You’ve seen in him in such films as Dazed and Confused, Saving Private Ryan, The Hebrew Hammer and 2 Days in Paris, as well as TV shows such as Friends, Entourage , and currently starring in CBS’ NYC 22. He is also a writer/filmmaker and a musician who recently released two albums under monikers LANDy and The Goldberg Sisters. Read on to find out what happened when Adam Goldberg took the Diana F+ for a spin!
You’ve been working with film and TV for years. How does moving picture compare to still images?
Well, when I was 14 I first became interested in photography and the following year I became rather obsessed with the notion of being a filmmaker. One seemed a logical extension of the other. The two films which I have directed, I Love Your Work and Scotch and MIlk, were rather stylized, aesthetically. Particularly with Scotch and Milk (which was shot in black and white) my intention was that each shot—were it to be frozen or extracted—be worthy of a still photograph.
Describe your first memory as if it were still a photograph.
That’s an interesting request given that as we age one of two things seem to happen; either we confuse photographs for memories or we freeze our memories and flip through them much like a photo album. So, mine is: a small toddler wearing only diapers standing before a large 1970’s television console—lots of wood—pooping in his diapers. It has the warm hues of an early ’70s snapshot but could have been shot by Eggelston (this is a fantasy right?)
What was it like shooting with the Diana F+?
I won’t lie. It took a while. It frustrated me at times. I’m used to a fairly large variety of cameras—My M6, several medium format (Mamiya Universal, Bessa iii, Plaubel 670, etc), and 4×5 cameras (Toyo 45a) but the Diana was more difficult for me to get a handle on than all of those! I think partly because I really wanted to try and use it as I use my other cameras. In other words, I wasn’t pointing and shooting for the most part. I was metering and, given the light, guesstimating how long a 1/4 second is when in B mode! I know the Diana is as much about happy accidents as it is about great intentions but I get very particular, so if the film was wound loose I really would make an effort to tighten it up, wrap it in tinfoil afterwards, etc. Having said that, I loved the results! I think the black and whites are about as cool as any I’ve taken with my slicker gear and I love the light leaks on the black and white. Also, I really dig the Weege-esque starkness of the b/w portraits I took of my friend Julian. I also loved how quiet, unassuming, and light! (I have such heavy cameras) it was. It was easy to travel with both on a trip to New York as well as around town. By the end of my first few rolls, I came to really appreciate it as a unique camera with unique results that I simply would not be able to conjure with my other cameras.
Describe the Diana F+ in 5 words.
Who are the subjects of your photos?
My girlfriend/muse, graphic designer Roxanne Daner. My friend, poet John Tottenham whose poems, The Inertia Variations, I based some short 16mm films. Dear old friend, since middle school, Julian Fischer. Oh, and Liz Vaida who appears as a blur in a hotel hallway (she and I worked on a TV show together). My dogs, The Sheriff and Simone, were also subjects.
Please share your favorite photo from the ones you took. What’s the story behind it?
Roxanne as a ghost in our closet. I had been meaning to take this photo for some time. I have shot many Polaroid photos of the closet. There is something about (the cheap overhead) lighting and the decidedly unglamorous bare bones nature of the closet that I find very photogenic. I knew a ghostly image of Roxanne would render nicely against that blank canvas of a wall.
If your photos shown here could have a soundtrack of three songs, what would they be (song title & artist please).
Well, here’s a vainglorious response. I have actually more than a few times composed my own music to photographs. One of Roxanne in a hallway, called “Hello” can be found somewhere on youtube. Still others were compiled into short films I made called “My Week in Polaroids” for which I would compose music. And I took all the photographs for my records (LANDy, The Goldberg Sisters). So, again, these pursuits of mine feel interconnected.
1. “BFF” by LANDy (particularly for the “twins” photo of Roxanne on deck at night; in fact the video for this song deals with the notion of doppelganger a bit)
2.“You’re Beautiful When You Die” by The Goldberg Sisters
3. “The Heart Grows Fonder” by The Goldberg Sisters
Do you have upcoming projects that you’d like to share with the community?
I’ve been writing and recording demos for a new record for some time; I just finished my first (undiscarded) screenplay in many years which I plan to produce and direct within the next year; just snapped some photos for Land Rover’s Tumblr page and some for Ladygunn magazine of Alexis Palladino from the band exitmusic.
Where does Lomography fit in these projects?
Who’s to say? Some Lomo photos could end up as album art for the next record and I could very easily see a making a LomoKino muisc video for myself or another artist.
Lastly, what advice can you give our readers when shooting with the Diana F+?
1. Make sure your aperture (sunny, cloudy, etc) setting is locked in place and not left (as I did on one roll) straddling two settings.
2. Don’t be too hasty. (I know Lomo is all about letting go and just shooting! but I’m too ocd for that). As fun as it is to shoot film, there is little denying its expense and increasing scarcity. As basic and uncomplicated as a Diana is is it could really be useful, beautiful artistic tool. I leave snapshots these days to Instagram.
3. Disregard the above and shoot any and everything.
4. Experiment. It’ sort of hard not to anyway, with the Diana.
5. Don’t be afraid (or lazy in my case) of using a tripod. It will transport your photos, particularly in B mode.
6. Have fun! (After years of therapy I’m still working on this one).