while I wait for my film to be developed (I spent the weekend finally finishing up test rolls for film for 2 old cameras), I am spending some time continuing to go though and organize film and photos. The more I spend time with the roll of film that I soaked in baking soda and boiling water and ran through the 35mm holga, the more I am attracted to the effects. Here is a shot of the typewriter I gave Jonathan, with a can of chicory and coffee in the background. That sounds mighty delicious, so I think I shall go make myself a cup.
A few months ago I picked up a 35mm Holga BC on a whim (because, you know, having anything less than half a dozen Holga cameras just isn’t in my nature…) and have been running around snapping pictures in 35mm. Which I haven’t even used in the last few years, but it’s fun and damn cheaper than developing 120. Here’s one of my faves from the film I’ve shot in the camera in the last few months.
This weekend we went across the mountains to the eastern side of the state. and I mean waaaaay eastern, like, almost Idaho. I packed my 35mm Holga, and a 120, but alas, the trip was so sort (we were only in town about 30 hours…) and we were working (well, I was volunteering) at Spokane pride, we didn’t get a chance to explore or hike or even stand on the bridge at the falls, and I didn’t even get to shoot one analogue picture. What I did end up getting was a wicked sunburn (on one side of my body) and one picture taken from my Hipstamatic app. So now I look weirdly pink on one side, and I have a nice little picture from our trip.
While I don’t use the Hipstamatic for anything but my own mementoes, as I think the quality is to poor for any prints of a decent size, I do think it’s a fun photo app for the iPhone, one of the best for “iPhoneography,” and I hope it makes people interested in the vintage and toy cameras that inspired the app.
2000 was the year I graduated from high school. It was also the year I packed my bags and left my small island home in the Pacific Northwest, waved good-bye to the Space Needle and moved across the USA to Savannah, Georgia to go to art school. It was here I was introduced to my very first Holga camera, back before they were sold at Urban Outfitters, were produced in bright colours, or had rotating colour flashes. Heck, in 2000, you could barely just find a Holga with a built-in flash. And they only had one shutter setting, so if one wanted to set their camera to “bulb“, one would have to break the thing, at which point there was no way to set it back to an automatic fast shutter speed. I fell in love instantly, and have since procured a collection of Holgas, including pin-holes, Holgawoods, and a 35mm BC. But the original Holga S holds a very special place in my heart. The sort focus procured by the cheap plastic lens, the process of throwing away the lens cap and the film masks the second the camera is pulled out of the box in hopes of catching a soft vignette on the final images, covering the insides of the camera with electrical tape to help block out light, and folding up small pieces of cardboard and shoving them between the edge of the spool of film and the camera case to hold the film tight are all just part of the process that make the Holga so rudimentary and magical.
A trust develops between the one that holds the camera and the equipment. When the fancy settings and expensive equipment and complete sense of control fly out the window, all we are left with is ourselves, our eyes and ideas. And we have to trust in chance, roll the dice, and see what comes out when film is developed. Sometimes the results are complete shit. Sometimes an award winner pops up. But it’s always worth the chance.
One of the first excursions the Holga and I had was with a group of friends and a box of costume clothes at Fort Pulaski, near Tybee Island. The air soaked us with it’s humidity, and the heat oppressed us, but we spent hours running around the fortress and the surrounding hills. At one point, I laid down in the grass, looked up at the sky, and decided I needed to burn the image onto film. With the help of a friend, I set up and took the shot. Later, in the darkroom, when I developed my film and set about printing the photo, I knew I would be shooting with Holgas for years to come. The self-portrait was not only my first best Holga picture, but twelve years later, it remains one of my favorite photographs I have ever shot.