Saturday, March 21, 2009

Holgas - the cult following

I wanted to shoot medium format film and have been agonizing over whether to get a used medium format camera or a fixed lens Fuji last few weeks. Having heard and read much about Holgas, it has piqued my interests especially after seeing the works of Holga enthusiasts. It was tempting me as a very inexpensive way to work with medium format film. Researching further, I learned that Holga has a rather interesting beginning and has its roots in rural China. For more details on Holga, go to Holga and Camerapedia.Org

With Holga, it is just a "mechanical box with a crude shutter", the film and you the photographer. There is no blaming the camera for having a bad shot, although you might be able to blame the lack of electronics :) for missing a shot (pardon me for describing it that way, but simple is good and less is beautiful has great meaning here). The light leak prevalent in the Holgas is what makes each image unique.

Holga in baby blue if that is your fancy - available at Bhphotovideo

So, I am now a proud owner of a "Made in China" trendy and hip "Holga 120N". Got it at BelAir Camera in Los Angeles when I was down there last week and a certain "David" who works at the processing lab who shoots exclusively Holga showed me his incredibly wonderful Holga images. I asked if he sells his photos, his reply: "like to do a show someday". He helped me pick out the Holga 120N to start. You see, there are many different models and colors (pink! good God, I want to be inconspicious), with hotshoe, with built in flash, the classic (120S), all available for 120 and 35mm film format. In addition, there is Holga pinhole camera. Yours to choose from well under $45!!!

Holga 120CFN Medium Format Fixed Focus Camera

You might be interested in checking out this Reuters blog entry on Holga by Jim Young(and a little story of Crawford, Texas) Remembering the days of black and white film

To buy Holgas, try:
Amazon Holga 120

or Freestylephoto

As for my own Holga photos, I loaded a roll of TriX-320 into the Holga 120F I bought last week and have yet to make it back to Livermore to shoot the old train station and the old house on Highway 84w. I am in the thick of the tax season - and all I can see are thousand of line items of income, expenses and deductions for 10 hours a day (did I mention pages and pages of stock trades clients did in 2008 - oh well, that is the subject for another entry on my other Blog)

Having said all that, I look forward to doing some b&w film development soon at a community darkroom in San Jose as soon as I have my weekends back again.... and I will post the Holga photos to share then.

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