Lo-Fi Photography

Holga + Polaroid = HOLGAROID!

Posted in Gear by Ray on 11.08.2009

This is my plastic fantastic. One of my least reliable cameras to use, but produces some of my favorite images with its many low-fidelity characteristics such as vignetting, lens distortion, blur, soft focus, and light leaks.

Holga cameras have a large following with artists, budget medium format photographers, and toy camera enthusiasts that are not concerned with having the most megapixels, sharpest lens, and microscopic detail grabbing sensors that have all but sucked the soul and mood out of the image.

Holga + Polaroid = Holgaroid! Combining a craptastic camera with crappy film, how does the double negative rule work again?

I have the original Polaroid back that takes the long discontinued Type 80 pack film. I think it’s cooler than the new Holgaroid backs that take 3×4 pack film because the image from the Type 80 film is square…and you know what Huey Lewis said…It’s Hip to be Square.

It’s tricked out with a hand grip, making it seem like one of those press cameras….except of course it’s plastic with a flimsy tacked on viewfinder that falls off all the time when the camera itself isn’t falling off from the Polaroid assembly…see the metal clip that keeps the camera on the back? Then there’s the dark slide that I sometimes forget to take off (resulting in a blank shot), and the fact it’s a fixed aperture (my GFN has a sunny and cloudy setting but alas doesn’t actually change aperture size) and fixed shutter speed…forcing me to typically shoot only in certain light conditions (I like to set it to Bulb and use the force instead of a meter with this camera). Why do I put up with all the fuss? Because it brings all the joys of a scratch-off lottery win when the image does come out.

Here’s a picture using Type 84 black & white peel apart film. Note the heavy vignetting, soft focus, blur, and light leaks…but evocative in my opinion, and maybe just a bit eerie in this case.

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