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Why I love my Holga

As we all already know, the Holga is a cheap, light-weight camera from China that comes with a plastic lens and also a plastic body. Although it is known as a toy camera, it is not actually made for small children. I hated it at first but eventually fell in love with it!

The first time I tried a Holga was 8 years ago, I was 17. I totally hated it, I thought it was stupid. The back cover of the camera falls off so easily. I was told to use black tapes all around my camera to prevent light leaks. The film was too big, and nobody wanted to develop it. Plus I looked like a total idiot carrying that camera around. My first roll was crap, I just didn’t see the point of it and moved on to other cameras.

One day, after I got back from the beach with a friend, he showed me the pictures that he had taken during our trip with his Holga. I couldn’t believe them, they were surreal, magical. I had to be able to take the kind of pictures that he took, but I didn’t have any money to buy a Holga at the time. I found another friend who didn’t want her 120CFN anymore who asked me if I would like to trade a pair of my shoes for her camera. I even got some free rolls of films! Fate has brought me to my camera. It came to me.

The Holga has very minimal control, the light settings are sunny and cloudy. It has bulb and normal shutter settings, marked as B and N. The focus settings include one person, three person, many people and mountains. My Holga does have 4 colors of flash though, and my personal favorite is the yellow flash.

There really isn’t much that my Holga can do, in fact it does so many mistakes with its light leaks and accidental multiple exposures. If I had to sum my Holga up in a word it would be unpredictable; I guess that’s what I love so much about it. Now days, I no longer tape my camera to prevent the light leaks, I let my Holga do whatever it wants to do.

I love how it how my camera exaggerates whatever it is I see through my lens. I love thinking of ways to hack and tweak the camera. I love the excitement of waiting for my films to be developed and seeing what disaster it did this time. Though it occasionally lets me down, I know it will make it up to me the next time I develop films out of it.

I don’t think the term “Don’t think, just shoot” ever works for me. I don’t like to waste my film, because of this (actually, just mostly money) limitation that I have on myself, it forced me to look at things in a different way. It thought me to not think so much of what other people think, so I can do whatever I want to do. See people at a different angle. I watch things more closely and I am more careful. It also thought me to be patient. I constantly think of how things could look like and how I could try to make that happen. My Holga honestly thought me so many things.

Today my Holga lives in my oversized handbag or in my car. It also has made yet another best-friend. I think it’s happy.

written by spidereightlegs

7 comments

  1. mephisto19

    mephisto19

    super sweet article!!!! but be careful with your holga in the car - it can melt....

    about 4 years ago · report as spam
  2. mephisto19

    mephisto19

    super sweet article!!!! but be careful with your holga in the car - it can melt....

    about 4 years ago · report as spam
  3. la-urbanista

    I am thinking if getting a Holga. Now I certainly will. :-)
    about 4 years ago · report as spam
  4. cruzron

    cruzron

    @la-urbanista - go get one! i promise you wont regret it. make sure you get lots of light for the first few rolls first before experimenting :)

    about 4 years ago · report as spam
  5. eva_eva

    eva_eva

    i had this crappy holga camera too! too big that i seldom will bring him out for an outing, but, seriously, im in love with the outcome of this crappy camera thou :) nice story and photo gallery!

    about 4 years ago · report as spam
  6. ayo_ari

    ayo_ari

    nice story! i've got a diana f+ and i swear when i bought it i felt the exact same way! haha!

    about 4 years ago · report as spam
  7. reefjj

    I just got a Holga too!
    almost 4 years ago · report as spam

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: 中文(繁體版).