How many times had I been walking down the street or driving (which we do more often in LA) and seen something that I wanted to photograph…only to realize I didn’t have anything to photograph with. How many times did I come across some freaky ‘only in LA’ kind of person/object/scene and then be furious with myself for not having a camera on me. And how many times did I have friends then chastise me with: you’re a photographer and you don’t carry a camera with you? (Ok, yes the camera on my phone can sometimes stand in, but not quite the same thing.) So I started carrying my point and shoot digital. It certainly worked but since the purpose of this blog is to talk about film I’ll only say it’s a good back up plan. I love my Nikons but they aren’t the kind of cameras one drags around – or keeps in a hot car. It was one thing if I planned to go out and shoot, but since I recently wrote about my inspiration issues you can imagine how often that was happening. No, I needed another option and perhaps something new that would jumpstart my creative quagmire.
Enter the Holga. Now many people seem to put down the Holga, after all it’s made of plastic. Plus, you don’t have the control like you do with an SLR. You’re never quite sure how the final photo is going to turn out…which in actuality kind of intrigued me. I’m so used to controlling how I want an image to turn out most of the time, that it seemed exciting to throw caution to the wind. But let me step back. I was one of those purists that couldn’t imagine why I would want to buy a plastic camera. Then one afternoon I found myself listening to a podcast by a photographer I really admire. He mentioned what I’ve now heard from so many other professional photographers: he uses digital for commercial work, but film for his artistic projects. He also started talking about using Holgas for fun and how many other professional/commercial photographers he knew always carried a Holga in their bag to play with. I started to think…well if it’s good enough for this guy it should be good enough for me. And here’s the best part: it’s a medium format camera. Schlepping a 35mm SLR is one thing, but a medium format camera is another (not to mention having to often bring a tripod along). I decided what I needed was a Holga.
I went over to one of my favorite photography supply stores in LA – Freestyle – that also happens to have one of the biggest selections of Holgas and plunked down my $35. Yes, really…a camera for $35. I would spend more on film than I would on the camera. The fact that it’s portable and medium format made it that much easier for me to carry around, so I took it for a spin around LA and then with me on a recent trip to Louisville, KY.
I had no idea how the photos would turn out since Holgas are notorious for producing photos with light leaks, vignetting …the possibilities are endless. (A little promo love for Go Holga – a great blog about all things Holga). I loved the results. Yes, I have to get used to letting go of the control (which should be a whole other blog post), but the best part is I’m excited about shooting film again and exploring a whole new way of seeing. That’s what creativity is all about in the end – taking a new path, trying something different, and taking a chance with a $35 camera.
I can’t wait to take it with me to Seattle this weekend, so stay tuned for a whole slew of new photos.