When feeling dejected after getting prints back from a recent Holga workshop, I looked back at my old photos and realized that with a bit of practice and the correct mindset, my Lomographs were actually pretty good! When you're lomo-down, sometimes all you need is a nostalgic reminder (and a new roll of film!).
I got my first roll of film back yesterday from a Holga workshop I’m taking this month. The Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria has set up an artist-in-residence program with photographer and instructor Tony Bounsall and made it free for 10 Victoria residents aged 17-25. The workshop is about making photos from Holgas even dreamier with post-processing and print manipulation. It’s very interesting, needless to say.
When I do something, I take it seriously. Be it school, music, writing, or photography, I desire top-quality finishes and nothing less. One reason why I love Lomography is because it trains me not to be like that. I feel free to not care: to snap shots of people or things without knowing how it will look in the end. I’ve learned to be happy with all outcomes. I may still have trouble with “not thinking” – that’s rule #6 by the way – but I try to live that analogue lifestyle that us Lomoholics are so proud of.
How I think Holga photos are supposed to look!
I’ll admit the first roll doesn’t feature the dreamy, fantastic, unique photos I was hoping for. It features snapshots of other people in my class, placed directly in the middle of the frame, and farther away than I thought. I seem to have forgotten the basic elements of photography! Luckily my shots were in focus…mostly.
I look up to Lomographers who create beautiful art with their little plastic cameras. It seems counter-intuitive: beauty and elegance that matches professional (digital) photographs from cheap toys. I want to be like them, someday, but something seems to be holding me back.
To top it all off, when I dejectedly showed my mom my prints, she said “I like them a lot better than those funny ones from your Diana!”
Big mistake, mom. I’m a Diana boy through and through. I carry it around with me everywhere. I swear by its disarming charm and oversized elegance.
Immediately I’m online, searching through my 622 Lomographss to defend my plastic princess. I’m pointing out how that one perfectly matches the Rule of Thirds, how this one’s soft focus accentuates the repeating colours, and how the other one’s composition is astounding.
I realized my photos aren’t that bad! They may not have the perfect combination of elements to make people fall in love, some are over/underexposed, some are complete mistakes, but I can still be proud of their beauty and the fact I made them. I followed the analogue principles of not caring, of taking pictures for the sake of taking pictures, and they still turned out beautiful.
The second roll ever taken with my Diana has one of my favourite photos ever, a baseball player with his back towards me in the dying light.
It is well composed, the colours are staggering, the light leaks are subtle and artistic, and the basic elements of photography are adhered to.
Maybe I can do this. Maybe I’ll look back 500 photos from now and cherish my Holga prints as I do with my Diana prints today.
Read the stories behind my favourite photos from my first 500 on my blog.