film photography

New Video: Andy Hunter - Transition by Simeon Smith

If you follow my blog you probably know how much I work with Andy on the Presence App, a mindfulness / meditation / prayer app for apple and android. 

Here's a video I worked on for the app that has now been released on YouTube. It's probably the most proud I've been of a piece of visual work I've done, and it's a real privilege to be able to set Andy's music to my images.

Have a watch! 

The geeky bit, because I know so many of you love my quirky gear; this was shot using the following cameras and lenses.

  • Pentax Q7  with a 1960s Yashica "D" mount 1.9, 13mm cine lens. 
  • Lomography Lomokino 35mm film video camera.
  • 1980's Lomo 135BC Compact camera with clockwork autoadvance. 
  • Canon 5D mIII, 14mm 1.4

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Holga Week [GALLERY] by Simeon Smith

Every year, around about this time I see someone online using the hashtag #HOLGAWEEK and I think - Bloody hell, has it already been a year?!

Holgas are (usually) medium format plastic cameras, much in the same vein as the Diana. There's a lot of talk online about which one is "better", but that's kind of like asking which is a "better" car for F1, an Citroen C1 or a Peugeot 107; they're both practically the same level of crap. 

I love shooting with these cameras though, and was a bit disappointed I only had time to put one roll of film through the Holga during official #HOLGAWEEK. 

Here are some photos from that roll:

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The Lomography Diana Is A Shit Camera for Street Photography And That Is Exactly Why You Should Use It For This Purpose. by Simeon Smith

Diana Instant Square Review by Simeon Smith

Superwide Boat 2.jpg
Superwide Swansea Castle.jpg

This is one of the first pictures I took on Lomography’s new Diana Instant Square. Swansea Castle, originally built in 1107, curves around the edges of the wide angle shot with the eyesore of the early 70s BT tower standing just behind it, and I stand here, in 2018, taking photos of the seagulls circling the scene. 

Superwide Shadow.jpg

Swansea, my home town, much like the Diana camera, is lost in time. Swansea, like the Diana, resists calls to modernise, instead adopting creatives that don’t quite fit in. Like me. And if you’re reading this article, probably also like you.  

And that’s right, you don’t buy a Diana camera, it adopts you.*

Superwide Boat.jpg

The new Diana Instant Square is the latest in a line of recreations of the 1960s plastic camera from Lomography, and there have been many. And you could call me a bit of a Diana fanboy as I’ve shot on MANY of these cameras, from original, slow, 1960s models all the way through to the new 35mm and 110 film iterations from Lomography.

Fisheye Lindsey.jpg

In a moment of genius when Lomography re-released the Diana 25 years ago they made a number of lenses for it, and this really enhances the pallet of this camera. Sure, the original 70mm plastic meniscus lens is a classic, but the new lenses expand the horizons, and can be used on the new Instant Square Body. The 38mm Super-Wide is by far my favourite providing some tasty lens distortion to the dreamy, sometimes swirly images. Just as with the original, the smallest apertures on the camera give reasonably sharp images for a plastic lens, but as you widen the aperture to let more light into the camera, the images get softer.

Telephoto Couple.jpg

Shooting with this camera was so much fun that by the time The Official Shoot came around, my models turned up and I only had a couple of packs of film left. Luckily, I have one of the little adapters that lets you mount the Diana lenses to your DSLR, this let me try out different shots with the lenses before committing them to the instax film, and while I much, much prefer working with film, this hybrid approach lets me keep work affordable.  

Anyhow, the Kickstarter for the Diana Instant Square is now live, and you can pick one up for a discount by backing the project, which is already fully funded,  before July 20th.

Things You Should Know Before You Decide If The Diana Instant Square Is For You. 

Now these things aren’t good or bad. But you should think about them before you get started.  

  • This is a manual camera. As someone who usually shoots in manual this is awesome. I decide the parameters used to take the photo! But if you’re hoping to take some fun instant photos with a flash while drunk at parties and gigs, you might want to get an automatic camera like the brilliant Instant Automat Glass (Oh, look! I reviewed it just here!!
  • It uses Instax Square film. Instax is a good, modern instant film, it’s available widely, and isn’t too expensive. It is currently limited to 800 speed film, and given fujifilm have built their camera systems around the 800 speed film, I can’t see this changing. It’s slightly smaller than old school Polaroid 600 or SX film, but looks great and when properly exposed can be sharp as hell - photos I’ve scanned from Instax Mini retain their great look at 4 times the size. 
  • Set aside some cash. Sure, you can just buy the base camera, but really you’re buying into a camera system. The Diana + range has a number of lenses and accessories and it could get out of hand pretty quickly! You could find yourself buying another lens, then buying a medium format body for the lens you just bought so you can try different films, then buying a 35mm back for the body you just bought… all the while also buying film for the camera. For my money, the Super-Wide lens is a must, and if you don’t already have a medium format Diana body, you can pick them up pretty cheaply… so maybe factor this into the cost.

I’m positively evangelical about how great these plastic cameras can be, and with this new kickstarter I’m looking forward to welcoming more photographers to the Church of Diana.


Massive thanks to Lindsey and Dan for modelling for me. 

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Lake Garda, Revisited. by Simeon Smith

No, unfortunately I haven’t been back to Italy in the past few weeks, but there’s this weird thing with experimenting with plastic film cameras, and that is that sometimes the experiments don’t work and instead of throwing away the images, you shrug, and clip them into a binder with the rest of your negatives, for no reason whatsoever.

And years later come across them and think - I wonder what is actually ON those negatives.


I went to Lake Garda 3 years ago, and took a Holga 120TLR, which I since swapped for a bog standard Holga 120N (If it ain’t broke, don’t add a waist-level viewfinder), and a Lomography La Sardina 35mm point and shoot. 

The Holga shots came out beautifully, so beautifully in fact that one of them was selected by my Kickstarter backers to be the print they received with my book “Every Shot Matters”. 


The La Sardina photos, though, didn’t really come out at all. I’d found a batch of expired Boots iso400 colour film and thought it’d suit the Sardina really well, but it was crazy sunny and bright every day in Italy, and the Sardina is fixed at f8. So the negatives mostly came out overexposed, and because the film base had darkened so much in the 15-odd years since it had expired, the automatic scanner at Neil’s place didn’t take them. Also, the negatives were scratched to high hell for some reason, maybe old brittle glue around the edges of the old canisters? My home scanner, also couldn’t pick up the images, and holding them up to a light revealed a very sorry sight indeed, so I put the negatives  away and forgot about them. 

With the Holga shots coming out so very well, I wasn’t in the mood for a salvage job on some shitty negatives.


Fast-forward 3 years. 

Today it has been drizzly. I’m home alone with the kids, who haven’t wanted to do anything much apart from watch Youtube and play card games. We tidied the house, we popped out in the drizzle to run a couple of errands. 

You know the kind of Saturday. 


The perfect Saturday to spend painstakingly masking off each individual frame that you think might work from ruined negatives from a trip you took 3 years ago. 

I hope you enjoy the images as much as I’ve enjoyed revisiting Garda. 

All photos shot to shitty and very-expired Boots brand colour film on a Lomography La Sardina.