Going Holga

Film photography is fun for its surprises. These surprises come in the form of pictures, mostly. Pictures you see for the first time after hours, weeks, years when they are finally developed and printed or scanned. You wait and you receive.

But surprises also come in different ways. A few months ago, I retweeted a Twitter message and was subsequently picked to receive a yellow plastic Holga camera by Paul James.

This took me by surprise and since I had never owned one, I was delighted. A few days later I held the package in hand: the camera, some film, a flash, and a fisheye converter lens. This promised to be interesting.

I took the camera on a quick trip to Munich on which I’d also taken my Leica. The Leica stayed mostly in the bag. The Holga came with me as I re-explored my old hometown.

The fisheye had no corresponding viewfinder so I needed to guess what would be in the image. For the most part, this worked better than expected.

As I finally was able to pick up the developed film yesterday, I was again surprised in a pleasant way, although I noticed that my Holga, as Holgas tend to, had a light leak. This is one part of the Holga aesthetic I’ve never been all that happy with, so for future outings I’ll be sure to bring some dark gaffer’s tape to put over the upper left corner.

Thanks, Paul, for the unexpected and inspiring gift. Hopefully it will lead to more happy surprises.

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