Concept: Fashion Victims

Style

Portraits / Street Photography

Number of Images

loads – this could become an ongoing project with communty input

Synopsis

We went down to Camden Market this weekend, and although I’ve been there every day this week for lunch, I’ve never taken the time to explore the stables until yesterday.

So much wacky and off-the-wall fashion is being sold around there. It’s presented usually by sticking random items onto some poor old battered mannequin. They look hilarious, like Fashion Victims.

I want to use the Fisheye 2 and Holga with off-camera flash to take pictures of them. I want them to become Fashion Models, and treat them as such.

These creepy plastic puppets could be the stars of their own lifeless colourful series. It’ll be like a comic book, where you get to love the character, although s/he doesn’t exist.

I’d like to go on and have “high-end” models participate, like the ones in the window at H&M and in fact everywhere around town. We’re drowning in fashion outlets here in London, let’s utilise them all. I want the lomo look on all of them, blurry, highly saturated, whacky. No make-up assistant required, just plenty of real film.

How to do it?

Hm. Tricky. I’ll work on that.

Camden Market won’t allow photography in certain places, and fashion stores present their mannequins behind glass. Ideally we want a two-flash setup. Maybe I can get into a store at night and twiddle around.

Any fashion store owners want to participate?

New Category: Random Concepts

There’s an old saying that goes “write down your ideas – otherwise you’ll forget them”.

Very true, especially a few months or years down the line, just when you’ve run out of ideas, and you’ve got time on your hands without a clue how to seize it wisely. This can often lead to depression and the well known black hole with no light at the end of it. Not good.

Therefore, here’s a list of Concepts that keep popping into my head, and not knowing if I’ll ever get to make them all, here’s to a new category called CONCEPTS.

Please note these are rough sketches, and they can change at any time.

If at any time you feel you want to collaborate on any of these, please let me know – I think community input is very important this century.

Thank you ;-)

First Shots from my Holga with Aperture Mod

This is exciting: I’ve just scanned two rolls of film shot with my modded Holga 120SF!

As I said yesterday, I always wanted a larger switchable aperture on Holga. Even in the slightest bit of shade, Holga pictures are too dark (that’s 299 days of the year in the UK).

I’ve now got a working switch in my plastic friend that will have me choose between f11 and f5.6 (or thereabout).

mod-holga-camden-11-of-22.jpgWithout further ado, let’s have a look at some of the pictures I’ve taken this week.

It was probably the last sunny day in London for a while, a sunny morning in Camden, and I had stocked up on some fresh Velvia.

I also had a roll of expired Fuji RMS with me, which unfortunately I developed in the same tank as the Velvia…

I’ve learnt the hard way they don’t mix – and Velvia won the battle for attention somewhere around the First Developer. I’m saying this because half the shots in this gallery looks a bit weirder than the other.
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Here’s a good example of how the same shot looks with and without the mod.

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orignal aperture (about f11)
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and with modded aperture (about f4)

What we can see clearly is that the exposure seems to work OK, but we lose a hellufalot of focus!

Focusing is a gamble with Holga anyway, I mean how do I know that some thing’s “seven people” away or only “three people”? My aperture is now fully open, letting in everything the plastic lens has to offer – but maybe that’s a bit much. A tad more focus would be welcome, even if we trade off a stop of light.

What I love about this

[singlepic id=365 w=300  float=left]The “instant artwork” effect. Every picture you take, no matter what you point the camera at, becomes something weird and abstract. Much more so than the original Holga aperture would do I find.

Plus, you can do this in lower light situations, which inevitabley will happen upon us all (until of course, we permanently move to Miami Beach).

It reminds me of what Lomography boast about their beloved Diana: “A blurry-soft and dreamy-toned Diana image is more an interpretation of reality than a correct representation of it”. Now we get the same with Holga, at a fraction of the cost (and without all the marketing hype).

What have I actually modded?

I’ve removed the metal ring (i.e. the original aperture) and glued it onto the aperture arm. That way, I can switch to “Original Holga Mode” by choosing sunny, and go to “Modded Aperture Mode” by choosing cloudy.

The resulting bigger hole behind the lens would probably have been f8, possibly f5.6 (who knows really), but I saw some more plastic on the side that I’ve drilled away – making mine probably an f4. That way, all the light from the plastic lens goes in and takes the picture.

Next week, I’ll mod another Holga – this time without drilling to see if that gives us more focus.

Stay tuned folks, enjoy the rest of the gallery – and Happy Shooting ;-)

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I’ve modded my first ever Holga 120SF

cimg3109.jpgBig news:

You remember the first ever Holga camera I’ve bought? The 120SF (plastic lens, no tripod mount, no bulb switch, no colour flash)?

Well guess what: I’ve taken a screwdriver, some superglue, a drill bit and increased the aperture by two or three stops using this very detailed article by Mark Hahn.

By default, all Holgas only have one aperture – despite the switch. The switch only puts an arm with a hole in front of the “default” aperture of around f10 (give or take half a stop). I guess the plan at Tokina (makers of Holga) was to put a different aperture bit onto the arm. Ever since Holga went into production, they er… “forgot”.

Never mind, we can do this ourselves with only 30mins of work and get a lifetime of enjoyment out of it. f10 isn’t huge, and I always wanted something bigger like f5.6 or even f4. It won’t be enough for indoor shots without flash, but it WILL be enough for outdoor shots even when the sun is hiding.

So far, I’ve only modified one camera to see if it works, and I’ve just developed two rolls of fresh Velvia. The film is still wet as I type, but I have to say it looks rather great to the naked eye. Scans coming soon!

Next week, my plan is to make a video of how to modify them – so stay tuned for another Pinkstone Pictures production.

Panorama Shoot-Out, Part 7: Fisheye Holga

Wcimg3108.jpghen the colour-splash Holga came out, I knew I had to have one! It had a tripod mount and a bulb setting too – nowadays the standard for Holgas – but it wasn’t pre 2006. This one also has a glass lens, and a dedicated 6×6 gate.

Lomography were selling it for a lot more than eBay seller “uranium-99″. Although I usually stay away from items shipped in from Hong Kong, I gave it a go – and was extremely happy with his service. I ordered many other Holga related items from him since then.

To make my shots more interesting, I ordered Lomography’s Fisheye adaptor. Having used their 35mm Fisheye 2 camera for many years, loving the close-up look and warped images, I imagined amazing results with added Holgalicity. How right I was!

Since it’s not that easy to mount the adaptor (you have to screw two bolts into the focussing ring), it has since then become my permanent Fisheye Holga, delivering excellence in weirdo-imagery whenever it tickels me.

For panoramas, I suppose you have to get “up-close and personal” with your subjects to really make an image standout. I imagine them to be just a series of circle-ish images stuck together, and I didn’t have high hopes for this camera to become a sterling panorama candidate. Nevertheless, I gave it a go.

It didn’t help that the day I popped a few rolls of expired Kodak EPP into my heavy-lensed friend, it was very overcast. Not good Holga weather. But, the local fun fair was in town, and I thought what the hell.

This Holga gave me some excellent results in the bright sunny conditions of Las Vegas in 2007 – I love it dearly, and the Fisheye adaptor is now its permanent lens. I’m not going to give it bad remarks for dark pictures. I have to admit that I’ve not used it as close up as I normally would have. What I do see though is that the subjects 20 yards away won’t come out the way I want them to – i.e. up close and personal. Probably to be expected with a super wide lens.

I love the circular images it produces, but stuck together to make up a larger picture, I can’t quite see this as a good panorama contestant. Sorry, Fisheye Holga – you’re out of the Panorama Contest!

Tell you what: if there’s room in the suitcase, you can come with me ;-) I always need a whacky Fisheye friend, especially when the weather is good.

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Panorama Shoot-Out, Part 6: Diana (with Endless Panorama gate)

cimg3105.jpgOne of the super funky features Lomography have introduced in their Diana+ is the Endless Panorama gate. It makes it possible for you to shoot square pictures with no overlap and minimal space in between.

Now that could DYNAMITE!

I grabbed a couple of rolls of Fuji RMS and made my way over to Camden on a sunny lunch hour. We were taping the big finale of Britain’s Biggest Loser that day, which inspired me to have a salad from Pret, which happens to be just next to Camden Lock.

It was very sunny outside, but not blazing. So I’ve pushed the RMS to 400 ASA and used the largest aperture Diana had to offer. Let’s have a look:

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These results though speak for themselves. Endless Panorama makes your shots look like they come from the Supersampler, another one of my plastic favourites. The lack of overlaps has its advantages, and I absolutely love it.

I like the overall look of the Diana lens too, and the fact that the back doesn’t threaten to fall off all the time. There are plenty of accessories to keep your shots interesting and keep you playing for years. I like Diana!

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However, for what I want to do for the upcoming Miami Beach Huts shoot, I really want the individual shots to blend together – like Pink Holga does so beautifully. I’m sure we’ll find another great application for Diana+ and her super gate very soon.

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Diana is still in the race though – and most certainly has secured her spot in the suitcase already. It won’t be my main camera for the project, but I wouldn’t want to be caught without her.

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RUNNER UP:

Diana+ and her Endless Panorama Gate

OVERALL WINNER:

we’ll find out soon…

Cross Processed in E6

The other day I tried my hand at cross-processing some colour negative film in Tetenal Colortec E6. The results are remarkable! Looks like I’ve been back to 1952 for a bit.

I’ve tried it the other way round before (slide film in C-41), which also looks rather funky (or shall we say lomographic?)

So here they are, four panoramas shot with my Yellow Holga. Enjoy!

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Gourmet Veggie Burger and Chips at The Ice Wharf, Camden

I’ve reviewed the beef burger from the latest Wetherspoon Menu, with which they give you a burger with chips and a drink for only £5.10. I’ve only just realised that for £1.59 more, they give you a GOURMET variation of their cheap-o meal, and I couldn’t pass the opportunity over.

The Veggie Burger is a great alternative to a hunk of mashed cow. Contrary to popular belief, humans CAN survive without a dead animal between their teeth three times a day. I was as surprised as you are! What surprised me more is the great feeling I get by not subconsciously thinking “I wonder what he thought before they electrocuted him”.

I’ve been having more and more vegetarian meals since a couple of weeks, which may or may not have coincided with the arrival of our new Kenwood Food Processor and a variety of smoothies we made. Somehow I just don’t fancy meat anymore. Good!

The Ice Wharf is a Wetherspoon Freehouse, very large on the inside, it’s music-free and is situated by the vibrant Camden Lock. The area has recently been redeveloped, and you can even sit outside and get smashed by the water. Brilliant! But back to the actual meal review…

Gourmet Veggie Burger - £6.59 with drink
Gourmet Veggie Burger - £6.59 with drink

The Burger comes with everything it says on the menu:

Stacked high on a soft bun (smaller than a DVD), there’s tomatoes, onions, a tiny bit of lettuce, a big flat mushroom (grilled to perfection), and a generous dollop of Levi Root’s Reggae Reggae Sauce – new to me as well, and not as spicy as I had expected. Very nice though.

In between all this we find a patty made of puy lentils, sweet corn and cheese, in a batter. Really filling, and very nice indeed. We also find three of the (exactly) 6 onion rings I had missed at first glance. It’s all held together with a giant toothpick, served with chunky chips which – like on my last visit – could have benefitted from another couple of minutes in the deep fryer.

It comes with a choice of alcoholic pint size drinks or coke/water/coffee/tea – ready in about 10 minutes. Goes to prove you CAN have a decent meal for much less than a tenner on the high street these days.

VERDICT:

Although not “the perfect dream burger”, this baby gets the highest remarks for value. £6.59 includes a pint of beer or cider, it’s delicious and filling – recommend it to your friends today. We’ve tried a similar meal in another Wetherspoon’s Pub in Wood Green, and the quality across the brand is consistent.

113 Thumbs Up from this reviewer!

Panorama Shoot-Out, Part 5: Yellow Holga

Logic dictates that every Holga should produce pretty much the same outcome. But then, logic and Holga don’t mix – so I went and shot a few rolls on my Yellow Holga. Maybe he’s the lucky one to win a trip to the land of beach huts in July…?

cimg3106.jpgColoured Holgas not only look super funky, they also make it easy to distinguish what you’re doing with them. I tend to use the Yellow Holga primarily for 35mm, with or without dedicated gate.

Multiple Holgas in your arsenal also means you can have more than one film on the go: You could have one for black and white, and one for colour neg. Or you could have two different films both on standby in different Holgas, so you don’t have to finish a roll first. It’s also a great way to have several Holgas loaded, if you have to take plenty of shots quickly and don’t have time to reload your little friend.

I found shooting a roll of panoramas takes about one minute, but unloading and reloading your Holga takes about 3 – which means you might miss what you actually want to shoot. Use the time you’re sitting in a cafe, or when the sun’s hiding behind that annoying cloud instead.

Back to the task at hand:

For this test, I’ve used Kodak Ektachrome EPP 100 (yellow being the Kodak colour – easy to remember). It was a fairly sunny day, with occasional cloud cover. It was enough to see if the expired EPP was still up to the challenge, and to see how Yellow Holga handles panoramas.

See for yourself:

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This is IMG in Chiswick. That weird ghosting thing in the picture is my finger in front of the lens…

I’m pleased from this as much as my other Holgas, apart from the harsh overlaps. Only the magic Pink Holga seems to blend images well so far – maybe we’ll find out why later in the series.

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So the question remains: Which of my Pastic Fantastic Cameras will win a trip to Miami, and travel the beach with sunshine, sand and the ocean?

We’ll find out soon ;-)

Panorama Shoot-Out, Part 4: Diana (without a gate)

The lovingly recreated Diana+ by Lomography is the ugly duckling in my collection.

However, looks can be deceiving; I’ve had some excellent results with this baby since I bought it last year.In fact, it’s slowly becoming my favourite plastic camera!

Lomography have added some funky bits to the package, like the possibility to shoot 3 different formats: original square images (16 square 4cm), full frame images (aprox. 5.2×5.2cm) and endless panoramas! Pop in a different gate and start shooting.

That means I have to test both options here: images without a gate, making the images look blended into each other on the sides. Or, pop in the Endless Panorama gate, which means that the images have only a little to no gap or overlap between them. Both very attractive options.

First, Diana’s NO-GATE option:

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Not too shabby, is it? This by the way in MTV in Camden.

I’ve taken plenty of them, using some Fuji RMS (pushed by two stops on a very bright day), as well as some on Fuji T64 Tungsten on a rather overcast day. Needless to say, the latter came out RUBBISH – although I pushed them by two stops. T64 is dark, blueish and has limited colour scope. Let’s stay away from anything lower than 100 ASA in the future, shall we?

Bottom line:

I like the ones from the sunny day, although I do see a rather harsh overlap between images.  I’d prefer a more blended look. But then: is that the actual camera, or would more sun get rid of this problem?

All I know, Pink Holga does it beautifully – and Diana (with no gate) doesn’t. Next!

We’ll be back for Diana when we pop in the Endless Panorama gate.

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