Game writer Samantha Webb impressed us with her range of analogue cameras, so we invited her to share some of her favourite images using the Diana F+ and Sprocket Rocket. She also talked to us about why an ADHD diagnosis became the catalyst for her creativity.
Hi Samantha, please tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi! I’m a professional game writer and narrative designer, and I live in Cambridgeshire with my partner and our miniature dachshund Ciri (one of my favourite photography subjects!) Living in the countryside with a dog, I spend a lot of time outside in nature with one of my many cameras, usually photographing trees!
What made you get into shooting with film?
I actually started shooting with film when I was about 12 – my dad is a keen photographer and he taught me with film originally, and bought me a Minolta SLR to practice with. I shot with a DSLR for many years after that, mainly focusing on travel photography, but started to become a bit disillusioned with the very ‘fastness’ and immediacy of digital that lured us all over in the first place.
When I was diagnosed with ADHD in 2020 – at the same time as dealing with the global pandemic – I wanted to find a new creative hobby that could help to slow me down, and quieten my thoughts. I went through several different pastimes before I came across my old DSLR, and the thought ‘what about going back to film?’ lodged that thought in my mind and here we are!
You shoot a lot with the Sprocket Rocket and Diana F+, what's the appeal of these cameras?
When I looked at returning to film photography, I purposely wanted to treat it as an art rather than a science – I wanted to embrace the imperfections of film, and to feel free to experiment, and to always have a camera with me, in a pocket or in my bag. The Sprocket Rocket and the Diana F+ are perfect for me: they’re both lightweight, easy to use, and I love the light leaks, the vignetting, and the sprockets in the final images.
Would you say these are easy cameras to shoot with?
Definitely! I think if you remember the very basics of photography – things like the rule of thirds, holding the camera steady, and remembering that film loves light! – then these cameras will carry you through the rest. I even used my Diana F+ to shoot my first ever pinhole photography the other day – what other camera can you just pop off the lens and do that with?
What kind of effects and style are you looking for when you shoot with these cameras?
I adore light leaks in my photos, I always get excited when I get them! I love grain as well, and the rawness that comes with film photography – I don’t know what it is, but there’s a magical quality to film that you just don’t get with digital, no matter how many filters you add! When I look at work by other photographers I admire, there’s a certain dreamy, ethereal element to them, and that’s something I’d really like to harness as I become more confident and practised.
If you were to invent a camera or film what would it be and what would it do?
I love looking at the work of astrophotographers, but being able to take images of the night sky like that seems to be very technical and pretty complicated. Maybe there could be a Lomography-inspired ‘star-cam’ that lets you take photos of nebula and other deep sky objects with just a tripod – with the addition of light leaks, vignetting and that lovely, soft haze you sometimes get with the Diana, we could be taking dreamy, otherworldly photos of the universe in no time.
To see more of Samantha's work, visit her Instagram page.