additional lenses into your pocket, and see those ancient monuments from a different perspective.
Pompeii is a ruined Roman town famous for its destruction in 79AD as a result of the eruption of the nearby volcano, Mount Vesuvius. The town is large with many features typical of a Roman settlement. The arena, an amphitheatre, home to gladiatorial shows in the ancient world, was the site of a sport-related riot in 59AD and is surrounded by the area’s characteristic umbrella pines. Whilst not the largest in the Roman world, it gives an impression of the gladiator shows that were held in a town like Pompeii. This arena was closed for 10 years following the riot, and the Pompeian people were thus denied of their favourite entertainment as a punishment for hooliganism.
In walking the streets of the town, you get a very real sense of the life the place once had, imagining everyday scenes of visiting bakeries and snack bars, fetching water from fountains and calling out to neighbours. Stepping stones were provided in these streets to help pedestrians keep free of the grime in the gutter, and at key junctions, water fountains quenched the town’s thirst. The streets are paved with huge slabs of local volcanic stone.
Religion was a substantial part of a Pompeian’s life and the town is home to a number of shrines. Most of these are found in the forum, the political, commercial, and religious hub of the town. Jupiter, Venus, and Apollo are key gods represented – look out for the statue of Apollo posing gracefully in his sanctuary. Less traditional religions were also popular, especially with those on the fringes of Roman society: the Temple of Isis demonstrates the keen interest in Egyptian cults during the 1st Century AD.
There are more wonders here than I can describe, so here are my tips for photographing the town. Enhance the eeriness of the ruined town by using an XR film. It can produce some ghostly red effects which almost mirror the town’s end in the extreme heat of the Plinian eruption. The strong Italian sunshine brought out different nuances in the red-scale film, adding to the haunting atmosphere already present.
Take a pocket full of lenses. Great effects can be achieved if you pick’n’mix your lenses. Shoot a few with a super-wide angle, which is great for capturing those grand scenes of landscape and ruins combined. Or try the Fisheye for a different angle on a statue, mosaic or wall painting. It’s also fun to double expose: shoot the view with one lens, change the lens, and shoot the frame again.
A location like Pompeii is great for Lomography shots. The place has been photographed endlessly for years by visiting tourists. By taking analogue shots of an ancient site you can end up with some truly unique holiday photos.
The Diana F+ is a new twist on the ‘60s classic cult camera. Famous for its dreamy and soft-focused images, the Diana F+ is now packed with extra features such as panorama and pinhole capabilities. Available in our Online Shop.