Holga Week 2021 – days 1 & 2

Welcome to my #HolgaWeek2021 Diary and specifically to days 1 & 2.

Holga Week 2021,  a week long celebration of the humble, oft-revered and also oft-maligned Holga camera. This year it runs from 1st – 7th October. I have two in my collection, both use 120 film; one is a traditional 6×6 format whilst the other is a 12×6 pinhole camera.  The Holga is one of those cameras than can truly aspire to cult status and once you get into the right mindset they are a truly liberating experience.

Holga 120N – August 2021

Less than two weeks ago I was photographing along the beach and waters edge at Hunstanton with a drone in the mornings and a Bronica SQ-A medium format camera in the afternoons. Both require a level of technical mastery to get the best from them.  In the case of the drone some skills are needed simply to get it back on the ground safely! Exposure settings for both are all down to the photographer and with the Bronica so is the focusing. So, why am I spending a week limited to only using two cameras which have no exposure controls, little or nothing in the way of focus controls and in the case of the pinhole no viewfinder? The only things the photographer can control are the composition (well, mostly) and the film to be used.

  • Because I can?
  • Because they (the cameras) are there?
  • Because they are great fun to use?
  • Because they are a complete antidote to my normal style of photography?
  • Because they produce unique images?
  • Because you can never be certain what will be on the roll?

Or perhaps – all of the above?  They both have one thing in common though – they are great fun!

Day One was literally a washout. Rain poured down from the sky in quantities that made even me want to be indoors. I am usually happy to venture out in the rain, especially with the prospect of interesting skies and a few sunny intervals. But stair rods? No thank you. I should really have scanned my films from last week, but of course I decided to spend the day writing a three part blog post on my scanning routines. It was at least a productive day and whilst the weather did brighten up for an hour in the afternoon I decided to restrict Day 1 Holga activity to choosing the films for Day 2.

Day Two started brighter but still wet and grey, albeit a steely-blue-greyness to the sky at 7am which was white blandness by 8am.  Not a day for including lots of sky then!  I was glad for the 400 speed film in the Holga 120N. I’d prevaricated sufficiently that the pinhole camera was still devoid of film.  I was booked in for my flu jab at the doctors at 8:30am, so popped the Holga in my shoulder bag and set off.  

Back home, I loaded my first film of #HolgaWeek2021 into the developing tank with the usual feeling of anticipation.  Which lasted until I hung the roll up to dry.  Whilst there is definitely something usable on the film, and an experiment I tried at the end of the roll has worked out OK, it’s not on the face of it the best start to the week.  However, I’m not sure if we are supposed to share work yet so no spoilers … something to check out though!

In the meantime playtime is over for today and it’s back to the domestic grindstone … looking forward to Day 3 already!

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