Holga Images

The images in this section were created using a plastic Holga toy camera. The Holga is a $15 medium-format camera that's all plastic, including the lens. Its lens is famous for its low contrast and lack of sharpness, and the camera is prone to mysterious light leaks. While this sounds like a recipe for disaster, it actually is the reason why this camera has such a cult following (just do a Google search for "Holga camera" and you get 111,000 hits!). The camera is completely manual, has practically no settings and its use is fool-proof: simply aim and click.

I'm using the Holga to capture moods and feelings. A sense of mystery and a sense of place. For example, for my image of four people walking in Death Valley's Mesquite Flat dunes, and their shadows cast across the expanse of sand, I decided to forgo the technical perfection offered by my larger cameras and simply grab the Holga to capture this perfect (and fleeting) moment in time. The Holga, with all its optical imperfections, creates an image that is completely timeless. It is as if we were allowed to peek through a tear in the fabric of time and catch a glimpse of the past or the future. Something familiar yet strangely distorted from our perfectly focussed reality.

I scan the 2¼ x 2¼" negative produced by the Holga at high resolution, apply a special platinum printing contrast curve in Photoshop and then output a negative the size of the final print on my Epson 2200 printer. This enlarged negative is then contact-printed on a hand-coated sheet of Arches Platine paper. The prints are approximately 7½ x 7½", and they are corner-tabbed to 14 x 18" archival mountboard and overmatted with a matching window mat.

Click here to see thumbnails of my Holga images, and then click one of the thumbnails along the top of the page to see the actual image.