NPR logo

Loving the Imperfections of Toy Cameras

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5020856/5020927" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Loving the Imperfections of Toy Cameras

Art & Design

Loving the Imperfections of Toy Cameras

Loving the Imperfections of Toy Cameras

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5020856/5020927" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Thanks to digital technology, it's become progressively easier to take perfect pictures. But not everyone strives for perfection — a growing community of photographers is becoming attached to the simplicity and imperfections of what they call "toy cameras."

These cameras, with names like Holga, the Diana-F and the Lomo Action Sampler, are cheaply made plastic devices.

A plastic toy Diana-F camera -- a favorite of "lightleak" photography fans. Tracy Wahl, NPR hide caption

toggle caption Tracy Wahl, NPR

A plastic toy Diana-F camera -- a favorite of "lightleak" photography fans.

Tracy Wahl, NPR

Photo of a mask taken with a toy camera, with distinctive "light leak" highlights adding to the mystery... Theresa Manzanares hide caption

toggle caption Theresa Manzanares

Photo of a mask taken with a toy camera, with distinctive "light leak" highlights adding to the mystery...

Theresa Manzanares

There's even a new magazine devoted to the cameras, Light Leaks, which glorifies the biggest flaw of the toy camera: light often leaks through the plastic casing onto the film, creating odd halo effects and other moments of visual serendipity.

Photographer Theresa Manzanares describes why she loves her toy cameras.

Related NPR Stories

We no longer support commenting on NPR.org stories, but you can find us every day on Facebook, Twitter, email, and many other platforms. Learn more or contact us.