I started my Holga journey because I was bored out of my mind after graduate school. I needed something to kickstart my creativity. Film photography is a form of therapy for me and I can lose myself in the camera and the beauty of life around me.
Hipstamatic sparked my interest and after some research I started hunting Holgas, Diana’s, La Sardinia’s and all the different film formats that produced the gritty, grainy artistic photos that I see in my head. My first set of developed prints made me want to cry but I toughened up and soldiered on. I studied my technique, my awful mistakes and the light leaks that destroyed more than a few of my prints. My mistakes made me start paying attention to what the heck I was doing. I will write another blog on my common mistakes this blog is for the light leaks.
Why Tape Your Holga
The Holga is a cheap, light-weight camera from China that comes with a plastic lens and a plastic body. Light leaks are natural to the Holga and there is really no way to avoid them unless you tape the entire camera and what is the fun in that. I can understand how light leaks can be intimidating to someone new to this type of photography but I encourage you to embrace the unpredictablity. Let yourself be surprised by your images.
The first time I developed 35mm film in my Holga I realized I needed to tape up the back of your camera, or light will leak in through the film counter window and over-expose every single shot. Along with my other mistakes I’d ruined an entire roll of film but hey… that’s part of the game of experimenting with your camera. 35mm film doesn’t have paper backing like medium format film does so it has no protection from the light seeping in from the little red window at the back of the camera. Without covering this window your roll will be exposed to light in every shot. A common solution is to seal the window off to keep everything nice and pitch dark inside the camera. I use electrical tape to make a flap so I can tell when I have gotten to the first shot while loading and how many shots I have remaining. I get some leaks but my shots are not completely blown out.
I also cover the bottom of the camera and the metal clips on each side. The cilps are worthless to me a lesson learned after I put my brand new camera around my neck for the day and the weight of the camera was no match for the cheap clips. I watched in horror as my hours-old Holga slipped off my neck and hit the cement. It works….I played with it for hours and coaxed it back to life.
I am not an expert at anything. I research and share my journey with others. Have fun and let yourself go. Follow the Golden Rules! Share your experiences and your photos.
Next up….My common mistakes and what I learned.