FANTASTIC PLASTIC
Fun with Click, Clack & Diana

 

RETRO-PHOTOGRAPHY by DOUG SPOWART

Automaton cameras, focus and exposure perfect. . .
Ah! . . . and if that's not enough then with live picture the image can be Photoshopped into whatever shape you want. Warts removed, spots relocated to beauty spots, symmetrical cloud shapes and dribbles daubed on cold beer glasses. What a time for a photographer to be alive!!

A techno world this may be but what effect does the technology have on our visual imagery. Does it suffer from what the slick modernist image-maker can do? Well, I yearn for something else ~ Something less perfect and predicable, something imbued with the imperfections of reality.

My perfect image is created without any prejudice for perfection. I enjoy the challenge of what seredipitous luck can bring to the moment of image creation. I use toy cameras, unsophisticated contraptions devoid of all but the rudimentary controls like [sun symbol] cloudy, heavy cloud and I+B. Crude viewfinders cause mysterious subject inclusions in photos that no deliberate effort could ever hope to capture.

With toys whose names are Click, Clack, Holga and Diana picture making becomes more about what happens by accident and happenstance to the image rather than what you demand to happen. Lens specs are not published for these optics ~ Who cares? This aint no Leica but just as it's important to know how sharp a lens is it is equally important to accept unsharpness as being desirable. After all what is sharpness if it can be measured then difference is an option. So much for the image edge to edge even illumination as about 2~3 stops can exist in images form some of these cameras.

So much for lens imaged light as these devices are usually plagued by small light leaks from cracks and gaps in the plastic body moulding. These non-imaging rays of light splash and smear across the image value adding to the moment of picture taking. Later after processing the film anticipation of how images are effected can spell joyous disasters or successful failures when the results are viewed.

Huh! photography was never meant to be easy and also perhaps never perfect! Soon computer software dilettantes will have sets of new Photoshop filters to include Diana Effect ~ soft image and dark edges, random light leak and Holga Effect ~ slow shutter blur. I think I'll wait for version two of the software which has built in a random scrambler that provides the operator with a high level of impredicability as to which effect filter happens how much and when. Perhaps the old technology may survive, as, all you need to do is insert film, point, click or clack, process and see!

Doug Spowart
July 6, 1998

Some of the Fantastic Plastic Cameras
PHOTOPIC VISION : Birds
Doug Spowart 1998
PHOTOPIC VISION : Beach Touch
Doug Spowart 1998
PHOTOPIC VISION : AeroWindow
Doug Spowart 1998
PHOTOPIC VISION : Chair
Doug Spowart 1998