Disappeared and back again

Toy camera fans, did you hear the news? The Holga is back.

One of the first posts on this blog, seven years ago, was about a roll of Kodachrome. As Kodak was discontinuing the production of its legendary film, the last lab capable of developing its unique process was ending its work, too. So I caught the chance and shot one roll of Kodachrome myself.

That last roll was actually also my first. While for most everyone else the pull of the film was nostalgia, for me it was something I could only define as second-hand nostalgia. I didn’t have access to Kodachrome while growing up, of course, but experienced its allure as part of the allure of the American dream – yet when I was able to access it, the dream had changed. Continue reading

A German Holga: Certo-phot camera and the pull of nostalgia

photo by camera-wiki

One of the bonuses of spending time in Bulgaria for me is the chance for old, interesting, quirky photo finds. That usually means old photos, but also – and especially – old cameras and curious photo equipment you rarely come across these days.

My latest acquisition is this Certo-Phot camera, produced by camera maker Certo in Dresden in what was East Germany. Now, the company itself was founded way back in 1902, but it almost fell apart in the wake of WWII, after which it became state-owned. Its history follows the twists and turns all German technological brands experienced as a result of the war: nationalization, patent restrictions and plundering, activity shifts or even splitting between East and West, which by the way gave us two Agfas for more than 40 years. Continue reading

The Edelweiss Camera: A Bulgarian Holga

A mention of an Edelweiss camera today would make people think of the newly released Diana+ Edelweiss. Ironically, an edelweiss is a small, white, sturdy, very rare alpine flower (see left). And the new Diana+  edition is just a reproduction of the original Diana+ ; the only difference is the look and the only connection to its name is the color.

But actually, the original Edelweiss camera was a Bulgarian medium format camera, Continue reading

Recent Holgascapes

Jacob’s Reward Farm Holga Workshop

It is always a pleasure to be at Jacob’s Reward Farm in Parker, TX, Cindy’s realm that brings me back to my grandparents’ home (although they didn’t have alpacas). So going there for a Holga workshop was combining three pleasures in one: the farm, Holga and especially meeting new and old friends. And bringing them into the Holga cult 🙂

I was a little concerned about how the photos would turn out as the sky was stormy and the light was low. Holga is not very forgiving in low light situations, unless you are willing to experiment with your B setting or embrace the dark results of the embedded 1/125 normal speed. Also, wet grass would translate to dark on black & white film usually. But, hey, it’s also an occasion to try out Holga in a kind of weather that is typical for Texas, so it would be useful for the future.

Here is a gallery with all the pictures taken at the workshop, with no editing except generally brightening them a little bit. Continue reading

How to Holga. A workshop for Holga photography

Where: Dutch Art Gallery, 10233 East Northwest Hw, Dallas, TX

When: April 24, 2010, between 11am and 1pm


I will be leading a workshop showing how to use Holga, a toy camera with a plastic lens and unique low-fi features such as light leaks, vignetted corners and soft focus.In a high-tech digital age, when even the simplest camera phone can take sharp pictures, art photographers have turned to old photo techniques like film and forgotten low-tech tools like plastic toy cameras to create high-art with unusual appeal. The result is quirky images with a soul.

If you are interested in photography and eager to try out something forgotten and unusual, give Holga a try. Here are my own Holgascapes.

If interested, participants may purchase a Holga in advance ($27 from amazon.com) along with a roll of 120mm, ISO 400 film (black&white such as HP5 or color, e.g. Kodak Portra), however, this is not essential. Learn about this fun technique and see the results on this website.