Analogue Portraits: Capturing Animal Souls on Film


The analogue lifestyle is all about making film photography a part of your life, not an interference. Why not take the opportunity to create unique and unconventional snapshots of your pets with your film camera? Whether in the comfort of your own backyard, or in the great outdoors, pets can be great subjects because of their lively and colourful personalities.

Anyone who’s ever had a pet can testify that animals have vibrant, lovable, and larger than life personalities! Whether you own a dog, a cat, a rabbit or even a 3m long fanged python, a pet is special because they share life with you. You know all their little eccentricities. You know their favourite sleeping positions (tummy up, paws flopped). You know what they love to eat, and what they completely abhor. My dogs, for instance, have a particular aversion to doggie biscuits, but will drink black coffee (2 sugars) any day. Not that I regularly give them coffee or anything.

Film photography is the perfect medium for capturing those beloved quirks. These black and white shots were taken on my Holga 120 CFN, from first ever roll which I thought was ruined because I shot the entire thing on BULB mode. Such a classic amateur mistake. I was devastated, but had it developed anyway – and I actually really like these ghostly, somewhat regal, portraits of my two Moodle dogs.

The half-frame versatility of the Diana Mini also makes it a great camera for capturing the movement and personality of pets. I love diptychs because they can tell a story, or at least offer two different perspectives. The Lomo ActionSampler would also be great for tripling, quadrupling or octoplying this effect.

Analogue cameras can really capture the ‘essence’ of your subject because they can be less conspicuous, and therefore less frightening to our furry (or scaly) friends. Unless you’re using flash, there’s nothing there that will cause your pet to flinch and run in the opposite direction every time you hold up your camera. The dials and knobs on film cameras are practically silent compared to the whirrings and buzzings of their digital counterparts!

Also, take the opportunity to really get into the Lomography spirit with some of those golden rules. In particular:

  • Shoot from the hip (or the ankle in this case)
  • Approach the object of your Lomographic desire as close as possible

Put those tai chi moves into action by crouching and getting into position so that the camera is eye-level to your pet, instead of lazily shooting from above (though this can result in some interesting photos too, especially if you have a Fish Eye)

  • Don’t think
  • Be fast!

Pets are lively creatures! They’ll sniff your camera with curiosity, or try to jump up and lick your face – or slither around your neck, in the case of the python – but that’s okay! Capture the moment. Get close!

  • You don’t have to know beforehand what you’ve captured on film!
  • Afterwards either

Taking your film in to get it developed (or doing it at home) is all part of the Lomography experience, and can be an adventure in itself. You can even leave the film in your refrigerator and forget about it for a few months. The surprises will delight you even more.

The Diana Mini is now bundled up the Diana F+ Flash! Get perfectly dreamy squares or half-frames in all lighting conditions. Get the Diana Mini Flash Package now!

written by chypreamber on 2011-08-18 #lifestyle #animals #film #analogue #pets #lomography #portraits #analogue-lifestyle #requested


  1. sidsel
    sidsel ·

    That's all so true. Nice article & pictures (and pretty pretty doggies!)

  2. chypreamber
    chypreamber ·

    @sidsel - thank you! they are very pretty indeed, but i just realised they look a little depressed in these photos! haha they are normally very lively dogs :)

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