Our friends at Brannigan and Follen Photo Haus in Cleveland, Ohio, have been working on the wonderful The Diana Project - a film photography program for kids. In the class, kids were given a Diana F+ camera and taught the techniques photography as well as developing film.
13-year old Isabella Craun was one of them and created a wonderful black and white series, capturing light and everyday objects in interesting angles. On her very first trip to New York City, Isabella stopped by our Lomography Gallery Store and talked to us about her work and first experience with film photography.
I am Isabella Craun and a word that describes me is mathy. I love photography, math, and my adorable kitten. I am in the eighth grade, and some things you probably wouldn't know about me are: that I can speak and write a lot of Chinese; I have been playing the flute for four years; and I love the '90ies. I believe in girl power, and that caticorns exist. I am also a complete nerd and my favorite book is, without doubt, Pride and Prejudice.
How did you discover photography?
I did a photo class in a summer camp for a week and I borrowed my grandma’s camera for that. It was a digital photo class, though. Later on, I took another class in which we were working with instant film, before finally taking a class on film photography this semester, in which we were working with the Diana camera.
Are there any of your photos you think only work that well because they are black and white?
It was interesting photographing light with it. Which is something I really like to take photos of. In some of the photos, I think the light and shadow contrasts came out stronger because it was black and white.
Coming from digital via instant photography to film photography. How did you like that aspect of film photography?
I don’t really find the whole photo developing part that enjoyable. I feel like the photos in the end came out similar, whatever the process was.
So your photos always come out the way you want them to, no matter whether you shoot on film or digital?
Pretty much, yes.
Did the format make a difference for you? Coming from rectangle to square?
Not really. I already knew that format from my phone. I am used to switch between rectangle and square on my phone, so it wasn’t really anything new for me.
How did you choose your motifs?
Sometimes I just thought, oh this is a pretty landscape, let me take a photo of it. Other times I really thought about what I wanted to do. I was mostly interested in capturing light, because that’s just something I like right now. And I'm also interesting in geometry and puzzle-looking things, like the curly playground thing. It was interesting, because when you look at it from afar, it’s just boring, but with photography you can capture it from interesting angles and make it look cool.
What did you take home from the Diana Project? Anything in particular that you are happy to have learned?
It was cool to learn a new type of photography. I never had known how to use film, and I learned dark room techniques and how to develop.
What do you like most about photography?
A lot of times it is not so much about the creative process, rather than the mathematical approach. I like understanding the camera and settings and trying to figure out what I have to do to get exactly the result I want. Before I take a photo I check all these things, like, how far away am I? What kind of shot do I want? Do I need to zoom in or put on a new lens or something?
Like today, for example, we were walking down the Highline and I saw something that I wanted to capture. Then I would go through all the things I need to do to make this photo happen. And then I take it, a lot of times two or three. If I really want a shot to come out right, I take multiple photos. I could make a mistake but also the film could have defects, so I want to play it safe. And I just don’t like being wrong. (laughs)
What’s your favorite thing to photograph?
I don’t know if I have a particular favorite. I am not a big fan of portraits, though. Especially when they are really straight on, that’s boring to me. I could take photos of people in their everyday life maybe. But in general, I like photographing landscapes and quirky things. Weird ways light is coming in for example.
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