Not only does Trev Lee enthuse and immerse himself in film photography full-time with his job at The Darkroom Lab, but he also shares his love for analogue with his family, including his daughter Stevie. At only four-years-old, little Stevie is learning all about how to take a step back and compose a photograph as well as the art of being intentional with just a few frames. Recently Trev guided his daughter from 35 mm photography to shooting medium format with the colorful Diana F+ CMYK!
Hi Trev, welcome back to Lomography Magazine! Can you tell us a bit about what you've been up to since your last feature?
We moved from California to Ohio, which, when it comes to photography, has changed many things. I have a few projects I've been working on but mainly just try to document everyday life with my wife Hannah and daughter Stevie as those are the photos and memories I was to see and remember many years down the road. I try to involve Stevie in that process and the older she gets the more interested she is, which I love!
What made you decide to pick up the Diana F+ for you and your daughter Stevie to share?
Stevie has been using a variety of cameras over the past couple years, she started out with disposable, as well as Lomography Simple Use cameras, which have helped her learn framing, how to keep her hand out of the way of the lens and flash, and most of all, quality over quantity, since we basically encourage her to just take one photo, two at the most, and then set it down because of the limited amount of frames. As she got better with all of that and learned to handle the cameras with care, I started to let her use point-and-shoots, as well as a Canon Rebel SLR, but never a medium format camera until I saw the Diana F+ CMYK and knew that she would absolutely love the colors. She was amazed that such a camera existed as she'd, outside of her disposable and Simple Use cameras, only ever seen mainly black and silver cameras.
It's great that Stevie shares a love for photography with you! Does she usually use analogue cameras? How did she get started in doing so?
Stevie does on rare occasions take photos with our iPhones but we try to limit her exposure to iPhones/tablets so most of the photos she takes are with a film camera. I think her interest in photography initially started because she's seen me with a camera ever since she can remember, but also, she is very creative and loves to draw and make things so she was a natural with the camera. She has a few fake cameras as well as a broken camera that she likes to play with and I often see her framing and acting like she is taking photos of her cats, her room, toys, etc. And when she actually shoots film, she knows she has to wait for the photos, which is so cool to me and then she's also excited to see the photos once I get the darkroom scans!
What was the experience like when having Stevie shoot with the Diana F+?
The Diana F+ is more challenging than other cameras she has used because it has zone focusing and the film advance is more complicated, so I am a bit more involved in the process and help her set the focus and choose the aperture based on the scene/subject. Then I just let her do her thing, decide what she wants to photograph, frame, and once she takes the photo, I'll help her advance the film. She also likes waiting for the paper backing dots and looks for the next number. Sometimes she accidentally takes a photo of nothing as she likes the sound of the springy shutter but I explain to her that every photo counts and she only has twelve, so it's a good learning experience for her.
Can you tell us a bit about what she decided to shoot?
She mainly likes to photograph people and she will direct as well. For instance, she'll tell my wife Hannah and I to hug or kiss for a photo which is so cute. She not only likes to photograph friends and family but on occasion people she just met and knows that she needs to ask first. She also loves to photograph her cats as well as her toys which she often asks people to hold (you can see this in one of the photos of me where she had me hold my camera and her "rainbow cat" toy.)
Any advice for the parents in our community that want to share their love of analogue with their kids?
Disposable or Lomo Simple Use cameras are great to start with as they are simple to use and cheap so it's not a big deal if they drop and break it. I'd explain they have a limited amount of photos so the goal is to take one or two. I'd also recommend to lead by example by not constantly being behind your own camera instead of engaging with your child and what you are doing together. This is also a good practice to be more present, yourself.
Overall, just encourage them to have fun and be sure to show them the photo they took, especially in print as the kids rarely see physical prints.
Do you think you and Stevie will continue shooting with the Diana F+?
At the moment, it will be more of a special occasion camera as it is still a more involved process compared to a simple point-and-shoots. For now, simple use cameras will be the go to as she is very comfortable with them but on occasion when we go on a photowalk, I'll load up the Diana F+ and like we did for the photos in this article, it'll be a collaborative project where she taking some and I take some— often times, the photos I take are per her request.
Anything else you'd like to share?
Working for The Darkroom, I love seeing younger generations get into film as it is such good change of pace from the digital world we live in. It has been fun to raise my daughter mainly on analogue as she knows her way around a film camera more than a digital one which I think is so cool and valuable!
You can find Trev's Instagram reel of him and Stevie working with the Diana F+ here.