There’s definitely a particular aesthetic to photographs taken using plastic lenses, be it Diana or Holga.
This image was taken a few years back using a Diana plastic lens on a Canon 1ds MkII digital camera, a marriage of hi-res and lo-fi technology. Seeing Paul Romaniuk’s previous post of the lovely b&w image using a Holga camera brought this image of mine to mind, and is a nod to both the lovely image as well as the image maker himself—Paul has a habit of continually coming up with wonderful images that I’m in awe of. In reality, this picture doesn’t shout ‘plastic lens’, as it certainly doesn’t have the characteristic soft focus, fuzzy hi-lite edges typical of this combination, though there is a slight haloing effect around a some of the edges. This would be the result of the very diffuse lighting and moisture laden air here in Butterfly World. The thing I like about this pic is the softness of the colours, the gentle tonal gradations giving a somewhat painterly look—not quite sharp, but sharp enough.
I’ve been off and on intrigued by the hi-res lo-fi possibilities of picture taking since being gifted the Diana lens by Cathy Cone back in 2012 while attending a Piezography workshop in Santa Fe put on by Jon Cone and hosted by Don Messec of Making Art Safely fame. Over the ensuing years I have put together a small portfolio of photos using this camera and lens, referring to it as Travels With Diana.
Using this combination is hit or miss—when it works, images can be quite captivating, though in truth there’s more misses than hits. And that’s the exciting bit, never knowing for certain if I’ve managed a ‘hit’ until previewing it on screen.
photograph: Butterfly World, January 2016