Lo-Fi Photography – A Holga And Five Rolls Of HP5
by John Downey
I don’t think I’ve been as excited to receive a piece of plastic in the mail as I was when I ripped away the wrapping from my first set of Legos. Today, I got my hands on a Holga, along with five rolls of 120 film. What’s to write home about? Nothing. No glass, no batteries, no sensor, no auto nothing. Not even a real focusing ring. The Holga is the best of the cheapest thing China can make – a medium format toy camera that takes 120 color or black and white film that is everything manual. Lo-fi, old skool, happenin’, neato, far out. Took a while to explain the process to our daughter, following the description of which, she asks, “so how do you see the picture?” Well that’s going to take a few weeks… at least to get the negatives back. “Why is it negative?”
Why did I do this? Nostalgia? Maybe? Be more artsy-fartsy? Sure, why not. To bring back the surprise to the bottom of the Cracker Jack box? Definitely. After every roll of sixteen exposures, Christmas time. Gotta wait for it to come back in the mail and you can’t be sure of what you’re going to get. The camera has more sway over the film, however forgiving black and white film might be, than the photographer. Speaking of photograph, this is it. A 6x6cm negative with vignetting caused by the film holder, light leaks (which can be taped), soft focus, and potentially a lot of uncertainty with exposure. And look, it has an optical lens! Whoooeeee. Needless to say, if you want to see some of the results here on the blog… well, it’s gonna take a while.