The amazing detail and quality of a Holga photograph brought me back to film photography. A cousin introduced me to the Lomography movement in 2010 and I shot a dozen rolls with a Holga over that year, but the analogue flame didn’t take, and the prints and negatives languished in a box. It wasn’t till about 2017, when for reasons I can’t explain beyond the zeitgeist, I started scanning the Holga negatives that the beauty of those images struck me. Of course, these were lofi, but yet there was detail and tonality that surprised me. If a toy camera could create such an image, what could I do with a “real” camera? These smouldering embers have since ignited a forceful return to film photography.
Night and low light photography have been of a particular interest to me. The Holga has a tripod socket and a bulb mode, and so it was not precluded from joining my roster of night shift cameras, but there are challenges in shooting a Holga at night. My model has one aperture that the interwebs variably rate at f/8 or f/13. My camera does not have the capacity for a remote release. And not specifically relevant to night photography, the back of the camera has a general tendency to pop off at odd moments, and the viewfinder is offset and doesn’t see what the lens sees. So, challenge accepted.
I had recently seen Simon King’s street photography on 35mmc with Ilford Delta 3200 using a fixed aperture/shutter speed. I decided his deliberate over exposure was partly responsible for the beautiful results, despite stand developing not generally being recommended for high speed films. I thought I could emulate this with the Holga. My film of choice was a Delta 3200 35mm roll, as I still get a kick out of seeing the sprockets on an exposed image. The building under construction is a day shot hand held for reference. The Holga is tripod mounted for the tree illuminated by the floodlights of a sports field at night. All were captured in Sydney. I metered with a phone app, adding time for reciprocity when required. I semi-stand developed in Fomadon R09 for 2 hours at 15c. I am pleased with the results. What do you think?
Contribute to 35mmc for an Ad-free Experience
There are two ways to experience 35mmc without the adverts:
Paid Subscription - £2.99 per month and you'll never see an advert again! (Free 3-day trial).
Content contributor - become a part of the world’s biggest film and alternative photography community blog. All our Contributors have an ad-free experience for life.
Sign up here.