Cardiff-based photographer Molly Kate (mollykatephoto) loves to travel and take photos with film. She runs her popular YouTube channel under the moniker Eclectachrome and also writes for UK film photography blog 35mmc. We asked her to try out the Diana Mini camera with a selection of Lomography film and she shared the results with us.
Hi Molly, please introduce yourself to our community.
Hello! I'm a photographer and writer based in Cardiff, Wales but originally born and raised in Boston / New Hampshire, USA. The craft I spend the most time on is photography, borderline obsession or addiction. Music, literature, psychology, culture, travel are also big interests as well. I love to travel, experience different places and events, especially festivals that involve my favorite things in life: food, music and people.
What cameras do you usually shoot with?
I have a small variety of cameras and love switching it up, depending on the situation or subject. For street photography, the camera of choice would be my Canon L3 with the Jupiter 12 lens. Portrait work on film means I'm bringing my Canon A2E with the reliable autofocus. Landscapes or architecture, I love using the Zeiss Ikon Nettar with medium format film. For friends and family though, which is the most important subject for me, it's always a point-and-shoot like the Canon U90, Sure Shot Sleek or a camera like the Diana Mini.
How did you get on shooting with the Diana Mini?
I fell in love. At first, it took me a while to get used to how it works, but once I did, it was so fun! The form factor was a huge plus for me, with it being so small and light. Heavy cameras and me do not get along. Also, I prefer simpler cameras, the simpler the better. So having the zone focusing system and only two options for both shutter speeds and apertures, it felt liberating. As someone who primarily enjoys long photo walks and doesn't own a car at the moment, having a camera slung around my neck and shoulders that weighs as little as possible is my goal.
What did you choose to shoot and what film did you use?
I shot three rolls on the Diana Mini, LomoChrome Turquoise, LomoChrome Purple, and Lomography Color Negative 400. Most of the images came from walking around Cardiff, documenting the city area. I'm working on a longer term project around Cardiff so I often choose to photograph here.
Living very close to the city center, it's interesting to me to document the place I am surrounded by on a daily basis. I also shot some portraits of my husband and he took some of me to test out the flash and close up focus zones on the camera. These are some of my favorite images. People portraits are my favorite subject as this is what matters most in life.
How did you find the results?
Awesome! Especially the portraits with flash. If I were to use the camera again, I would shoot much more of this. And more people. The multiple exposures were also interesting so it's great to have this feature to play with as well. With the Color Negative 400, I used the half frame mode, which allowed me to extend the capability of the roll by double. I'm a huge fan of half frame cameras. However, with a dedicated half frame camera, you are locked into that format. I love that with the Diana, the photographer can switch to square format as well.
Talking about the square format, this is something I am also a huge fan of. It's nice to have that format on 35 mm rather than just on medium format where you have less shots. Overall, I find the Diana Mini a very interesting and fun camera to use.
The resulting images are dreamy with a low-fi vibe. This makes it more warm and personal to me compared to a sleek highly technical image. It's what I imagine looking at a memory would be like. Emotional and grainy. Soulful and human.
How would you describe this camera in three words?
Fun, fabulous, funky.
What have you got coming up in 2023?
A lot of film fun! Well, a lot of budget friendly film fun. I started developing most black and white work at home this year. Scanning too. I'm going to be taking part in the Frugal Film Project for 2023, which is a project that a lot of folks do during the year to show how cheap shooting film can be, depending on how you do it. As a lot of people, myself included, have experienced increased costs across the board, 2023 will be a frugal year for me.
I'm still having a lot of fun with the film photography YouTube channel, so I will definitely still be doing videos, likely weekly. I'd love to do more experimental work as well. Lastly, I am looking forward to printing more work in the darkroom in 2023! I am working on a very simple home darkroom setup in our bathroom and once my enlarger is fixed, I cannot wait to dive into that.