Best known around here as perksofbeinganinvert, we dig into Michael’s Diana F+ style (who he as named Billie after Billy Holiday) and admire his desire to capture, “a scene, or a story” with the flick of a shutter. If his ability to tell a story through his writing is anything like his shots, we may indeed be looking at the next, “gay Margaret Atwood” as Michael would like to be!
Name: Michael Lyons
From: St. Stephen, New Brunswick
Currently Living In: Toronto, Ontario
Please tell the community the story of how and where you got into Lomography in the first place.
My discovery of Lomography spanned years, actually! I studied theater and play-writing at university, and my play-writing professor would use her Lomo LC-A pictures as creative prompts for writing exercises. Skip to three years later, I had finished university, my old digital camera was busted, and recalling the peculiar, mysterious pictures of my professor I bought a Holga 120 CFN on a whim.
How did you like shooting with the Diana F+ for the first time?
I have a childlike obsession with the detachable flash. The first thing I did before even setting up the camera was put a battery in the flash and play around with that for a bit. That hasn’t really changed since I actually started taking pictures. I named my Diana “Billie”, after Billie Holiday, and I find that she has so much personality. She’s darker, more playful. I was especially surprised at all of the light leaks that turned up in my pictures. It’s cliché to say, but true, that every camera is different.
Other than photography, what is your favorite outlet in life (artistic or otherwise)?
Words, in general. I take as much joy in reading as I do writing. It’s a constant exchange, taking in words and putting them on the page. I always have at least two books on the go, and so many stories. Words, books and writing mean the world to me.
What do you look for through the camera lens before you shoot?
I try to look for a scene, or a story. I get nervous taking pictures of people without their permission, so one of my favorite things to shoot is buskers. I kind of collect them. Street performance is so visible but transient, here and gone, so why not document them? I took a picture of a woman who was standing on the corner of Yonge and Bloor singing “Queen of the Night Aria.” It was just lovely. It would be a damn shame if the municipal government made busking illegal.
What are your 5 favorite things to do in the city you live in?
1. see a show at Buddies in Bad Times Theater
2. go out for sushi
3. play a D&D campaign, or two
4. hit up Hanlan’s Point, the Toronto Island clothing optional beach (weather permitting)
5. stay in, drink tea, play Banagrams with my boyfriend
What are your 5 favorite things to do when you go home for a visit?
1. visit my family’s cottage on Cathance Lake, in Maine
2. listen to my grandfather tell dirty jokes
3. explore the East Coast, NB, PEI and Maine are some of the most beautiful places in the world
4. sit in the sun with a Cherry Coke and a good book
5. sit around playing video games with my brothers
What would you do for a living if you could do anything you wanted?
It may sound facetious, but I basically want to be the gay Margaret Atwood.
Do you have any projects on the go we should be keeping an eye out for?
Other than different stories I’m working on (and hopefully eventually publishing!) I don’t have any projects on the go. I suppose I would call my tumblr an ongoing art project, I post most of my lomography pics, and some writing. Lots of analogue fans on tumblr too! My profile is hirschfeld-follies.tumblr.com if anyone wants to check it out!
Check out Michael’s LomoHome
The Diana F+ is a new twist on the ‘60s classic cult camera. Famous for its dreamy and soft-focused images, the Diana F+ is now packed with extra features such as panorama and pinhole capabilities. Available in our Online Shop.