Community member @frenchyfyl has added more than 2000 photos in a few years to his Lomohome and he is always looking forward to try out new cameras. His approach to photography convinced us that he would truly honor the new Diana Instant Square! Living in the south of France, his square instants represent his current family life and the everyday beauty of nature that keeps growing around his home. In this interview, @frenchyfyl explains his passion for photography, his first contact with Lomography and his thoughts on the Diana Instant Square.
Hello Frenchyfyl! It is a pleasure to welcome you once again in our Magazine. Could you introduce yourself in a few lines?
I am a graphic and web designer, and I live in a small village in Drôme in France, that i like to call paradise on earth. I discovered Lomography in 2011, when entering a Lomostore at the corner of an old street in Barcelona. I came out of it with a Diana F+ and the Lomo virus took a hold of me! From then on, I have acquired about fifteen analogue cameras, some sophisticated but many "toy cameras" with which I have a lot of fun!
What is your approach to photography and how would you describe your imagery?
I would describe myself as a Lomographer rather than a photographer: pleasure and spontaneity guide my actions rather than an artistic research. In this sense, the 8th rule of Lomography "Don’t think, just shoot" is the one that represents me the most. I feel like Lomography has completely democratized analogue photography and it's amazing. You don't have to be a pro and the most important is to have fun! Following this, my photos go in all directions, according to my moods and impulses. The subjects are mostly directed towards my everyday life: my family, friends and travels... just like everyone else!
We know that you have tried a fair amount of Lomography cameras, including the Diana F+. What do you like the most about this camera?
When I entered the Lomography store in 2011, and I knew nothing about these cameras, it was the first thing that caught my eye. Its vintage look surprised me! When the seller told me it produced square images, my heart capsized. Furthermore, it reminded me of a plastic camera I saw in a Pif Gadget magazine when I was 8 years old.
What I love about the Diana, above its beautiful looks, is its lightness, the manual settings for exposure and focus and, of course, the square format of the images! I also adore its lo-fi aspect that allows surprising results: the images can be soft and dreamy, or very contrasted with a strong vignette, and we are never too sure about the results. I love these surprises, and they are often mind-blowing!
Do you also take instant photographs?
I have to admit I tried it a few times. I have a Lomo Instant Automat Glass, and I used it for parties, with friends and family, to see the results directly and hand out the images as a gift. But the Diana Instant Square really surprised me. Instant photography will become a big part of my productive work! (yes, I gave in: I rushed to back the Kickstarter campaign on the first day...)
What was your first reaction when discovering the new instant camera, the Diana Instant Square?
My first reaction: Wow!! Yes, it is a Diana!
I will be honest: I was afraid that when I'd open the box, I would discover an instant camera disguised as a Diana. But no, it was a true Diana! Even the lenses are interchangeable, you find the same settings, same feeling when you hold it, and it even allows the same results... A Diana where you can see the results instantaneously, isn't it magical?
For which occasions would you recommend the Diana Instant Square?
It associated two worlds: the friendliness of the instantaneous and the personal satisfaction of using a real analogue camera. We can really show it to friends (bring this strange vintage object to an event, you will be the king/queen of the night) or use it as a Diana F+ to create real square format analogue shots.
This combination of both worlds is the big strength of the Diana Instant Square.
At Lomography, we have all been seduced by your series. What inspired your for these square format photos?
My daughter @lilizoe! When she found out you would send me the Diana Instant Square to test for a few days, she was so excited she offered to help. She was a model and also gave me "fun" ideas. As she is 16 years old, I told myself her youth would be ideal. I can clearly see young people are more and more attracted by instant photography!
What advice could you give to young photographers that are trying out the Diana Instant Square?
If the photographer knows the Diana F+, I have no advice to give: he will not be disoriented!
For those who just started with their Diana, and never had an instant camera before, my advice would be to start of slowly by respecting the exposure settings that match with the surrounding light. The photos will be great and you will be satisfied immediately. Afterwards, once you get a hold of how the camera works, do not hesitate to experiment, by under or over exposing voluntarily, by trying long exposures, multiple exposures on the same image... You will then discover all the undisclosed richness of the Diana.
One last tip for all, beginners and professionals: don't think, just shoot!
We would like to thank @frenchyfyl for his enthusiasm and these answers worthy of a truly devoted analogue photographer!