Darren Riley is an amateur photographer who works almost exclusively with Lomography cameras. We admire this unique style and we’re especially drawn in because of Darren’s consistency in his use of Lomography cameras, something we rarely see done well. We also admire that he pairs the Lomography style with a traditional subject like the British landscape, and it’s this combination which primarily caught our eye.
Darren’s work shows hints of man-made sculptures; left behind, abandoned or left to decay. The lack of human presence in his photographs almost hints towards a post-apocalyptic future, but the warm, almost cosy, beach and countryside scenes are completely juxtaposed to what we normally see portrayed as the ‘post-apocalyptic future’.
I’ve been an amateur photographer for around five years now, ever since buying a Lomography Diana Mini in Munich. I was actually after a digital SLR, but I saw the Mini and ended up going in a completely different direction!
Since then, I generally only shoot with my Lomography cameras and the vast majority of my photographs are taken with the Diana Mini. Occasionally I use an old Nettax medium format camera – it’s a beautiful camera in perfect working order with a crystal clear lens, but I keep getting drawn back to the Mini. I’m not sure why. I think it’s probably because I just know it, and I’ve shot so much with it. Plus, it’s light and easily replaceable if (probably when!) it breaks.
The Lomography ‘style’ is very much dependent on who is taking the photograph. I don’t see my photographs as ‘Lomography’ shots as such – no shooting from the hip, carefully framed and on a typical outing I probably only take about four to eight photos rather than the four to eight rolls Lomography would rather you shot.
I do recognise that the camera I use gives my photos a certain look though, with the vignetting and the soft focus. Maybe I prefer a more painterly look that the Lomography camera s can give me. You’ll notice I haven’t mentioned digital cameras – I’m not against them but they just don’t give me that kind of look without extra work. The Diana gives me the painterly look straight away, and being an artist I’m always drawn to that.
I have no formal training other than what I’ve picked up online. However, I did study at art college and so what I lack in technical knowledge I feel I gain in an eye for an image. It took around four years for my photography to start looking like my own work, but I feel that I’ve now found my style.
I’m obsessed with the coast and countryside, and the peculiar bits of man-made objects we see in them. My photographs rarely have people in them, just evidence of people: stiles, fences, gates and the odd bit of concrete. I still haven’t completely worked out what I’m trying to say with my photos but I know there’s a message in there somewhere.
The post-apocalyptic aspect of my work has occasionally struck me, particularly on the one of the massive concrete structure on the beach. That structure was used for training by the RAF during World War Two. Being born in 1973 and growing up in the Eighties has that effect on the brain, I think.
Us eighties kids always assumed the world would have ended by 2000. Surrounded by talk of megatons, the Cold War and Frankie Goes To Hollywood singing Two Tribes, I think it’s all just seeped in to be part of me. A project looking at this would be fascinating but I’ve no idea where I’d start.