Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Instant Street Photography With a Toy Camera

I knew it was only a matter of time before I ended up with a Holga or Diana toy camera.  In my case, I decided to go with the Diana, even though I wanted a Holga.  The reason I got the Diana, was that I wanted the Instax attachment so that I could take instant photos.   Since I was on vacation, and really didn't go anywhere or spent money on a vacation, I though I would treat myself to the camera, the Instax back, and some film.  I did this right before taking off to do my street photography gig here in downtown San Antonio.  We put the camera together, I think it took three or four of us at the store to get all the parts to align correctly. We finally got it working and I took a test shot of my friend John who works at the camera shop.  My first impression of the photo was "I spent all that money for that?"  But oh well, I least I got it out of my system.  Like I said, I was bound to try it sooner or later.

I put the camera in my bag along with my other four cameras and drove to downtown San Antonio. While in downtown, and still in my car, I saw some people dressed alike and wearing some funny hats.  Perfect moment for a toy camera since a shot like that it's not going to win any awards.  I got it out, set the focus (there are only three focus settings: near, not as near, and far/infinity), set the aperture (there are only four settings: sun, overcast, cloudy, and pinhole) and I took the photo. I pressed the button to release the photo and set the photo on the passenger's seat and waited for it to develop.

"Checkered Hats" by Jesse Acosta | San Antonio | 2013

 I shot some stuff with my Canon AE-1 Program and some other stuff with my Yashica Electro 35.  I finally reached the spot where my friend Santos hangs out.  As always, he was there. I took a few photos, and they were not good.  The viewfinder didn't seem to align with the lens. This was parallax error on steroids.  Basically, the view finder is unusable.  You have to sort of just point the lens at the subject and hope for the best.  No wonder these toy cameras are used to shoot from the hip.  So I tried to compensate from the parallax issue, and again, another bad photo.  Third time's the charm, close but no cigar.  I got most of Santos on the image, but that wasn't the composition I wanted.

"Santos Third Try" by Jesse Acosta | San Antonio | 2013

Then as I was talking to Santos a person was walking towards us, so without thinking I pointed the camera and snap!  I took the photo.  Now for being a toy photo, I think this photo came out OK.  And also the one with the kids with the funny hats.

"Back From the Supermarket" by Jesse Acosta | San Antonio | 2013

After this photo I felt a little bit creative.  So I tried the pinhole setting but unfortunately I did not have a tripod.  And here's the result.

"Pinhole Attempt" by Jesse Acosta | San Antonio | 2013

I kept on taking photos until my ten photos were used and came to the conclusion that it is a fun camera to play with.  I'm pretty sure once I shoot more photos I will find its quirks and make them work to my advantage.  So I will keep this in my bag from time to time and shoot without seeing, seems like the shots were best when I was not looking though the viewfinder.

Happy Shooting



1 comment:

  1. great idea with using different cameras/tools and not becoming dependent on any one type of approach.