Heard the above cry today from someone dropping off 5 rolls of film. I get this comment from people who feel some kind of obligation to create art from this plastic camera know as THE HOLGA. Or sometimes people will say, “these are from my Holga so they will probably suck.” Most of you know the deal with The Holga. They are basically toy cameras with random defects that have become a virtue for photographers, with photos winning awards and starting a whole industry based on light leaks and blury images. I had a Holga that I was very attatched to, as it yielded consistently cool vignetting that made me look like a genius. I lost the camera, and have been unable to find another with the same “attributes” thus I’m now one of the many lost Holga users searching for the perfect flaw to make my images interesting again. If I can’t find the right Holga, I might give up and go back to actually composing an image and exposing it properly. Yikes.
The Holga does funny things to people. It makes them wrap up their film in aluminum foil before they bring it to the lab. Strange, because the whole idea is for the film to be light struck, but people think they can control the amount of light, or that there is some science to this. Today, someone brought me film stuffed into a sock. Then there are those photographers who get upset at me when the Holga lets them down. It’s a very sensitive issue, the whole Holga thing, so I try to show compassion, suggesting that the photographer use thicker tape on the edges, or no tape at all.
There are countless websites with advice, and instructions on how to operate a Holga, but trust me you don’t need a manual to have fun. Just a sense of adventure, patience, a complete lack of pretense (please), and maybe an old sock.