The Persistence of Memory
Good photography was one of the priorities for our wedding, and I think we spent about double for the photographer than we did for my dress. We met with several people who claimed to understand what we were looking for, but none of them truly did. Then we met Melinda. She understood that we wanted a photo-journalistic approach, something more artsy than staged. As a result, we have two huge albums filled with honest and poignant shots of the day.
But one of my very favorite photos was taken by a guest with an average camera. It's blurred, overexposed, out-of-focus, and off-kilter. And I love it so much. It captures something that I have been trying to put into words for the last six years. I think it's what memories look like. It reminds me of a photo you'd find in an old attic, and then marvel at how these people -- alive years ago -- look so young. It looks like a photograph taken through glass, and reminds me of "Nightswimming" by R.E.M. It's somehow melancholy and comforting all at once.
I love photographs in general and want to know more about taking them. I want to learn how to take better photos, and I know that a minimum level of technical knowledge goes with that. (Even if, like this lovely lady, I just want to play.) I tend to have a general impatience for learning technical things, even though I'm proficient at them once I've pushed through my desire for instant gratification. I should probably learn how to use the settings on my digital camera, or even figure out what different types of film are and why they're used.
What I really want is to create photo-art that evokes emotion and meaning. So I'm thinking about buying a Diana or Holga camera. Are you familiar with either of these? From what I understand, the Holga is a newer version of the Diana, but they're made by different manufacturers. They're both cheap, poorly made, middle format (what is that?) cameras that let in light and distort pictures. They create some beautiful art effects like vignetting and blur.
The playfulness and surprise results of such a camera excite me. Part of the reason I love the image above is that it was a fluke. I guess I'm looking to create intentional flukes, as ironic as that seems.
Can anyone recommend which to get: the Diana or Holga? What else should I know about them? Homemade modifications to the cameras seem to be a big part of the sub-culture. Are they necessary to get interesting photos? Please share in the comments.