Design and custom metallic gold screenprinting on photographic prints for a plastic camera exhibition by Keith Carlsen.

In the age of all things precise and digital, it was time to take a step back—to take a break from the 50-pound camera pack, the pelican cases of lighting gear, hard drives, and the torment of anything less than a “perfect image.” For this show, I shifted my focus away from big glass and megapixels and looked at life through the lo-fi plastic lenses of Holga and Diana Cameras.

As a professional photographer who converted mainly to digital in 2004, these two 120mm film cameras remained a constant in my life. Both medium format throwbacks were produced in the ’60s (Diana) and ‘80s (Holga) in China and originally given away as prizes and novelties at carnivals across America. But by the mid-’80s, photographers and artists had adopted the two cameras into their quiver of “professional” gear.

Adored for their unpredictable results, light leaks, and square format, both cameras have now become cult classics. Personally, I enjoy how people react to the Holga & Diana with playful laughter, inanimate objects come to life, and the moments in life that usually come and go without notice, become art.

Combining new work from the past few months—along with the best of my last five years of Holga & Diana camera photographs—I’m proud to present: Ho Gwong & Diana, A Plastic Camera Photo Exhibit.

—Keith Carlsen (2008)


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