Because of the internet, everything apparently has a day dedicated to it. Based on what I’ve seen, a day devoted to toy cameras and their use is not even remotely the most frivolous misuse of precious bandwidth out there. So, naturally, on 18 October I took it upon myself to participate in World Toy Camera Day; having many cameras, some of which are toys, this was not really a hard decision.
The two that went with me were my new Holga 135 Pan, recently introduced here, and my far older Kodak Brownie Hawkeye Flash, complete with reversed lens for extra toyness (yes, that’s a word…at least here it is). I shot B&W in the Hawkeye – a roll of Fomapan 200 – and color in the Holga – some mildly past-date Kodak Gold 200. The chosen venue was a local farmer’s market, held on the grounds of an old estate that is now a historic property open to the public.
The grounds are also home to occasional sculpture installations. These are not exactly in keeping with the character of the Federalist architecture and formal gardens, but they’re there, so I took pictures of them. It’s what I do.
Fall colors are still in evidence around here, and predictably played a part in the color photos. The Holga produces an interesting sort of color rendition; I prefer the look of the Gold 200 against the Fuji Superia 200 I’ve tried in it, but then that’s true of most cameras.
The reversed lens of the Hawkeye offers reasonable center sharpness, with an abrupt transition to distortion that quickly becomes pronounced toward the edges and corners. It’s a fun effect to play with every now and again. The Fomapan 200 is not my favorite film, but this is probably more due to a lack of satisfactory results with Caffenol than the fault of the film itself. I had to push this roll a stop, as the light was fairly weak due to the low October sun and a persistent layer of thick cloud.
There’s something very liberating about toy cameras; you just compose and shoot – there simply aren’t any other options. Sometimes taking out the toys is hard to do – there are so many more capable options on the shelf (OK, shelves) – but the toys deserve some attention too. So good for you, WTCD creators, for compelling the often-far-too-serious photographers of the world to get out there and play, if only for a little while.