Life Throught a Plastic Lens [The Holga Experience].
“ A Holga is a study in imperfection, and to use it is an exercise in breaking free from dependence on technology, precision, and über-sharpness. The slight softness of images, uncontrollable vignetting, and peculiar light leaks create a partnership between you and the Holga. The “flaws” accompanied by your creative choices result in a quasi-serendipitous art.” – Michelle Bates.
How could I have said no to such an invitation? How could I refuse this innovative playful experience, and turn away from this trip into a new, vast, and untamed world of artistic challenges and uncontrolled visual perceptions?
I got my first Holga two days ago as an early birthday gift, from a good friend of mine. Another amateur of photography: sensei. (He got himself the Fisheye II). For a couple of weeks now, I have been preparing mentally for the new and “improved” version of the Diana (as they say): The Holga 120CFN. I have been going through websites, articles and video clips, that teach how to tape the camera, how to load films, as well as creative features and modifications. Because the Holga is a camera in its primary state, you have to actually “modify” it, in order to have it work properly. The actual starter kit comes with a roll of black tape. How insane is that? (watch here a youtube clip, showing explainig how to tape and modify your Holga) The lens is made of plastic, it has a built-in psychedelic multi-colored flash, and it produces vignetted medium format prints.
The only condition for using a Holga, is that “you have to let go of the controls”. And I think this is the main reason of attraction between a control freak like me, and this unpredictable, compulsive, hidden artist in a box. I fell in love with its simplicity, but was intrigued by its personality; it possesses the power to make its own decisions. You have to learn how to remain flexible, and “roll with the punches”. So much character, and so much fussiness coming from a clumsy-looking plastic toy, but who ever said that real beauty and unforgettable art have to be attached to so much pretense and perfection. Every Holga is unique; there is nothing generic, or industrial about it. “Some produce brighter images, some more colorful ones. Some leak light through the back, some through the side, and some don’t leak at all”. Like human beings, each box carries a special signature of its own, and it leaves it up to you to discover its inner quirkiness, figure out what makes you tick, and experiment while manually modifying the camera.
The 5 fundamentals for a good partnership with the Holga are: 1. Free yourself from rules. 2. Embrace random results. 3. Disarm your subjects. 4. Engage individuality. 5. Get Your Hands Dirty.
The first rule for using the Holga: 1. There are no rules.
“The Holga summons up Dadaist traditions of chance, surprise and willingness to see what can happen.” – Robert Hirsch.
La Route des Vins' 08 / Dunham, Qc. / Canon Eos Digital Rebel XTi
It snowed today. My favorite season is officially over with this first white coat.
For the past few days now, wind has been picking up, and the rain came down washing away the last stubborn yellow/red/orange leaves. Naked and deserted, deciduous trees are emerging rapidly and abruptly throughout the desolate landscape.
The color scheme will now change for the few months to come… awaiting the next green.
Can’t complain much though. We have had a magnificent and sublime Fall season this year. Despite long inhumane working hours, I have managed to squeeze in a few unplanned and spontaneous road trips and hikes, which generated beautiful frames and surreal colors to be carried away in memory… in the form of photographs.
Although this was a fruitful and a personally satisfying season of photography, I was very unfortunate to lose two very important team members along the way: My old and reliable Nikon FG, and my Polaroid camera; may they rest in peace. They both added magic and pleasure to my photographic journey, and it is really a shame to see them retire, and bite the dust…
A new member joined the clan though… But that's the topic of the next entry.
Sept.08 / Morin Heights, Qc. / Canon Eos Digital Rebel XTi
"In a manner of speaking In a manner of speaking I just want to say That I could never forget the way You told me everything By saying nothing In a manner of speaking I don’t understand How love in silence becomes reprimand But the may I feel about you is beyond words Oh give me the words Give me the words That tell me nothing Oh give me the words Give me the words That tell me everything
In a manner of speaking Semantiks won't do In this life that we live we only make do And the way that we feel might have to be sacrificed
So in a manner of speaking I just want to say That like you I should find a way To tell you everything By saying nothing Oh give me the words Give me the words That tell me nothing Oh give me the words Give me the words Give me the words Give me the words Give me the words"