Today's guest blogger is a good friend of mine, Christine Zona (www.czona.com). She has been getting more and more attention for her daring and beautiful work with toy cameras, and I consider her an expert in the field. Not only did she sign a contract with Urban Outfitters after winning their Urban Nomad competition, her toy camera photographs have won juried spots in international contests, and are currently on display at Cafe Royal in San Francisco. Her work celebrates the beauty of imperfection, and really captures that perfect balance of spontaneity and incredibly strong composition. Here's what she has to say... When Jesse asked me to guest write on his blog about toy cameras I was so stoked. There is nothing I love more than photographing with my army of plastic cameras!  Yes, an army, I own over 30 and I am always looking to expand my collection. Toy cameras, like the Holga, represent the basics of photography.  For those of you who don’t know, a plastic camera only has a few ‘technical’ options:

2 shutter speeds: 1/125 or bulb

2 apertures: sunny (F11), and cloudy (F8)

4 focusing ranges: one person, three people, many people, and landscape

(very, very technical, hope you are still following along)

These limited options whittle you down to the core of photography: capturing images.  It’s not about megapixels, HD video, expensive lenses, fancy digital backs.  It’s about you and your subject.  So many people think that because they own the best digital camera kit they are guaranteed to take amazing photographs.  It’s just not true. People make photographs, not cameras.  And that’s what toy cameras are all about. Their mechanical simplicity tear down the walls of our digital world, and force people to live more in the moment.  While most digital photographers are pushing buttons, jumbling lenses, and staring at every picture they just took, toy camera users are taking in their environment and capturing pictures that someone gazing down at their screen may have missed.  It’s so freeing, and that is why I am so drawn to them.

The toy camera underground cult is now taking over the world of photography with stores, blogs, competitions, magazines, and books.  The vignettes and dreamy-like quality have everyone in a craze. Everywhere I look I see something related to it.  Besides the rising prices, I think it’s great!!  It is supporting film, and bringing more business to local processing labs.  As a result, this form of photography is getting more respect and is starting to be seen as a professional way to photograph.  One company that supports professional photographers that use the Holga as their medium of creative expression is Holga Inspire.  It is a great organization and they strive to “reinvigorate classic photography and inspire creative originality.”  I suggest everyone check them out.  You can even find me on the resource page.

Here are a few more of my favorite toy camera resources:

Light Leaks

Michelle Bates ‘Plastic Cameras: Toying with Creativity’

Don’t Think Just Shoot

Lomography Film Shop

Four Corners Store

Below is a collection of photographs from a few of my favorite toy cameras.  To view my full portfolio, feel free to visit my website, www.czona.com