Holga camera

Film scanIt might seem odd to those who read the entry about the digital camera that I’m saving to buy to find out that I have a $17 plastic medium-format camera that I’ve just started using.

Awhile back I asked Ben over at Newtonville Camera whether anybody bought the completely manual plastic cameras next to the cash register. “Lots of people! You’d be surprised.” Later I saw an exhibit at Gallery Kayafas where the artist used a Holga.

So last Christmas I received one — my request confused Lisa a little, I think — and finally got around to using it last month at the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence. Yesterday I got the film back from the lab (some of which is shown above).

The results weren’t spectacular: many were a little underexposed, and some of the experiments looked really bad. But I was very much expecting imperfect pictures.

In many ways using this camera is like starting out all over again with photography. Until I learned how to get consistent exposures with my more technologically advanced cameras, there was a moment of terror when pressing the shutter release. With the Holga, the level of control I have over the exposure is almost nonexistant. So when I trip its shutter, I know the composition might be right, but everything else is up in the air. It’s kind of thrilling to be so out of control and to create images from a simple machine that I don’t thoroughly know yet.

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