I stumbled across a cool effect a few weeks ago, which I mentioned in a previous ‘On the Web’ post (link here). Very dreamy distortion at the edges, and nothing particularly sharp. About as anti-modern, anti-digital as you can get!
Ever the impatient one, I couldn’t simply wait to find a Brownie Hawkeye Flash camera to get the same effect. I’ve always avoided those cameras like the plague, because they don’t seem very useful or worth the trouble. I do like the effect however…so I started digging through my collection of almost-trash photo gear, and stumbled across a Vivitar T100 plastic camera.
The camera is incredibly simple, no electronics except for a hot shoe, plastic lens, and is gloriously “focus free”! Says it right there on the front! Finally, a way to avoid that pesky focusing step in photography. No shutter speed adjustment, no aperture adjustment; sounds a bit like a Holga, doesn’t it? You pick your film speed and shoot in a very limited set of conditions. Roughly f/11 and shutter speed of 1/125.
This camera was originally sent to me by a guy who goes by “efo” on flickr.com. He had a project going where he would send people a free camera (mostly these Vivitars) and see what how well they could do with such limited gear. I posted a few images a couple of years ago, but the project (and my camera) has since been dormant. Until I discovered a description of a modification of this camera, much like the Brownie, where you can flip the lens for dreamy effects (instructions here).
Half an hour later, I had a flipped-lens camera and nothing to shoot. It was night time and I had a very limited shutter/aperture/ISO window to use. But the next few days yielded some interesting images, which you can see below. Much like with a pinhole camera, it pays to choose simple subjects as the blur will render any complexity into utter chaos. I used cheap, expired ISO 400 film, the brand name of which I can’t recall.