Darkroom Adventures

Inspired by the disappearing beauty of the tangible, I decided to buy a crappy silly toy camera, a Holga to be specific. Holga cameras were manufactured in the early 80’s and introduced to the Chinese public as an inexpensive medium format camera. Unfortunately, around the same time, 35mm became the film of popularity, which led to the Holga’s demise at the time. The camera is coming back into popularity now among a select group of hobbyists.

‘In a world where technology changes and advances every day, it’s refreshing that a chunky utilitarian camera made almost entirely of plastic has reawakened and is enlightening the analog world of photography. Holga goes back to the bare bones of photography and forces users to stop relying on all the bells and whistles and simply shoot. Holga is for those who play- for those who appreciate light leaks, enjoy slight soft focus and welcome retro vignetting.’

Since forking over $20 for the camera, I’ve been carrying this silly thing around with me everywhere, and I love snapping photos with it. It makes me think twice. ‘Do I really want to take this picture? How shall I frame it? Is the lighting perfect enough?’ I’ve definitely become more selective about the pics I take.

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I’ve also really grown to love the film developing process and the photo enlarging experience. The familiarity of doing wet chemistry and the ‘magical’ aspect of not knowing what you’re going to get and getting a little surprise every time excites me to no end. There is a bit of an art to developing too which I’m slowly getting a knack for as I get more experience.

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I find spending time in the darkroom itself to be very therapeutic and stress relieving. The methodology is pretty straightforward but there is still quite a bit of room for experimenting (filters/exposure times/apertures/etc)

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The enlarger impresses me. It is kind of nice to know that the optics course I took back when I was still in school is slightly useful for something 😉

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I am a bit of a perfectionist; so of course, I begin by making way too many test strips…

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And then, I play around in the dark and try not to make too much of a mess 😉

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And voila! I have photos 🙂

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Since I had never done this before, there’s been a steep learning curve, but I think I’m making fantastic progress. Now, I just have to not screw up so I don’t keep getting inverted images 😉

xoxo

-P

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