Back when I was digital and high tech the subjects of my pictures were mainly beach scenes. Beautiful in their own right, but not much variation. Everything looks pretty at the beach and it inspires you to snap those digital shots quicker than the Road Runner running from Wylie E. Coyote. I was also not in the habit of taking my digital camera with me everywhere because it’s not exactly portable. The camera would come with me for walks on the beach as a family but would stay home on most other occasions.
Thank God for lo-fi photography! Because of it’s portability I learned to take my Holga everywhere. I wasn’t necessarily looking to get ‘the perfect shot’ and felt more freedom to take pictures of weird, random and funny things in everyday life. I was drawn to the way the plastic lens gives a warmth and interest to the mundane. The quirkiness of the medium made me relax and experiment with perspective, lighting and subject in way that I never had before. Since I didn’t expect perfection I was free to play! I also began to notice my photographic eye developing at a rapid pace. It was as if the digital camera had blinders on my eyes. I felt like I’d only been seeing part of what was out there. My eyes were wide open and starting to see great photo opportunities everywhere, not just in beautiful places like the beach.
Once I’d grown accustomed to the way toy and vintage cameras work I was better able to decide which subjects were best for this medium. In a broad sense I began turning away from the nature scenes of the beach and focusing more on man-made structures. Looking at other photography sites like Red Bubble and Flickr helped me decide what to focus on next (so to speak). I was really into photographing derelict buildings and barns in the spring. My area is a pretty good place for that. There are loads of inoperable mills, buildings, silos and old farmhouses just begging to have their pictures taken. Derelict buildings led to rusty and forgotten objects, then I discovered old cars. Their retro looks, fantastical lines, crazy fins and chrome are an ideal subject for lo-fi shots. I’ve always been drawn to taking pictures of odd signs and now that I was using lo-fi technology, these signs appeared in print as they appeared in my mind. The vignetting, fuzziness and odd colors served to highlight the absurdity that is seen driving down the highway.
This summer I decided to make the leap into (gasp) people shots. The idea of approaching people and asking them to fill out model release forms was a little overwhelming to me so I started off slowly. I did a photo shoot at the beach for some friends who were more than happy to sign the releases. I still haven’t gotten up the guts to approach strangers but I figure my portraiture skills need to improve before I start selling those shots.
The change of seasons brought me closer to my subjects. Now that I’ve got the right tools for macro Holga shots and have purchased the Diana F+ and the wide angle/close up lens combo, I can make the ordinary look really weird and big. I’ve always wanted a really nice macro lens but the images that I get with my toy cameras are far more interesting than something that’s perfectly in focus. My macro subjects of late have been antique items. Like antique cars, they’re fit for the lo-fi treatment.
Enough about me, what about you? Do you go through cycles or do you just shoot what walks in front of the lens? Do you go out searching for subjects? Leave me a comment. I’d like to know what inspires you to burn through a roll of film.