Dominik, aka dominik_unbehagen likes to trust a chance to transform his wonderfully melancholic recordings into film experiments. No wonder he is a Diana Mini fan! Recently he showed his Diana Mini the sea. Here he tells us about his trip with the little wonder box, what he loves about this version of the 60s icon, and how his journey with analogue photography started in the first place.
Tell us a little about yourself, please. Where are you from? How did you get into analog photography?
I'm Dominik, I live in Bremen and I'm postponing my studies of philosophy thereby taking a lot of pictures. Lukas, aka @geargrind, a very good friend of mine, told me at a party, right after we met, that he takes analogue photos and what numerous possibilities there are for modifying films with analogue techniques.
I was already deeply impressed by his story, but it was not until a few years later that I spontaneously bought my first real camera. A Minolta XD7, an analog SLR with a pretty good lens. I was thrilled by the quality of the photos and so I got the urge to take pictures myself.
You tested the Diana Mini - what is your first impression? What did you particularly like?
First of all it is simply a very pretty camera. It's also amazingly small for a 35mm camera, so you can take it with you wherever you go. Unlike disposable cameras or the Lomo Simple Use, it has a lot of settings, which makes it very interesting.
You can use it to make multiple exposures, select two aperture settings for brightness correction, shoot in Bulb mode, and also focus. What was completely new for me was the possibility to choose between the two shooting formats. In the half format mode, you get 72 pictures on a roll of film, which makes you want to just take pictures without thinking about it. The square format brings a bit of variety to composing and is very catchy.
Have you experimented with different settings/functions? What is your impression?
With the mentioned functions there are many possibilities to experiment. Especially with multiple exposures you can do a lot. Since you can press the shutter button at any time, you can also overlay pictures slightly offset. You can use this consciously or just do it without thinking every now and then, leaving the results to chance.
In the evening I often used the bulb mode without a tripod. The pictures are blurred, but you can still capture impressions in the evening with little light. With the many photos arranged side by side in the half format mode, you can create little stories or simply diptychs. Thus, also pictures that do not seem so impressive on their own can become very appealing.
Did you have a special approach or theme for the show?
For the test series I thought about simply going to the sea to have a unified theme.
But when I take a photograph I don't really think about it, on the contrary I try to detach myself from all conscious thoughts and get involved in the process that is developing. I trust that the results will be interesting and with the Diana Mini this is usually the case.
Do you have a favorite picture from the series? If so, which one and why?
I like the portrait of Laurids very much, it was taken in an unaffected way and he is sometimes not easy to photograph. Here it worked out well. Feel Good Summer Vibes are not necessarily my favourite subject and therefore I find the motif with the glare from the light very appealing. From Katharina, aka. Davodkafairy, I like the dreamy double exposure with the shells very much. With both photos I find the colours so beautiful.
Last but not least, tips and tricks for those who want to use the Diana Mini in the future?
Looking at the photos you learn a lot and this will also subtly influence the next photos. The Diana Mini is a simply built plastic camera, so if it seems a bit unreliable when transporting film, for example, you shouldn't worry too much. Of course, it is always possible that something goes wrong, but when you get to know her, you will notice that this is usually not the case.
Best case, there are great unexpected effects. Since it has many settings, it is also possible that one loses track and makes some mistakes. Especially sometimes I forget the manual focus, or leave it in Bulb mode.
That's why I've gotten into the habit of always setting them to the standard settings in one go and only deviating from them when necessary. I recommend to have the Diana Mini always with you, great pictures are often spontaneous.