Saturday, September 06, 2008

holga's from Hong Kong

holga's from hong kong
Originally uploaded by Paul Grand

After a two week wait,
I received my Holga camera's.
Purchased from an Ebay store, the same place I'd already bought 120 B/W film stock.
This shot was taken just because I loved the green packaging, on my winding stone staircase.
Interestingly, before I saw these pictures, hadn't noticed those antique numeral markings on the steps rise behind the parcel..

The first Holga is the Classic 120 GN model, without a flash.
The second is the wide angle pin hole camera. It takes about two sections of 120 film per shot.
So, you only get about 6 shots per roll. Normally you'd get 12 square format shots.

You need to use the wide angle on a firm tripod, as the exposures are several seconds long.
It also comes with a free remote cable release, to help stop those camera shakes.
Although these cameras are called 'toys' I can vouch that the loading and unloading and even worse, the film developing are not for
nervous types. As winding the floppy 120 film onto a developing spool in pitch darkness is tricky thing to master.
Even more so after a glass or two of red wine...

Taking pictures with the 120 GN is very easy to master. My friend Jill warned me to remember to remove the lens cap first.
Sound advice, though in practice, not so easy to remember.
Next time, I'll remove the lens cap and leave it in the car.
Then I cant put it back on by mistake.
Always wind on after every shot, again easy to say, but in practice, hard to implement on location..

Choose subjects with a strong graphic quality, such as billboards, buildings and people.
Fairgrounds are all the rage.
Fair ground big wheel holga's have become a kind of background wallpaper on Flicker, so I'd shy away from them.

Finally, I recommend you take your normal dig camera with you, and try to duplicate any great shots, just in case you get a dud exposure.
You can then try recreating a Holga effect in Photoshop!


jannx said...

your blog is an enjoyable read. Personal but not too engaging. Perfect/ Parfait!

Ian Goulden said...

Just thought I'd say hi to you on your blog, Paul. It looks great!
I can sympathise with the Holga problems- I always get at least one double exposure and one blank space on each reel. And then the home developing can also be tricky. The wide angle pinhole Holga sounds great. One thing I discovered yesterday is that you can just twist the lens off a Holga- give it a good twist as if you are taking the lid off a jam jar. Something will go 'crack' and the lens comes off- but no damage'll be done to the camera. You can add a pinhole, take some pinholga shots, and then take off the pinhole and put on the lens again as easily as putting the lid back on the jamjar. All mid-roll, without opening the camera.

Just getting my Holga pictures from Italy developed-

All the best, Ian

Ted said...

This is not a critical essay Paul… just a curiosity. See, the ideal of LensBabies and Holgas are lot like the cheap-lens-filter-smeared-with-Vaseline of my youth. That is to say, the artist is giving himself over even farther to the whims of an engineer to create a “destroyed” negative from which he hopes chance will become his own”fresh-eyes”. While you or I can create effects as exciting as those form the LB or the Holga I PP, we cannot undo those effects with any competency. I understand that the LB or Holga can tickle the imagination in unplanned, and exciting ways. But I’ve resisted experimenting with either of them since I’m reluctant to hand over that big a piece of my creativity to an irreproducible engineering result.

And all of these thoughts that jumble through my mind seem reinforced by this mighty image which you use to illustrate the arrival of your Holga. Could anything be less-Holga-ish? Here you’ve combined nostalgia, and expectation into a powerful interplay of line, form, and palette to make me quiver to want the mystery of that package revealed.

In a way, I wish I did not know anything about its contents since you’ve teased my imagination so deliberately … and mercifully you did all of that through your mastery of technique undiluted by a purposeful pre-processing distortion which no amount of PP magic would undo.

Full disclosure… After almost forty years in wet darkrooms… the lure of fussing with Holga chemistry/negatives/ enlargers/printing…. Etc.. etc… turns off my interest in the thingee like a switch. I never want to smell another wiff of Dektol J Which explains at least a portion of why my mind is closed so snugly re the thing, and perhaps all of the rest of this is mere justification. At any rate… enjoy… I hope it’s a magic bullet for you creatively … although given the power of the portfolio you routinely unveil on this blogsite… I don’t sense you need any more magic.

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