In this great new world of lomography, I am simply trying to stay afloat with some fabulous lessons and surprise results!
Besides the cheap underwater disposable cameras that I sometimes buy, in an attempt to prove to my little world that my adventures are as awesome as they seem in my head, my first taste of analogue was with the gift of a Recesky pinhole camera — in pieces. We suffered a rocky start but then, the Recesky led me to my darling Diana.
I had not ever thought of the endless possibilities that lay await with this jigsaw puzzle in front of me. I have always been interested in photography, but never schooled in it. My techniques lie in fine art: painting, drawing, and generally making a physical mess of things. Photography always seemed to be either a cop-out on the struggle of “true” art or so technically overwhelming, that I just kept on walking (or this is how I excuse my corrupt denial in any case). The fancy digital cameras that exist today (before discovering iPhone apps) always seemed out of reach to me, much like a doctorate in Actuarial science, or Mandarin. I felt this need to understand light, aperture, ISO, etc. before selling my car to afford one of these things, and it was always something “I will get to” but never did. After all, why go to all that trouble when you’ll just set it on auto?
So I played on auto with my little cheap digital, and modified it later on my laptop. Tedious but fun as plain photos were just so boring! One day a friend saw my pictures and asked why I go through all that trouble when I could just play with analogue. Well, I had never really thought of that and said I would look into it. Of course, as is the nature of these things, I neatly filed that thought into the “to do” list of my brain — and promptly forgot!
Then, she gave me the box of Recesky pieces. It was psychologically brilliant. I got so attached in my war to piece it together (I really should have taken those Mandarin classes) that by the time it was a functioning stereo pinhole camera, I couldn’t not use it. And was it fun!
But of course, 2 rolls of film later, I realized that as experimental as this art form can be, you do really have to actually think about things — such as light and exposure time (and basically all my previous technical fears), as blurry “arty” images can hold interest for only so long.
Although I failed epically at most of the photos (a white, overexposed picture could still be considered art, couldn’t it?), there were some treasures. And it was this fact, this process, that made me fall in love with analogue. Because when it did work, it was better than any plan I could’ve conceived of.
Then I walked into a Lomography shop in Singapore. Thirty 6. Analogue heaven. And there were so many colours, and so many accessories, and so many cameras. Overwhelmed, in awe and lacking in any kind of clue, I tried to explain my newfound amateur crush, and was pointed towards the Diana F+. Basic, completely manual, affordable, cute and with more accessories than I would’ve imagined, she stole my passion and challenged my fears. She made me a better amateur photographer. And I have been loyal to her, swearing that I would not move onto the enticing Lomo LC-A or any other until I understood and knew her entirely.
So that is my mission: to play with films both 35 and 120mm, all speeds and colours, lenses of all shapes and sizes, exposures short, long, spliced and doubled, and of course shots both from the hip and framed. And I have opened myself to the goal of 2-3 awesome pictures per roll as then I never feel a failure (#nurturing the type A personality). She is simple and patient and I am learning so much with all her possibilities.
This mission has now led to my latest (of many) projects entitled “World of Contrasts.” I travel a fair bit, and I am in the process of double exposing different countries, cultures, and landscapes with each other. They sometimes clash and sometimes compliment, but they are always fabulous comments on our world, on society and the art of being human.