Learning the Art of Letting Go

19

Now, “don’t think, just shoot” has a deeper meaning for me: As I take each shot with my toy cameras, I simultaneously let go of worrying whether I got it right. As I press and let go of the shutter button, I let go of the fear of taking a crappy shot. Read how Lomography has taught me how to breathe easy.

“Should I buy this plastic toy camera or not?” Buying my first Lomographic camera, a Holga 120 GCFN, was deliberated on for a long time. How much is the film? How many pictures should I take a month? How much is film development? Isn’t a dSLR more cost-effective in the long run?

It took me a month of researching and testing myself whether I was just being impulsive or if it was really worth it. After I decided to get it, the next big decision was which color of the Holga to get. Which color was 1) most practical; 2) most interesting; 3) most attractive and; 4) had the most resale value.

I can get obsessed with the smallest detail when I decide to get “into” something. I have been called a planner, an over-thinker, a geek and, what I hate the most, a control-freak. Such a trait could lead me into a very successful career-driven life, yes, but it doesn’t seem to me like it would be a fulfilling and happy one.

Little did I know that through this small seemingly childish toy camera would break this obsession with control and slowly form it into a perspective that was much more basic, simple and in touch with life.

First Impressions

As soon as I unboxed my Holga, my first thoughts were of disappointment with how plastic toy cameras… well…were really just plastic toys that functioned as cameras. Although it took a while, the beauty of its simplicity eventually swept me off my feet! It all started and progressed with every roll that I had developed.

My first few rolls were far from amazing. As a newbie, I took each shot cautiously to minimize wasting the film. And as a newbie, I failed! I had several rolls with none to only a few mediocre pictures, but something kept me optimistic, challenged even. In a way, my analytic side contributed a lot to my work. Because I was determined to take good pictures, I refused to follow the popular rule: “don’t think, just shoot.” Instead, I learned the Sunny 16 rule and all the other basic techniques of photography.

On the Path of Learning

Pretty soon, I got the hang of films and film cameras and I slowly understood the limitations of my Holga 120 GCFN and for some time, I was caught between wanting to learn photography the simplest way vs. getting a head start by using new technology. Being a control-freak didn’t exactly make me likely to enjoy the uncomplicatedness of a toy camera. But like I mentioned, the simplicity of the camera and photography just grew on me. Eventually, I got used to light leaks and the imperfect shots AND I started loving them. I used to hate how framing was inaccurate and difficult for non-SLR cameras – but now, it’s just as simple as having a cropped-head picture or having strangers in the ends of my frame. And it is perfect the way it is.

Letting Life Happen

It doesn’t matter if I don’t get perfect exposures, what matters for me, is the moment captured — the event, the people, the fun, the love! In each shot taken, whether it was under or over exposed, it is life through my eyes (and technically through a plastic lens as well!). When I had a digital camera, I probably would have wasted a lot of time and opportunity reviewing the LCD and retaking shots until I thought I got it perfectly. Whereas with my Holga, I would have already taken several angles of a single place, person or event – all of which are perfect, unique and irreproducible.

What I learned from my Holga was not just the Sunny 16 rule and how to compose square format pictures. I learned to let go of a lot of thoughts and self-made rules that has kept me from seeing the simplicity and beauty of life. That, in my opinion, pretty much makes the trouble looking for expired films, the cost of importing supposedly cheap toy cameras, having to wait for rolls to be complete finished and then processed, all worth it.

This article was first published here
You can find out what else the writer is up to by visiting her Lomohome

written by ak47lomogurl on 2010-09-13 in #lifestyle

19 Comments

  1. paramir
    paramir ·

    this is beautiful. great article! and beautiful shots! I love this piece!

  2. ak47lomogurl
    ak47lomogurl ·

    aww, thanks paramir! i've been trying to figure out what else to write about.. taking a break from lomolocations hehe

  3. mikahsupageek
    mikahsupageek ·

    Excellent article, amazing gallery, I love that shot of the kid running into the water ! Thanks for sharing =)

  4. ayo_ari
    ayo_ari ·

    great article. love love LOVE your shots! very nice!

  5. disdis
    disdis ·

    great article and gallery!

  6. dogma
    dogma ·

    Very nice shots!

  7. ak47lomogurl
    ak47lomogurl ·

    thank you @mikahsupageek @ayo_ari @disdis and @dogma
    These are my personal favorites :) I'm really glad that you liked the article too!

  8. basterda
    basterda ·

    Sosyal. :)

  9. ak47lomogurl
    ak47lomogurl ·

    ahahaha sosyal?!?! sira! :D

  10. grazie
    grazie ·

    great article and that photo with the truck is one of my faves!

  11. ak47lomogurl
    ak47lomogurl ·

    thank you @grazie! That truck was really out of the way and I had to ask my brother to make a U-turn in the highway and go back to the gas station! hahaha good thing it was only a small highway :)

  12. lomoismypastime
    lomoismypastime ·

    Kudos to you! Loved reading this article =P

  13. ak47lomogurl
    ak47lomogurl ·

    Thank you, @lomoismypastime :)

  14. lazyorbit
    lazyorbit ·

    i love your photos!!!

  15. boredbone
    boredbone ·

    cool cool! :)

  16. ak47lomogurl
    ak47lomogurl ·

    thanks for reading @lazyorbit and @boredbone :D

  17. jetta
    jetta ·

    I think that we all have these issues. I certainly grappled with them. What you have said is very true and I need to love all my shots and see them as perfect and unique. Thanks for the well written article.

  18. isabelbatteria
    isabelbatteria ·

    Your article really spoke to me. That's why I decided to translated it despite being longer than the typical Lomography article. I'm not a control freak, haha, but everything else I can completely relate to. Your writing is great and your pictures rule. Regards.

    Here's the link for this article's translation: www.lomography.com/magazine/lifestyle/2010/10/25/aprendiend…

  19. evy
    evy ·

    this is absolutely a beautiful article.. i felt the sentimentality in it..

More Interesting Articles

  • Clickiemcpete and his Weapon of Choice: Sprocket Rocket

    written by icequeenubia on 2014-09-11 in #lifestyle
    Clickiemcpete and his Weapon of Choice: Sprocket Rocket

    Calling the Sprocket Rocket as Peter Atwood's go-to camera would be an understatement. He owns half a dozen of it that he simultaneously shoots with different films. He even considers the Sprocket Rocket as his dream machine. Let's hear what clickiemcpete has to say about this camera in this installment of Weapon of Choice!

    10
  • Tutorial: Tetenal Colortec E6 3-bath Kit - Develop your own color slides

    written by sandravo on 2014-05-29 in #gear #tipster
    Tutorial: Tetenal Colortec E6 3-bath Kit - Develop your own color slides

    This is a tutorial for the adventurous Lomographers, for those brave enough to do their own B&W and C-41 work but lacking the confidence to move onto E6. Fear no more! I am an enthusiastic home developer, just like the rest of you, I am not a chemical lab wizard! So if I can pull this off, so can the rest of you. Take a deep breath, relax, and read on. By the end of this article I hope you'll have mustered the courage to give it a go yourselves!

    5
  • Simple Color Gels or Filters Holder for the Diana Mini's Flash

    written by grungyjodie on 2014-04-25 in #gear #tipster
    Simple Color Gels or Filters Holder for the Diana Mini's Flash

    I've always been looking for a really simple solution to hold my color gels of my Diana Mini's flash WITH the camera and make them easy to grab when I want to use them. I also wanted something to keep them from getting damaged. Let me show you how I found a simple way to make it.

  • Shop News

    Recognizable Images of Petzval

    Recognizable Images of Petzval

    You want your subject be the center of attention? Petzval lens are recognizable for sharpness and crispness in the centre, strong color saturation, wonderful swirly bokeh effect, artful vignettes and narrow depth of field that will make your subjects stand out!

  • My Lomo’Instant Quick Tips

    written by tomas_bates on 2014-11-12 in #gear #tipster
    My Lomo’Instant Quick Tips

    I backed the Kickstarter project for the Lomo’Instant earlier this year and was thrilled to receive it last week. I love how the camera naturally encourages you to experiment with its different features, whether it’s through flashing your multiple exposures with different colors or trying different creative techniques after your shots has been ejected. Here are a few tips from what I’ve discovered from playing with the camera so far (and a couple of tips I want to try out in future)!

  • Summer Rumble Part 1: Dress up!

    written by zoeyeung on 2014-06-09 in #competitions
    Summer Rumble Part 1: Dress up!

    33 degrees! Summer has arrived! The heat wave, the sweat, it's time for you to change your clothes into summer season. Grab your tank tops and shorts out of the drawers. Put on your bikinis and let's go to the beach! As we can already feel those beach and poolside shots flooding the Community!

  • Experiencing the Rainforest Adventure Experience

    written by jillytanrad on 2014-05-17 in #world #locations
    Experiencing the Rainforest Adventure Experience

    When I was a kid, one of my greatest joys was to go to the park. I especially loved playgrounds. It didn't matter how may other children there were, as long as I could have my turn to go on the slide and and sit on the swing. These days, enjoying one's childhood has become so different. Technology has stolen the interest of children in more physically demanding yet fun activities.

    1
  • Shop News

    Get 20% off on the Lomography Experimental Lens Kit

    Get 20% off on the Lomography Experimental Lens Kit

    Satisfy your hunger for creative snap-shooting with this lens package made especially for Micro 4/3 digital cameras.

  • Portraits, Lights, Instant Photos, and Weird Faces

    written by antoniocastello on 2015-03-06 in #gear #lifestyle
    Portraits, Lights, Instant Photos, and Weird Faces

    In New York City, winter has been harsh and long, the nights long and cold, and shooting outside is not fun anymore. So when the Lomo'Instant Boston Edition hit the shelves this week and the new Splitzer arrived at the Lomography Gallery Store New York, we decided to do a round of light painting portraits instead of sunny ones.

  • Show Us Your Perfect Timing Winners Announcement!

    written by mindofmyra on 2015-03-06 in #world #competitions
    Show Us Your Perfect Timing Winners Announcement!

    There is nothing better than a photo shot at the perfect moment. Henri Cartier-Bresson's principle on "The Decisive Moment" is a principle that we should still follow to this day. A perfectly-timed photo creates impact, whether it's one of a friend jumping into the pool or a couple emerging from the ceremony on their wedding day. For this rumble, we want to see that breathtaking moment, shot at the perfect time. And you showed us what it's like to be on time.

    1
  • The Lomo’Instant Splitzer: the Must-Have Slice and Dice Accessory!

    written by bgaluppo on 2015-03-06 in #gear #lifestyle
    The Lomo’Instant Splitzer: the Must-Have Slice and Dice Accessory!

    What exactly do I feel while waiting for my Lomo'Instant photos to be developed? I have to say I get a mix of "Surprise me, dear Lomo!" but also some "Did I capture it as I wanted?" kind of thought. No matter the school of thought, with the Splitzer you can add so many cool effects to your photos you'll definitely embrace it!

  • Shop News

    Give your space a facelift with your own analogue print

    Give your space a facelift with your own analogue print

    Really want to bring your film photos to life? We’re now offering totally analogue fine art prints in a host of large sizes and formats! Carefully enlarged from your negatives onto premium photographic paper by lab professionals, each picture is a unique piece of craftsmanship.

  • Jonathon Keats to Unveil the Millennium Camera at the Arizona State University Art Museum

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-03-06 in #world #news
    Jonathon Keats to Unveil the Millennium Camera at the Arizona State University Art Museum

    You might remember experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats for the CenturyCamera, his ambitious project which involved installation of 100 ultra-long-exposure cameras in and around Berlin, Germany "to continuously document 100 years of municipal growth and decay for scrutiny and judgment by future generations" between 2014 and 2114. But today, Keats goes a step further and begins yet another groundbreaking and unprecedented project with the Millennium Camera.

  • Photo of the Day by eskodisk

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-03-06 in #world #news
    Photo of the Day by eskodisk

    A change in perspective can take an ordinary photograph to great heights!

  • Ilcontrariodime is our LomoHome of the Day!

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-03-06 in #world #news
    Ilcontrariodime is our LomoHome of the Day!

    From everyone here in Lomography, congratulations to ilcontrariodime for winning Home of the Day!

    2