As I mentioned I first heard about Holgas in college, and at the time I was doing a lot of journalistic photography from my own projects to working on the college newspaper. To be honest I wanted nothing to do some plastic toy camera, after all I had two of the best camera bodies in the world, the Nikon F3HP!
I was in my last photography class and needed a project for it, and here comes more of that autobiographical stuff, so I decided to to photograph my then wife and I who was pregnant. As I began to brainstorm about the project, I knew what I didn't want, and that was photographs that were more graphic and all that. I had seen lots of other students using Holgas, and thought I would give one a try for this project, because the end results would be so different from what I had been doing for the majority of my college experience.
I think these first Holga photographs are amongst my best, because I really trying to see what the capabilities of this toyish camera were, and I as literally just going with the serendipity of it.
I call this one, "Who Will Our Child Look Like The Most":
There are three exposures here, each one of our faces, and of her pregnant tummy.
This next one, was one of the few single exposure photographs I did for this project. I don't really have a title for it, but in some way I think is representative of the what the birth process must be like for the child, kind of dark and comfortable.
This last one, is probably my favorite of the project because it was one of the first times I got to hold my son.
About two years after I did these photographs, I submitted these and two others into one of the first Holga only photography exhibits at Old Dominion University, four of them were accepted.
After I finished this project I graduated shortly after wards, and wouldn't pick up a Holga or any kind of camera for that matter for about six years, where I started the "Singletrack Dreams" photographs I mentioned in the "Mountain Biking
One of things I like about using a Holga is that is despite it's simplicity it is a versatile camera, you can do lots of things with it, without having any special film back or attachments. You can do panoramas or "Holgarama's :
Holgas use 120 film but when you run a roll of 35mm film through it you can get some amazing results.
I also like to do diptychs and triptychs with my Holgas, I think they have a way of telling more a little bit more of a story than a single stand alone image.
For a project I did with a photography group I am a part of my submission consisted entirely of diptych portraits, as an added dimension to the portraits I gave the person a print and asked them come up with some text about themselves, the portrait, or whatever it was that on their mind at the time.
My buddy Lee, came up with the following text for his portrait:
"A heavy heart at times, but filled with pride now. Home from Iraq. Dad is back.The future really does stretch before us like a newly graded highway – morning sunlight shining on freshly painted lines, gentle curves lost on the horizon, long uphill climbs, and a nice welcoming shoulder to lean on when you need it
I like to make portraits with my Holgas, because I never know how things will turn out, as in the case of this portrait of my dad. It's such a representational portrait of him, because he is such a tinker working out in the garage and the unusually shaped light leaks kind of look like the lights he has in the garage when he works on his truck. I have never had such unusual light leaks like that before, but the bulb switch on my modified Holga
, another serendipitous moment brought to you by Holga.
I love how Holgas capture light, as in the portrait of my lovely and talented wife.
I guess there isn't a whole lot more to say, because I have said it before, so I will just end with a few of my favorite photographs from the past few years.