Lomography is a broad term that describes a lot but can be used to sum up the use of toy cameras. Toy cameras are kinda wild, fun and unpredictable – which is what makes them fun. In particular, I want to talk about the Holga and the Diana and why you should drop the $20 on a Holga, like, right now. (See freestyle photographic supplies in my links for most of the products I talk about on this blog. They don’t pay me to advertise, I just like ‘em.)
A Holga is a fully plastic camera (even the lens) which leaks light, is fully analogue and unlike an SLR, only has a rangefinder. That means you pretty much have to guess on the focus. It only has 2 aperture settings, “sunny” and “cloudy/flash” and 2 shutter settings, “normal” and “bulb”.
I’m sure you’re wondering why anyone would buy this camera, but it’s the flaws that make for interesting photos. The lens provides a great vignetting effect, light leaks, distortion, lens flare, strange colors and artifacts to photos and the plastic design provides soft focus photos.
No two Holgas are alike in the pictures they produce, since each has it’s own unique flaws. Plus the camera comes in a variety of colors and is a perfect blank canvas for crafting. One gallery from a Holga customizer's collection.
The camera can take either rectangular or square photos, and can be taped with electric tape to reduce light leaks. Some Holgas also come with flashes that can be either red, yellow or blue. Other Holgas have hot shoe flash mounts, and most have tripod mounts as well. Holgas can also be modified to make pinholes, take 35mm and do fisheye photos (more later).
The Diana is similar to a Holga, but has a glass lens which is removable and can be switched to telephoto or wide angle lenses. In my opinion, the Diana takes sharper pictures which can be more or less fun depending on what you want. It’s also more expensive. The upside to this camera is the various modifiers that can be purchased (will discuss this more later).
There is a lot to say/do with a Holga or Diana and I promise this is only the first of many discussions. For this post, I just want to share a few black and white photos I’ve gotten from my Holga over the past year. It’s not much money to spend, even film is relatively cheap, so pick one up and start playing with it!
The film in these prints was accidentally exposed to light during unloading. Just another example of a “flaw” that is also appealing as it shows the numbering from the paper backing of Kodak 120 film.
Until next post…. If you try any of this stuff, please email me your photos or ideas. I’d love to see what others do and learn about new and strange photographic processes. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.