Tuesday, January 13, 2009


This is Spencer Alley itself, as viewed by the Diana camera that my daughter and son-in-law gave me for Christmas. There has been an extended period of trial and error since Christmas, but today at that excellent San Francisco institution Photoworks I picked up the first pack of prints that contain actual recognizable real-world images. The Diana is like a toy camera, plastic body and a plastic lens. The 120 film that it takes produces a BIG negative, but you have only a very limited ability to focus or to control the light. Consequently, when you shoot a picture you only have the vaguest idea what you are going to get.

An inside view of the Spencer Alley residence, where this sitting room seems to be pretending that today is 1959 instead of 2009. My notes tell me that I held the shutter open for two seconds. This place is pretty dim inside, even on a bright day, and I was mostly concerned that the picture would be too dark. In truth it is overexposed, perhaps not fatally. Next time I will allow for more shadows.

There is a fad for these dorky plastic cameras at the moment. It is fun to see what happens. When you have so little control over what happens.