After anticipation combined with slight frustration, I finally retrieved my first roll of developed film. I’ll unashamedly claim that my frustration with this excited event was due to the fact that I had to enter the cursed aisles of Wal-Mart. Being the only place in town (believe me, I asked around) that would develop my 120 roll, I pulled into the massive parking lot weeks ago, keeping my eyes up and focused on the blue and white ‘Photo Center’ sign as my flip flops smacked against the cold concrete floor. After a long and arduous battle with three blue-vested, smiley-face-stickered, walkie-talkie-armed workers, I finally got my film turned in and sent off.
I waited over 3 weeks before returning to the store, calling to make sure they had my packet on hand, screaming my name over the phone “yes Ma’am that’s B as in BIRD, U as in UMBRELLA”… and after paying what seemed to be an enormous sum for a mere 12 prints, opened the envelope and flipped through the pictures in my car.
The camera I used to develop this roll is actually my first film camera- a Holga. The Holga was first developed in the 1980’s in China and became popular due to it being the cheapest camera on the market to develop 120 film. However, 35mm film cameras quickly made their way into the hands of amateur and professional photographers and the Holga took its place on the top shelf of everyone’s closets. Now that photography has shifted face to become more creative, individual, ‘artsy’ and less manufactured, the presence of the Holga has jumped back on the scene allowing current digital photographers some ease in getting comfortable with film.
What most people, including myself, love about the Holga is its claim to imperfection. Photographs taken with a Holga are often decked with lots of grain and noise, irregular light patterns, motion blurs, and multiple exposed layers. These effects allow for some amazingly unique and artistic shots.
Here are a few from my first roll. I’m looking forward to experimenting with the Holga and learning more about film photography in general, possibly even getting my hands on a classic Nikon 35mm around Christmas time.
For some more information on the Plastic Wonder: http://www.freestylephoto.biz/pdf/holga-manual.pdf