Ben Fraternale's YouTube Channel In An Instant has basically been the hottest virtual club in the instant world of 2020. Hence, it's way overdue that he finally dedicates an episode to the Diana Instant Square. We've seen the Adriano Edition dangling on Ben's chest for a while now but had yet to see images he created with it. Prior to the publication of the review, we asked Ben to share some of his favorite shots and we sat him down for a chat in order to find out how he likes the Diana's unique aesthetic. Spoiler Alert: He's (crazy) in love with her.
Hi Ben, welcome back to the Lomography Magazine. What have you been up to since we last talked about the LomoGraflok?
It’s great to be back, thank you for having me! Since we last talked about the LomoGraflok, life has been pretty uneventful. I got vaccinated, proposed to my girlfriend on Oahu, released a short film, drove 2,000 miles around the southwest, all the while balancing several video productions and tirelessly cranking out YouTube videos about instant film. Life is unbelievably mundane.
What sparked your interest to try out the Diana Instant Square?
Well first of all, would you look at it? I don’t think there’s a more attractive instant camera. I will objectify Diana to no end, but in truth, her power is in the images. I have always had a keen eye on the fascinating results that could be produced with this lens system and finally, a friend nudged me over the edge. I’m forever changed.
Do you remember your first thoughts upon trying it out?
My first reaction was “well jeez, this thing isn’t joking around" - In the pantheon of cameras compatible with Instax film, Diana made it onto my Mt. Rushmore straightaway - the glass lens is ludicrous. It made me want to shoot everything with this look, even stuff I thought I’d shot to pieces already.
You're going big on the vignetting with these shots. Be honest, are you secretly a fan of the old-school 90s Lomography look?
I’m going to proudly burst through this doorway and proclaim I am a fan of the old-school 90s Lomography look. And it’s not something I really expected to adore initially, but this combination of the lens and the square film totally lands for me. The strong vignette for some reason encourages me to shoot at new angles, get more severe with perspective, popping from high up or down low. It almost feels like I’m shooting a 90s music video with an instant camera.
How would you compare the Diana Instant Square to the rest of the available Instant cameras? Where is her place in the instant world?
This I think is one of the most vital aspects of our sweet Diana: she truly has a domain of her own in this industry. When people have inquired with me about it or compared it to other square shooters, the first thing I ask is “have you checked out anyone’s images with it?” Right off the bat, you’ll realize this is offering something wholly unique in a market dominated by a lot of "sameness” - especially when it comes to lensing.
What do you like most about the Diana Instant Square?
I’ve already gone wild about the glass lens and the overall lens system, which is absolutely big for business - so I’ll pick something else. This camera feels incredible to throw around the neck and bop with. If the best camera is the one you have on you, the Diana is an absolute DIME to have on you. I think I have gotten more questions and more curious eyes peering down at my mid-section than ever before. And it isn’t because of my 12-pack abs, it’s because the Diana is preposterously gorgeous. It’s also very, very light, so I can waltz around with her free as a bird in the evening breeze.
You own the Adriano Edition, that's a beauty. Does she have a special place in your apartment?
Very true, the Adriano never sleeps. She's either being used to photograph something or being stared at with unbroken eye contact. Right now she sits in the living room next to a neon sign of a hand making a peace sign and a bunch of cards congratulating us on our engagement. Alas, I never find the time to look at the engagement cards with the beautiful Adriano sitting right there.
We know your videos, we know you're a master of words. If you had to come up with a marketing slogan for the Diana Instant Square what would it be?
We placed 1961, 1991, and 2021 in a blender and the Diana Instant Square came out. We hope you like it!
Anything you want to tell the Lomography Community on here?
Learn everything you can about light, embrace vignetting, understand you live in a society, shoot more instant film, don't leave gear in your car in San Francisco, and please be nice to people!