Saturday, 3 November 2012

Life through a plastic lens

Rifling through my cupboard full of cameras, I picked up my long-neglected Holga camera last week.  It was so long since I had used it, that I didn't think to check, took off the back to insert a film and immediately saw that there was already one in there!  Luckily the film wasn't spoilt as I straight away put the back on again.  However, instead of the colour film I thought I was shooting, it turned out to be black and white. When shooting black and white you tend to more aware of light and shade as opposed to pleasing colour compositions, so I was quite surprised to find that most of the images I shot that day had turned out well.

The film used is 120 roll film with the same square format as the Hasselblad but there the similarity ends. Whereas the Hasselblad lenses produce pin-sharp images, the Holga is a cheap plastic camera with a plastic lens.  The look of the images is soft and blurred with a distinctive dark vignetting in the corners. It has two settings - sunny or cloudy - and 4 distance settings so there is very little scope for control.  I love the look this camera gives to images and somehow it is so much more satisfying using it than trying to emulate the look with digital filters or phone apps.  Obviously it is a lot more effort - instead of just uploading the images onto the computer, the film has to be processed, dried, scanned for display on screen or printed in the dark room.  But I reckon it is worth it, so will be using it more frequently from now on.  

More images taken over the last few years with my Holga can be seen here

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