Holga Special Effects

My experiments in film photography continue, and today I would like to share a few photographs taken with a humble Holga camera, taken during my recent trip to Las Vegas.

I bought this camera on eBay for less than $20, and it proved to be an exceptional value. I have done my research beforehand and knew what to expect from its plastic lens and imprecise engineering: vignetting, blur around the edges, light leaks and a few other quirks are part of the game, so I tried to compensate for that with composition and some black tape. Still, I was very impressed by how good the photographs turned out and I am looking forward to using the Holga for more projects. While they may not be perfect technically and I may be too excited to pass a fair artistic judgement on them now, they are relatively consistent in how they come out. Given the price, the ease of use and the quality of the images, I can also see why it could be a great first camera for someone interested in working with film. 

The Venetian, Las Vegas

Ceasar’s Palace, Las Vegas

Also, a Holga is very compact and rugged. It is very light and while it would not fit in the pocket, the lens does not protrude much, so it is not hard to find space for it in a purse or a camera bag. Because it is so lightweight and small, at east by medium format standards, I feel it could be a great asset both the city and the trail. And since it is mostly made out of plastic and it is so cheap, it can withstand a lot of abuse. In the future, I feel this could become my go-to tool for shooting outdoors in challenging conditions.  

Fremont Street, Las Vegas

Fremont Street, Las Vegas

Fremont Street, Las Vegas

Fremont Street, Las Vegas

Fremont Street, Las Vegas

On the other hand, Holga is ultimately a special effects camera. While the “periscope” effect and multiple exposures it can produce may be refreshing at times, they also could get old pretty quickly in large quantities. As this camera makes it deceptively simple to take decent pictures, it is important not to forget about the photographer’s responsibility to think about what I shoot. And to remember to take off the lens cap before clicking the shutter. 

Using Format