Cameras | Need To Now

The camera that thinks it’s a sardine can

An in-store celebration of a coolly retro camera

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The camera that thinks it’s a sardine can

July 29 2011
Victoria Woodcock

A boat, of sorts, in a department store, manned by kitschy sailor-styled staff, all armed with old-school cameras and rolls of film: this is Selfridges’ latest in-store shop, open for three weeks of sea-inspired fun, courtesy of cool-as-you like old-school Lomography cameras.

Lomography has reinvented the old-school film model in a range of retro cameras with an emphasis on creative effects, and in doing so has become synonymous with that super-hip, colour-saturated, blurry-round-the-edges aesthetic that’s so prevalent at the moment (see second picture). Lomographs, they say, are “characterised by ever-changing variables such as the mysterious vignettes that frame the shot, light leaks, lo-fi grain, beautiful blurs, the magical balance of contrast and saturation”. There’s the Spinner 360º camera (£85), which spins to take in all angles, a fisheye model (from £39) and the very dinky, medium-format Diana F+ (£79).

What has the sea theme got to do with the cameras, though? Sailors – striped tops, deck shoes and rockabilly-style tattoos – are, of course, currently as cool as Lomography, but the official link is Lomography’s latest offering, La Sardina, a range of quirky-looking cameras posing as a sardine cans (first picture, from £49), among fishy consumables. While it may look like a toy, it is in fact a fully functioning 35mm camera equipped with a wide-angle lens and multiple-exposure capabilities by way of a rewind dial.

At Selfridges, you can see what all the fuss is about by taking on a First Mate Workshop – borrow a camera for an hour for £1 (leave your credit card as a deposit) and off you go to shoot a roll of film. The fake tattoo is optional; so are the tug of war and the arm wrestling on offer.