Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Promotional cameras

I recently had the good fortune of being gifted a Nickelodeon Photoblaster camera from a friend who figured I could use it (um, YEP! Thanks Jake!) While I have yet to use it, I happened on a photo taken by Warren Harold with a Nintendo 64 promotional camera. Proof that the so-called "toy" camera is so much more than that. I strongly recommend perusing Warren's website. There are hundreds of beautiful photographs here, each worthy of their own blog post.

light(ning) in a jar(vase)
Nintendo 64 promotional camera
©Warren Harold

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Plastic Lens

I was sifting through images on a Google search for "toy camera photography" and came across The Plastic Lens, the photography of Cameron Stephen. Just had to share this Polaroid diptych as it really caught my eye...

Wood Louse & Pipes Diptych
Shot with a Polaroid Vision Camera on expired Polaroid 500 integral film
©Cameron Stephen

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Letter From a Fan

Dear Toyeur,

This site is great- but I'm one of those iPhone Hipstamatic fakes! I want in on the action of toy cameras! And yet, I don't know where to start. I go to Urban Outfitters and see shit like this:

but are they legit? This is what I got when searching ebay:

So there's the camera-buying situation, but then there's a film situation. What kind of film to get? Expired seems to be the hip thing, but do you have any other referrals? Indie places to buy/support? What about indie places to get the film developed?

Many questions I know, but I'd like to hop on this band wagon soon!


J.J. Baubeau

Dear J.J.,

Both examples above are "legit" toy cameras, cheesy-as-fuck as that "Wonderland" Diana is. Ugh. I'm sure everyone has differing opinions on the "toy" definition, but here we just have 3 guidelines:
1. No digital, ever. There's plenty of other places for that.
2. Typically, the camera should have a fixed focus, meaning you can't control it, and no F-stop or aperture settings.
3. Most toy cameras have a crappy plastic body.

Of course there are toy camera "mods" where people have made adjustments, and that's fine too, as long as the mechanics are still minimal.

If you need specific examples think Diana, Holga, pinhole, Vivitar, one-use point and shoots, photobooths, Polaroid, I'm sure you get the idea...

For film, use whatever is available to you! I'm no snob when it comes to film. I enjoy experimenting to see what products different films produce. A little internet research will tell you what kind of results you can expect with differing films, but keep in mind that the element of surprise is part of the fun.

And support any photography store local to you. It's the best way to keep film photography alive in your community.