Although I can’t remember how I came to know about the Holga, I know that I instantly wanted one. In a short time I was ready to dive into all things Holga. It wasn’t exactly love at first sight, but after my second roll of film…there was no going back.
I don’t remember how I first heard about Holga cameras. I remember reading online about their cult following, light leaks and low-fidelity photos. I was starting my advanced film photography class and this sounded like a fun way to dive into medium format film.
However, the first roll I shot was somewhat disappointing. I had accidentally double exposed a couple of shots. My focus was entirely strange on others and my composition needed some adjusting. I knew I needed to make some tweaks, but I was already reserving myself to letting the Holga be nothing more than a strange landscape photo camera.
Then, I found a 35mm film tutorial.
It was amazing. My focusing was better. I shot from the hip more and didn’t stress composition as much, focusing on sky scapes and clouds. Not to mention the panorama effect and the sprocket holes.
Best of all, there were light leaks. I had wanted the light leaks so much, when I didn’t see them in my first roll, it was a little bit of a disappointment.
My Holga would continue to be an odd addition to my collection of film SLRs. I was hand processing the film (which let me skew colors and control contrast). I got used to the Holga’s focusing and composing.
I fell in love with the errors caused by the low quality construction of the camera. On a trip to San Francisco, the film that pads the takeup spools came unglued and reeled itself into my film, causing fogging on the whole roll of 120 film.
Sometimes, I can’t replicate the errors that have created my favorite photos in the past, but even after buying a Diana F+, Diana Mini, countless nameless plastic cameras and 2 more Holgas, my original is still the one I keep going back to time and time again. What can I say? I’m in love.