Our friends at Brannigan and Follen Photo Haus 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 Taisim Hsu took the class and captured these beautiful black-and-white images, layering objects for a multiple exposure effect.
How did you come across the Diana Workshops? Was that the first time you tried analog photography?
My mom mentioned it to me. First, it was the summer camp they offered, which was free and focused on instant cameras. A few of my friends were doing it too, so I already knew some participants. So I first did that and it was really fun and I got a bunch of pictures from it. For Christmas, I once got an instant camera. That’s when I started to take just random photos with it but I didn’t really do much with it. When I was younger I had a digital camera, which I used to take some photos [as well].
I knew the classes were led by the same people as the summer camp, so I knew them and knew they are fun people and good teachers. I also like trying new things and this class focused on a new camera, so I thought learning about a [new] film camera would be cool. I had never really seen the process of it and to actually do it all myself sounded cool. And it was — they taught us about the camera, how to put the film in the camera and to not expose it to light because that would hurt the negatives.
Do you remember the first roll you shot on the Diana? Did the photos all come out like you imagined them to look or were there some surprises?
I do! It came out pretty well. It was just a bunch of pictures of my friend at a playground. I remember thinking it was really cool and I was super proud of myself because I did that all myself. I think there were [some surprises] because I didn’t really think about what I was taking pictures of. I just took pictures of random stuff. So it was cool to see how they looked in the end because I didn’t really know how they would come out.
Looking back now at the first roll you took and the latest one, do you see any changes in either the process of taking photos or your results?
Yes, I think so. Now, I think, the pictures are a little bit clearer. And of course, over time I got more and more used to all the settings on the Diana, while in the beginning I sometimes forgot about them. So that got easier over time.
Do you also take a lot of photos with your phone? What’s the difference for you?
Yes, I do! I think the difference is, on your phone you can just take a bunch of photos and can do filters and all that until you get exactly what you want. But with film, you kind of just have to take it and hope it comes out. And you can take it a bunch of times of course, but then you would just have a whole roll of film with essentially just one picture, and you don’t really want that. I think it is more of chance with the Diana, while with your phone you can just take photos whenever and wherever you want. And I think there is less detail in the phone, depending on the quality of the camera and phone of course.
You said before that you didn’t know about the process of photography or film. Now having learned about it, is that something that has become important to you?
Yes, I think it’s cool because it is more physical and more involved, it feels more personal with film than a digital camera. You know you did it yourself.
Do you have a favorite photograph you took and can you tell us why?
One of my favorite photos I took was a multiple exposure photo. It was a self-portrait and then a picture of my feet and it looked really cool. That’s probably my favorite photo I took. In general, I do like to experiment with the camera and film, like multiple exposures. It’s a way of finding out new things that I like to take pictures of and new techniques.
You basically grew up with Instagram. What Instagram and the Diana have in common is the square format. When it comes to composing your photo, do you think it is easier for you to do that format?
That is hard to say as I haven’t really shot any other format. Besides Instagram, I really only shoot with the Diana so I am super used to the square format. But if someone would give me a 35mm camera, I probably would think about composition and the format more.
What’s next for you in the photography world? Anything, in particular, you’re looking forward to trying next?
I do want to try a professional digital camera next because I like the quality of it and it’s just something I haven’t really used.
The next kids spring show, featuring Simi's photographs is coming up Friday May 3rd from 6-9pm at the Beauty Shoppe, in Cleveland.