The book came with the Diana camera that I purchased. I also reviewed an earlier book by the Lomographic Society that paid tribute to this camera obscura. Before I started reading the second book, I reread the first to see if I missed anything or developed (ha ha) a new view on the hardback ever since I published that review years ago. Doing so, I realized I did have a new perspective. Reading through the short story anthology, or “vignettes” as the writers/editors labeled them, I observed that the stories would not be different from the slickly produced commercials that showcase actors enjoying a product that a company would want you to buy.
“This product did well for these people, so why don’t you purchase one?”
However, sometimes the stories depicts people with their lives upended by the Diana camera, and sometimes for the worst. Then again, I think I have seen commercials promoting a product that made me go “How does this make life better?”
Reading about the characters in the vignettes, I found myself rolling my eyes at how some come off as either terrible or flighty. There were characters who were engaging and did good things, but the others? Wow.
What about the new vignettes in the second book? While these stories use new characters, my critiques of the first series still applies. Only this time, some stories introduced a more supernatural aspect to them. Furthermore, in one vignette, apparently a Diana camera could cure a paraplegic. Make of that what you will. There were also numerous errors in the texts too.
While the book has new photography, a new interview, a chapter on Diana imitations, this sequel reproduces the same introduction, same essay on Diana’s history, same paragraph asking for vignettes (there were some new paragraphs added, some removed, some new text added to old paragraphs, and fixes added in the articles of this edition), same showcase of various Diana cameras (there were new ones added), same interviews with Diana aficionados, and same photo series as found in the first book. They just made the old photo series from the previous book bigger to make room for the new ones. I did notice that some photos from the first book did not make the second book. Regarding the non-fiction writings that sing the virtues of the Diana, it reminded me of the Dada manifestos I used to read during my undergrad years.
But did I enjoy these books? Despite my critiques and observations, the books, with the quirky photography, casual writing, and fun history, I consider them enjoyable light reads.