Lady Diana

by Sandra

A couple of years ago now, Mom gave me a Diana camera for Christmas. It’s a pretty simple contraption:  it’s medium format, takes 120mm film and has very crude focus and aperture controls; the camera is basically a plastic toy. I had fun playing around with it, trying to learn how best to take decent pictures with a camera that was decidedly not digital. I couldn’t see what I was doing, in a manner of speaking, making it difficult to gauge my progress.

There was one other problem with this new (new to me) method of photography though—the 120mm film I had was slide film, and though I got a couple of rolls of it developed at a spendy lab nearby, I couldn’t “do” anything with the results, except hold the film strip up to the light and gaze into it to try and see the images that developed. I couldn’t scan them, couldn’t send them to Flickr, couldn’t upload them to a blog, just couldn’t do anything practical with the analog results in an increasingly digital world.

That is, until now.

After some recent research on Yelp, I found a small lab near L.A. City College that not only processed 120mm slide film, but put the images onto a CD for me—thereby eliminating the “well now what do I do with this processed strip of film” problem. The lab gets bonus points in my book for being relatively inexpensive (about $9 a roll for the entire process), though I wish they weren’t so far away from home.

I took in three rolls as a trial run and will at some point go back with the remaining four I have sitting in a plastic bag on my desk. The fun thing about popping each CD in my computer was the joy of finally being able to see the images I tried to take—some as far back as two years ago. They are basic and rough and sometimes dirty, occasionally over-exposed or under-exposed, but ethereal, all of them—some softly focused, full of grain, scratched and light-leaked, vignettes blackening out the corners of the image. Here are a few to give you an example. I can’t wait to see what’s sitting hidden on the remaining rolls …