People on film photography forums and around the internet go on and on about the virtue of medium format, they will say “the larger negatives take my photography to another level” or “you don’t get the same 3D pop with 35mm” or the ubiquitous “it slows me down to shoot in 120”.
For me medium format has been the polar opposite of each of these statements: I shoot it on a Holga.
*Gasp* “Did you hear that Gerald he just said a Holga, that’s not a real camera, isn’t that a toy for children or self important hipsters?”
Our frustrated and feckless fictional friend Felicity may have a point to some extent, but what I hope to show you through these five frames, is this: firstly, with a Holga I don’t care how wet it gets, secondly it’s (somewhat) inconspicuous and thirdly I can shoot without having so much as to think about what I’m doing (to an extent of course).
One of the joys of using a Holga, for me, has been the inherent simplicity of the camera. Fixed shutter speed, fixed aperture, twelve or sixteen frames. Is the viewfinder accurate? Not in the slightest. Is removing the film spool a task from which you will come away with your nails intact? Certainly not. Is the camera back guaranteed to remain attached if given a small nudge? Neither. In the latter case duct tape has been a trusty ally.
When I acquired my first Holga (yes, I am implying I have more than one) I ran about using it as I might a 35mm compact camera, taking snapshots of whatever took my fancy: friends, family, flowers. I found that most of the frames didn’t manage to translate the vision I had of the scenes when I pressed the shutter.
I knew I needed a different to take a different tack.
Enter two AA batteries to power the Holga’s meagre flash unit and a spot of rain. Oh and when I say “spot of rain”, I mean deluge, on the scale of which even someone like Noah might have had to contend with. That’s how the weather is down under, all or nothing.
Thus, I decided to take the Holga on my morning commute to work in the city, and I stumbled, or should I say slipped, upon what I had been looking for: a good use for this piece of plastic masquerading as a camera.
During this process, and over a couple of trips, the camera did get wet; I did use flash in a stranger’s face without getting punched in mine and I managed to operate the camera all the while carrying an umbrella. By the way, the Holga still works beautifully. Although it may occasionally scratch a frame…
Here are fives frames from my Holga (using HP5+ and Fomapan 200) of people with umbrellas, dealing with wind and rain:
Thanks for reading,
If you so choose, you can find me online here @zaclks