Tag Archives: holga

The Holga Walkers

Scene 1:  Camera pans down to see a group of blood thirsty zombies taking pictures of anything they can find.  Graffiti, spider webs,  telephone wires, and pigeons are no match for this crazed bunch.   Close up shot reveals not actual zombies, but mere mortal toy camera enthusiasts.  It’s not the Walking Dead, it’s the Photoworks Holga Workshop and Walkabout.  These are not scary monsters, just scary talented photographers trying to push the envelope from every angle.  When the locals in a small town see us lurking toward their small houses and rusty trucks, they tend to run and hide.  The site of the plastic holga camera can instill fear in some, but in the right hands it’s not a blood sucker at all, it’s a new means of expression, and it cannot be stopped.

Happy Halloween, and if you should be out and about and see one of the holga walkers, don’t be scared.  You are safe as long as you don’t look in to the flash.

                                                                                                                           lock and load

  • spooky holga persoT



Hell, I Could Have Shot That Photo

Last night was the annual Toy Camera Show at the Rayko Photo Center Gallery.  I have mixed feelings about Rayko, mostly jealousy about how they have such a cool space.  The show is very popular and in the two hours allotted for viewing,  most all of San Francisco’s Holga hip made the scene.  I got to see many Photoworks SF customers, and I’m happy to say that we printed more than a few of the pieces on display.  I’m thrilled that these folks get to show their work in a reputable gallery.

I enjoyed most of what I saw, though the jury selections I thought to be just so so.  My favorites were a collection of smaller 5″ x 5″ prints that had an almost distressed look to them and while contemporary , the work evoked that look of small square snaps from the past.  That’s just me, what do I know.  There is something about a Toy Camera Show that makes people mutter, “what’s so great about that?”  And to be fair, there is sometimes a bit of luck involved, and if the art here is random then there are those that will piss on it.  I heard lots of muttering last night.   I say if you can do better then go for it.  Rayko was actually selling Holga and Diana cameras last night, almost challenging the patrons to get out there and give it a go.

I recently had decided to put my toy cameras to rest and focus on something else, what I might consider more legitimate photography, but some of the work last night has made me reconsider.  I’m out and about today trying to make some of my own toy camera magic, and if I get lucky…maybe I’ll have something good enough for people to be jealous of at next year’s show.

next year's entry?

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Burning Man Fire Sale

It’s a tradition here at Photoworks, trying to make a few bucks off the mayhem that is Burning Man.  In the early years of the festival, we’d process thousands of rolls of film after the event.  It was glorious to see all the dust covered film canisters.  Sadly, those days are long gone.  Now it’s all digital, or as they say on the playa, “digies.”  I think that’s what they say..Anyway, I often wonder about how many fancy camera sensors get wrecked in all that dust?  Which brings me to my pitch:  Shoot film in a Holga camera.  It’s the perfect Burner camera.  Plastic, weird focus, inherently psychedelic.  Have a Red Bull, jump on your bike, and shoot the moon with a holga.

Photoworks SF Burning Man Fire Sale:  10% off any Holga Camera and a free roll of expired film (looks better)


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Holga Hot Tub Time Machine

I wanted to remind everyone that there is still time to sign up for the big holga workshop on Sat Aug 21st.

get your camera wet

You can find the details in our flickr group.http://www.flickr.com/groups/photoworkssf/  We’ll teach you a bit about the holga camera, we’ll go down the coast and shoot some pictures, and then we’ll drink beer and get naked n the photoworks SF hot tub. Sound fun? How about everything before the getting naked part?

As a bonus we’ll be printing a magazine to commemorate the event.  The images will be pulled from what we shoot that day.  I am also thinking about some holga related activities for the workshop.  Holga relay race, holga toss, musical holgas, holga truth or dare, and of course, the holga dance contest.  So, if haven’t yet  signed up, get a hold of me here at photoworks.  Space in the hot tub is limited.


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Ain’t No Sunshine

I’ve lived in the SF/Bay Area for 30 years, most of my adult life.  I love it, but I will never get used to the dreary summers.  I’m glad I don’t live in the heat and humidity of the East Coast, that would suck, but man the fog is bringing me down.  I feel like a need a vitamin D shot or a tanning booth.  I have no circulation, the plants are not growing, and there ain’t no lovin’. My dog is refusing to be walked.  Anyone else in a foul mood?  I shot a roll of black and white film over the weekend.  I used a yellow filter to help with the grey day, but my photos still look bleak.  I also shot a roll of color and my photos came out black and white.  This summer is especially foggy, even more so down on the coast where I live.  I feel like Khan from Star Trek having been banished to a dead planet.

Yes, fog can be nice, keeps everybody cool, there is less crime, but drinking tea huddled next to the heater in August is not normal.  I saw where this is the coldest summer since 1972.  I check the forecast and it’s “fog and low clouds, fog and low clouds.”   It’s concerning because I’m putting on a picture taking class this month.  The supply list goes something like, bring camera, tripod, and film.  I guess I’ll need to add, blankets, parka, and a thermos of hot cocoa.

Bundle up, it’s summertime.

socked in


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Aloha Holga

I’m going on vacation next week to Maui.  First vacation from the Photoworks Empire in a few years.  I’ll be packin’ the Wife and Kids, and a camera bag full of film.  How many sunsets cross processed can one man take in 8 days?  Well, we’re going to find out.  Lie down on the sand and look up to the sky,  snap that palm tree gently blowing in the trade winds.

Will I find arty Islanders to accompany me on a picture taking walk?  I doubt it.  So should I leave all the crappy toy cameras at home, or do I revel the poolside crowd with my cool plastic photo taking contraptions? Man I can’t wait to get in the pool up to my waist, holga in one hand, pina colada in the other! I realize that’s a tough visual, but just think how nice and relaxed I’ll be when I get home. As they say in Hawaii,  Aloha holga means “hello and goodbye.”

you got my back while I"m gone?

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Too Many Holgas?

I was in 7-Eleven last night and next to the giant hot dogs I could have sworn I saw a Holga Camera display.  Just kidding, but man has anyone noticed how may Holgas there are now?  What used to be this little photo sub culture is becoming mainstream.  Hey, I guess that’s okay (the more analog the better), but I’d like to think that I started the whole thing.  Does my Mom want a Holga??  Have you seen the 10 million holga websites, contests, and shows.  There’s one up right now here at PhotoworksSF.

I’m glad because I sell 120 film, but at the same time I’m annoyed by the pretentious holga people.  Just a few that think that a light leak and soft focus means you’re an artist.  I just want people to stay true to the random nature of the plastic camera and avoid taking this thing too serious.  Granted some of you are legit artists and do beautiful holga work, but please don’t ram it down my throat with incessant blogging and facebook groups.  What I’m saying is “get that holga out of my face.”

BTW, I own 5 holgas!



Young People Don’t know Anything

“Young people don’t know anything, especially that they’re young.”  Don Draper from Mad Men.  Don might be right, but recently I encountered a refreshing group of High School photography students.  They came to Photoworks because they heard we were a film shop.  “You guys do film, that’s cool.”  These students are taking a class that requires film photography cameras and they seem to be thrilled by the concept.  They are into Holgas and medium format as well.  I was stunned thinking that anyone under 25 would have the slightest interest in analogue.  Seeing as they are entrenched in the Iphone, You Tube, digital overload generation, it’s amazing that they found film.  I’m pleased by this development, and I now feel that there is hope for the future.


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Drugstore Film Developing is Cool

Yeah I’m bitter, but this really annoys me!  There is a growing contingent of people here and mainly online via discussions who have flocked to drugstores, walgreens, costco, target, and various other crap ass discount chains to get film processed.  I get why, cause we are all penniless now.  Believe me I understand.  They charge 2.00 bucks or 02 cents, or free, I charge more.

My problem is not with people needing a more affordable situation.  I do have a problem with this dork on a certain popular photo sharing site who has devoted his life to seeking out cheap places to process film.  He has an on going thread about “keeping it affordable.”  Like he’s some super sleuth, the capped crusader of film developing because he has found that if he asks for JimBob at the Wallmart in Peoria that he will get his film developed cheap and without scratches.

Why do I hate this so much?? Because if enough people go this route, there will be no more photo labs, and when Walgreens decides they can’t make enough money developing film for .99 cents then it’s over for all of us.  I like to consider myself a high end place, so many drugstore film developers are not my customers anyway, but I do need the students and hobbyists.  So if you are looking to save a few bucks, why not take advantage of my student discount, or better yet try negotiating with me or other lab owners, maybe gather your film in bulk for a better price.  Hey if you’re really hurtin’ then you gotta go where you it’s affordable for you, but please don’t go around broadcasting the fact like you are consumer advocate out to save us, you’re just making it worse for guys like me.

dh (selfish and bitter photo lab owner)

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Three Men And A Camera

Last Saturday I was at the playground with my 2 year old son. Weekends are when most Dads watch the kids and the playground is the place to go. The vibe is different on the weekend. Women at the playground will gravitate toward each other and talk about all the minutia of diapers, child birthing methods, and day care. Guys don’t give a crap. Our common ground is sports or cars or gadgets. On this day it was cameras. First guy called Fred wearing his Van Halen 08 tour shirt and Niners cap is sporting a Sony Cyber Shot with an 8x zoom lens. Looks ridiculous, but then again he also has a mullet. Guy number 2 has a Cannon 20D. He’s a lawyer, khakis, V neck sweater and fraternity ring. He explains that according to his partners, this is the best camera on the market. “It’s the BMW of cameras.”

On to guy number 3, me sporting dark glasses and a Diana F film camera. We’re all snapping away at our kids, but because I’m shooting film I can’t share my photos. The 2 guys think I’m nuts, out of the dark ages or something. “Hey Dave, your kid will be driving by the time you take that photo. LOL” Mullet guys is shooting close ups of his kid’s snotty nose, lawyer, having figured out the action icon on the camera is doing low angle action shots of his daughter on the swing. He’s actually lying in the sand, bad angle for little kids and bad if sand gets near the LCD. And me, well half of my shots will be light struck, not to mention black and white which everybody now hates. We’re just three fellas stuck in the playground until naptime, searching for common ground and not really finding it. The one thing we have in common is that we want to take cool photos of our kids, or at least better photos than our wives take. In the old days we’d all have funky film cameras or old super 8 movie cameras. We would have taken the same pictures with the same cameras, the same way, and the photos would be printed and preserved for a lifetime in albums.

I guess I don’t really fit in around here (the suburbs) because as it turns out I hate pro football and like manual film cameras. I don’t really have a problem with the other 2 guys and their cameras or the Niners for that matter. I’m sure I kind find some pretentious, arsty-fartsy dads at a playground in the city.

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