Imagine a world where a talented photographer chooses to use the cheapest camera possible because of the unique way it captures the world. You have just imagined the world of photographer Daniel Grant.
Toy Camera Photographer Daniel Grant utilizes the classic toy cameras – originally produced in the 1960s as promotional give-aways, carnival prizes and children’s toys – to create unique & beautiful portraits of the world around us.
In this day and age, we are bombarded with images from the media that distort truth, create culture for profit, and force ideologies upon society without allowing the luxury of imagination or personal thought.Daniel Grant
These toy cameras have a cult following with photographers, not because of their perfection, but for their lack of precision, control and focus. By taking away the technical aspect of picture making – aperture, shutter speed, etc. – you end up with a simple yet sincere representation of the subject matter.
This also means the true vision of the photographer is made clear, even through a blurry photograph. And you can see that reflected in the works of Daniel Grant.
Three of Daniel Grant’s most important – and most popular – collections are his Homeland, Remembered Landscapes, and My Affair with Diana collections.
Each of these are available as limited editions through our retail partners at Wayfair.
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Daniel Grant Homeland Limited Edition Series
This series of images revisits my Grandmothers stories of, as she would say: “the homeland, where our people are from.” She would describe these incredible foreign places with unbelievable characters and for a minute you could almost smell exotic meals coming from behind stone facades, hear conversations in a familiar but distant languages and feel the heat of summer on your face. I was not fortunate enough to inherit a writer’s wit or my grandmother’s skills of storytelling, but I was able to walk in her footsteps to document these places with my camera for others to recall.Daniel Grant
Each photograph is available only in a limited edition of 50 signed and numbered prints.
Remembered Landscapes Limited Edition Series
There is this: the silence of the hills at dusk and over-ripe persimmons hanging on at the end of a long season. I saw this photograph and wondered at the tenacity of nature. And human beings. How we survive all sorts of conditions and relationships. And how time shapes us and leaves us alone at the end. I saw this photograph and wondered about the rest. About a pilgrimage to an unknown place. A wound healed. A knot untied. A season ended. A story told.Ann Jastrab – All About Photo
The color toy camera images from the series ‘Remembered Landscapes’ are only available in a limited edition of 15 signed and numbered prints.
Daniel Grant My Affair with Diana Limited Edition Series
His series, My Affair with Diana is a pun because the plastic camera he has chosen as his tool is a Diana. But it is also a truth because he really did fall in love with Diana. The images he made with that little box camera with the questionable fixed lens show that tenderness…and also passion and curiosity and a clarity of seeing that maybe only comes when you lose your heart to something. I’m not often a fan of nudes, but there was something about this series that kept me coming back to see what would happen with him and Diana next.Ann Jastrab – All About Photo
The black and white toy camera images from the series ‘My Affair with Diana’ are only available in a limited edition of 25 signed and numbered prints.
The images he produces tell the stories of the experiences that he has had in a unique and wonderful way.
A combination of the soft focus, shallow depth of field, and square format captures an impression of how the event might eventually be recalled instead of creating a sterile record of exactly how something looked at a time.
Daniel Grant’s images remove the filters and provide a unique naivety that allows the audience to complete the image themselves.
These images are meant to create nostalgia and a personal relationship with the photograph without removing the integrity of the subject. Perhaps his approach to photography is not characteristic of most photographers, but to him the images are honest, distinctive and satisfying.
I would agree.
About Photographer Daniel Grant
Daniel Grant’s formative years were spent traveling through the United States, Mexico and Europe, where culture, art and the natural environment made a lasting impression on him.
After spending many years searching for the right way to express his own unique form of storytelling, he found a new way to look at the world through use of vintage, medium format film cameras.
Without formal training as a photographer, Grant searched for the best way to be expressive and to create his own unique form of storytelling. His voice was found through the novel and unique views of the toy cameras: ‘Holga’ and ‘Diana’.
Daniel Grant was recently awarded the ‘best of show’ award in the international photography awards, which will be exhibited in 9 countries.
He was also published in a book embracing the plastic camera medium and PX3: Prix de la Photography Paris Annual Book No. 1. His images have won awards in national exhibitions, and are held in both private and public collections, including the SFMOMA Artists Gallery in San Francisco.
For those who want to try this unique style of toy camera photography, I have good news!
These vintage cameras can be hard to find, but they have become such a cult phenomenon that the two most popular versions have returned to the production and are available once again.
The Holga 120N is BACK!
The Holga camera was initially introduced to the Chinese public, in 1982, as an inexpensive camera for everyday use. Shortly after its introduction, it became an underground artistic phenomena. Using the Holga is an exercise in breaking free from dependence on technology, precision and controllability. The slight softness of the images, vignetting and random light leaks produce dream-like, one-of-a kind images. The current Holga 120N is modeled after the original Holga camera and features the improved usability found in the latest generations.
And there’s a new Diana in Town!
The brand new Diana F+ is a faithful reproduction and a loving homage to the classic Flash Diana – with a few new features tossed in. First off, it includes a retro-styled electronic flash which fires a burst of white or colored light at your subject. Included adapters allow you to use the Diana Flash on standard hotshoe cameras (like the LC-A+ and Fisheye 2) or use a hotshoe flash on Diana F+ body. Its plastic lens, 2 shutter settings (daylight & “B”), 3 aperture settings, and manual focus are all hallmarks of the original Diana. And on top of that, the Diana F+ offers a removable lens and super-small aperture for pinhole images, two image formats (12 or 16 square shots on a standard 120 roll), an endless panorama feature that allows for unlimited and nearly seamless panoramic shots, and both a standard tripod thread & shutter lock for easy shake-free long exposures. Each package includes the new “Diana Vignettes, More True Tales & Short Stories” book – packed with over 200 pages of Diana history, Diana+ images, and truly off-the-wall fictional stories. Uses all varieties of medium format 120 film.
In the end, I think you will agree that Daniel Grant’s unique voice and vision provides a refreshing and beautiful perspective on the world around us.
Something that hearkens back to simpler times, before SnapChat filters and TikTok took over the world and how we see it.