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Holga - More Than Just A Camera

By: Kit Frost

When I first started using the Holga Camera I thought it was a toy. With a fixed lens (60mm) and a shutter speed of 125, I thought it would limit my photography. I found that, with time and practice the Holga answers my needs. It is so easy to use that I can concentrate on the image making, rather than the technical aspects of the camera. Looking through the viewfinder and making exposures while walking around a subject; moving closer and farther away creates the feeling of experiencing the subject in a new way. More traditional cameras do not give me the choices I have using the Holga.

I use the Holga for multiple imagery; advancing the film at intervals creating overlapping, blended photographs. I own a half-dozen Holgas. Some of them give my images a vignetting along the edges, some do not. The Holga is my tool for "painterly" photography. I paint the images across the length of the 120 film. The Holga allows me to photograph the landscape in a new way, as a 3-dimensional experience of seeing. I like to use color transparency film and often scan the images and output to my Epson printers. Some of my photographs are multiple images running the entire length of a roll of 120 film. Since the images often appear "dreamlike" I use coated watercolor papers in my inkjet.

For students, the Holga is a great tool to strip away the technical and work on imagery. At the Maine Photographic Workshops and here in Durango at Chase the Light Studios we use the Holga as a teaching tool. Students are encouraged to experiment. The Holga is a great choice for experimentation; it encourages it.