Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Experimenting with Plastics

For a little less than a year now I have been experimenting with HOLGA – a bulky, plastic, medium format, "toy" camera from China. It is a delightful cult phenomenon which anyone who enjoys picture-taking should read much more about at this website. The joy of the HOLGA lies in the unknown. With only two real manual functions – a 4-step focal length ranging from "one person" to "mountain" and a simple light setting to distinguish "cloudy" from "sunny" – this is one camera where advanced knowledge of camera mechanics does you absolutely no good.

The manual wind is completely free moving which means that sometimes I wind too far and end up straddling frames.

Or I don't wind far enough and end up splitting frames.

Or, when I was first starting out, I would forget to wind altogether and superimpose frames.

I also forgot to remove the lens cap a time or two during that first roll (the viewfinder and the lens are not connected). I won't bother posting those shots here.

Delightful accidents happen all the time with the HOLGA. But sometimes I try to make accidents happen and end up with trash.

HOLGA is 100% plastic, lens included, which means all sorts of light seep into my exposures. Sometimes its sort of cool.

HOLGA has a mind of her own – she will focus (or not focus) on whatever she wants and cruelly crop on a whim.

But even with all these variables and amidst the inevitable blank frames and undistinguishable shots, there is also beauty in the most unexpected places.

HOLGA has taught me its OK to let go a little, to just let things happen.
Thank you, HOLGA.

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