Over the last few decades, the increase in technical sophistication of photo gear has jumped by leaps and bounds. From manual-everything cameras, we went from semi-auto exposure to full auto exposure, then on to autofocus, followed by lenses that limit camera shake, etc. Then came the digital camera, which now has a function or a button to do just about everything a photographer would need except wiping his/her bottom when he/she needs to take care of business behind a bush out in the woods.
These latest cameras really simplify the work a photographer has to do, so with this in mind, and wanting to keep up with the latest technological trends, I decided to get myself a new camera last summer – and so I did.
I bought a Holga.
Yes, my answer to the digital age was to buy a $20 piece of plastic junk from China. After all, what could be simpler and easier than looking through the plastic viewfinder and pressing that plastic button? I’m not about to give up using my primary cameras – a Pentax 67 and a Fuji 6×7 rangefinder – but the Holga is just plain fun to use.
The first photo here (above) is one I took of Rachel at a workshop on Prince Edward Island, Canada, last August. I was standing over Rachel, pointing down at her lying on the ground (you can see my shoe at the upper right), so there really is no definite ‘up’ or ‘down’ direction here. I decided on this orientation as she appears to be caressing a giant fish with her head in its mouth.
The second photo (left) is of another model at the same workshop. I decided to tilt the camera by about 45 degrees to make a more dynamic composition. I think the rough edges you get with the Holga just enhance the down and dirty nature of the image.
Finally, a photo I like to think of us “Machine Gun Sukumar.” Sukumar is a scientist and photographer from India, now living in upstate New York, who attended the workshop. This was actually the first photo I’d made with my new wondercam, and he got into the spirit of things by pretending(?) to want to gun me down. The neckstrap of his camera even looks like a bandolier.
The Holga is also great for making multiple exposures (even if you didn’t plan them to be that way!), but those images will have to wait for another day. I’ve not used the Holga since that week in August (I haven’t taken any photos since then due to my foot surgery) but I’m thinking of getting out with it to start a series of photos of New York City – the place where I live but rarely photograph.