nothing simple about a holga

in class earlier this week i really enjoyed the photography talk. photography is my magic word and i soak that information up like a sponge, but it seems that as a result of a conversation or a comment made during class andrew did a small post about how the camera does lie. so when i read over the page he linked about the book faking it: manipulated photography before photoshop and saw the photos i immediately thought about my holga camera.

double exposure. holga 35 mm. old town helena, alabama.

commenting on his post i mentioned my familiarity with multiple exposure (from shooting with my holga) and how you can do really neat things to manipulate the images/film. there are a lot of concepts that were very obviously in practice way before photoshop’s time as it is seen in photos from faking it, that i don’t think i would have thought possible before seeing those images. sometimes i forget that there were intelligent, photo-savvy people that were interested in these things before my time.

but with that said i wanted to share a few multiple exposure photos that i have taken with my holga. now mind you that these are from my first roll of film and i was still getting the hang of the camera and experimenting on my own, so they aren’t the greatest of shots.

triple exposure. holga 35 mm. old town helena, alabama.

the photo above is a triple exposure which means that i shot three different scenes in the same frame to make one photo. when you do this you have to be careful because sometimes exposing the same frame in the negative will overexpose the shot, meaning that it comes out too bright. i’m almost to that point, if not already there, with this one. however some of the brightness can be contributed to the white, brick building behind him.

multiple exposure. holga 35 mm. old town helena, alabama.

with this one i can’t recall how many times i shot in this frame. you can see the railroad tracks in one shot, the street down town in another, and i feel like there could be one more here but i’m not sure because this was taken at least two summers ago, now. but at least you get a better idea of multiple exposures since there are, we’ll say two, two scenes pictured here.

4 thoughts on “nothing simple about a holga

  1. Tell me about the holga? Recently I read something about an old Japanese camera that was designed to use film efficiently because it was expensive, it shot multiple exposures on each frame. Some photographers like to push the camera to make multiple exposures like the ones you’ve posted here. Is this, by chance, the type of camera?

    I’d like for you to consider how these types of images might be used to create images of landscapes, or perhaps even images of land- and culturescapes simultaneiously…

    • well, i did a little research looking for another film camera that will do multiple exposures like the holga will, specifically a japanese one as you mentioned, but wasn’t able to find anything. the holga is chinese made and cheaply fabricated at that. but that’s the best part! the fact that the holga is a plastic camera makes it all the more desirable because there are many things that are wrong since it is plastic, and can go wrong when taking photos, especially since we’re talking film.
      i guess what makes me gravitate towards the holga are the little details such as: 1) it’s film, which is my favorite 2) you can’t actually control the focus 3) the colors come out faded/misty 4) the vignetting on the edges of the photo can’t be controlled 5) you can multiple expose your film, and 6) different parts of the camera, i.e. the lens, can be manipulated by, say, slightly melting it in the microwave. these are just a few things that make shooting with a holga exciting.

      as far as creating images of landscapes or land and culturescapes simultaneously with this camera and by way of the processes it is capable of, i find it very interesting. there are many things you could do! in my head i immediately see the view of mountains or a mountain range, and then i imagine double, triple, maybe even quadruple exposing the expanse of range to create one image, which would allow so many details of the scenery to be viewed. or how about first taking a photo of a parking lot, store, gas station, etc. and then without advancing your film (to create a multiple exposure) taking a photo of a field, patch of woods, something undeveloped, and capturing those images in one? then we would see the past, present, and future. what kind of message is conveyed through that sort of image? those are just the ideas i get when mulling those thoughts over. if you have a few minutes you should check out this link,, i think that you’d enjoy the tad bit of information!

      sorry it’s taken me so long to respond. i kept meaning to, but out of habit would also keep forgetting!

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