Getting To Know Holga- This Is Not Your Average Photography Course

So many students long for the days of chemical photography and even more desire to be unfettered by technology and allow their creativity to flow as they experience photography in a purely spontaneous and creative way. This fall, on Tuesday nights, we are offering a new course that allows students to abandon technology and get back to photography’s roots. Black + White Film Photography with the Holga 120N, taught by consummate pro, Sandra Davis, promises to allow students an opportunity to embrace the fundamentals of film photography while exploring the expressive qualities of black and white fine art photo. But why the Holga?


The Holga is an inexpensive, 120 film plastic camera made in China. It has a problem producing quality photos which has attracted many photographers to add this camera to their array of equipment and many of the photographs produced have received lots of attention for their distorted look. There are many variations of the Holga camera from the 120S with it’s fixed shutter speed and plastic lens to the 120GFCN with it’s color flash and glass lens. Once you see some of the photos people have produced with this plastic gem, you will be convinced to buy one and start playing seriously with it, because the Holga proves that even a small plastic camera in the right hands can produce quality photographs.

10 things you NEED to know about Holga

1. It has several charming characteristics unmatched by any other photographic device.

2. The plastic lens and a moderate amount of light leaks and vignetting produce strangely dreamy, retro quality pictures.

3. Medium format negatives, considerably larger than 35mm ones, can store a lot of fine detail.

4. It’s the cheapest way to get into medium format photography.

5. You can produce square images, which is a refreshing change from the traditional oblong photos of 2 x 3 or 3 x 4 proportions.

6. It’s so simple that it allows you to concentrate on composition rather than technology.

7. It allows you to try tricks such as multiple exposures effortlessly

8. It’s light, reasonably sturdy, and easily replaced, so you can take it everywhere and never have to miss a shot anymore.

9. It’s very inexpensive, so you’ll never break the bank equipping it- we’re letting you use one all semester FREE of charge.

10. Because it’s so inexpensive and so easily replaced, you can experiment, modify, and tinker without worry.

So you’ve never used a Holga before, but you vaguely heard about this toy camera or you just saw it at the local photo store and were charmed by the sheer bubble-gum quality of it.  Maybe you’ve worked with 35mm or digital photo before, but you’ve never shot anything like this plastic box.  Heck, you don’t even know how to load 120 film, though you’ll figure it out with a few minutes of fumbling.  This is for you.

Where to Find More Info

Frank Van Riper – shooting panorama photos with your Holga

Andreas Wolkerstorfer- amazing Holga panorama photos great site with tons of Holga + toy camera resources

Argonauta Productions :Holga Cameras – Good tips on how to use and modify a Holga

Holgamods – Get your Holga all tricked out!  This site also has lots of excellent Holga links.

Life Through A Plastic Lens Written by Paul Williamson

Holga Photos Rock

The History of Holga

The Authoritative Guild to Holga Tune-up and Modifications – By Mark Hahn

Some great Holga add-ons!

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