Monday, April 25, 2016

Current Holga and Toy Camera Submission Opportunities

If you are looking for some great submission opportunities for your Holga or other toy camera images, consider submitting to these two shows below.  Both have been running annual events for many years now and are great ways to get exposure for your work, support the galleries, and learn about other artists who are doing the same!

Lightbox Photographic Gallery
Plastic Fantastic Show VII
Juror: Susan Burnstine
Deadline: May 8, 2016
Click Here for more information

Nave Gallery
2016 Somerville Toy Camera Festival
Juror: Christopher James
Deadline: June 15, 2016
Click Here for more information

TCC Photo Gallery
6th Annual Holga & Friends Out of the Box
Juror: Harvey Stein
Deadline: July 28, 2016
Click Here for more information

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Holga Feature Photographer Johan Larsson

Sit back and enjoy the wonderful Holga work of Johan Larsson from Jönköping, Sweden!  The series of images below is entitled JKPG and are of the city that he lives in.  I love the way he uses multiple exposures (and sometimes panoramas) to create dreamy and dramatic cityscapes!

How did you get introduced to your first Holga and how long have you been shooting?
I think I bought my first Holga in 2008. To be honest, it was not a love at first sight. I took only two or maybe three rolls of film before the shutter broke. 2010-2011 I got a new Holga, as a Christmas gift from my wife. In 2011, me and my Holga finally worked things out and I came to realize what the fuzz was all about.

I have five Holgas (three Holga 120N, one Holga 120CFN and one beautiful, bright yellow Holga 135). I use different films for different situations, so I really need them all. I don't know why, but I do not like the Holga 135. I think I prefer medium format when I shoot toycam and that's why the Holga 135 always stays at home when I go out.

What is it about the Holga that draws you to it? Why do you shoot with it?

I like the simplicity. It is extremely easy to use. Two apertures and one shutter speed (+bulb), that's all I need. And, of course, it is a really beautiful camera and also quite a conversation starter.

Please tell me a bit about your series in which you use a Holga:

I use my Holgas for two series (Barndomsbyn and JKPG). Barndomsbyn (swedish for the childhood village) is a story about the village where I grew up. JKPG (short for Jönköping) is about the city where I live. The photos in JKPG are all multi exposures (up to 100 exposures on each frame). The attached photos are from my JKPG series.

What are some of your biggest challenges shooting with a Holga and do you have any tips for over coming them?

I like light leaks, but sometimes it gets too much. Tape solves the problem easily. I always carry duct tape around, in every jacket and every bag.

What is your biggest piece of advice for someone just starting out with a Holga?

Have fun! Enjoy its simplicity and use it! Don't think too much about composition and light and that stuff, just shoot!

What other cameras do you have in your arsenal?

I have to many cameras (50+) but I only use a couple of them. My favorite camera is an old Leica M2 from the the early 60's.

Favourite photo film(s)?

I shoot primarily with expired Kodak films. Kodak Tmax400 and Tmax100 are the films I use most. They are predictable and tolerant, and I like that.

What inspires you?

Music inspires me. I used to play in a garage band. And I read a lot, mostly Swedish authors like Stig Dagerman.

Visit him at the following links:


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Holga Book Review: Tricks With A Plastic Wonder by Lorraine Healy

Title: Tricks with a Plastic Wonder
Author: Lorraine Healy
Genre: Photography
Price: $6.25 on Kindle at Amazon
An in-depth exploration of the Holga plastic camera, this comprehensive guide by long-time analog photographer Lorraine Healy cuts down on anyone's learning curve on mastering the secrets of "toy" camera photography. For the digital photographer wanting to discover the magic of film as well as for "plastic wonder" fanatics looking for detailed techniques to produce experimental, wacky or ethereal masterpieces.


Lorraine Healy is an award-winning Argentinean poet who has been published extensively. Nominated for a Pushcart in 2004, she has a M.F.A from the New England College and a post-MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles. She is the first poet to have received a green card solely on the merits of her work. The 2009 winner of the Patricia Libby First Book Award, her book "The Habit of Buenos Aires" was published by Tebot Bach in 2010. Her new collection, "Mostly Luck", is forthcoming from Tebot Bach in 2014. "Abraham's Voices," her newest chapbook has just been published by WorldEnoughWriters.

As a photographer, she has been shooting plastic cameras, primarily the traditional Holgas S and N, since 2002. She describes these cheap, idiosyncratic cameras as the perfect vehicle for her way of seeing the world. Lorraine was the winner of the Street Photography 1st Prize of the Holgapalooza 2009 contest, and has been featured in the Krappy Kamera, Holga Out of the Box, Plastic Fantastic, Somerville Toy Show, and Toyed With Plastic contests and shows.

She has long made her home in an island on Puget Sound, Washington.
© Lorraine Healy

My Thoughts 

If you are reading this, you probably love the Holga.  Maybe you've used one for years, like myself, or maybe you just bought one and you are trying to educate yourself as best you can on the subject! Education is definitely worth the investment, as it can spare you wasted rolls of film which are getting expensive to develop these days!

I recently had the opportunity to read Tricks with a Plastic Wonder and I found it to be a very good summation of the Holga camera, from deciding which model to use, what film to use, and how all of the various tricks, techniques and accessories affect your final image.

© Lorraine Healy

Even though I've been using the Holga for over 10 years, there are still some techniques I have not yet tried.  I really enjoyed reading the sections on the various ways to make panoramas, and also the tricks that can be used in post developing to maximize your images.

Lorraine uses many comparison images to show examples of how one scene will look when using various lenses and filters.  There are also examples of other artists work to further enhance the lessons!  I feel like these sections are great for someone who is just starting out and may not be able to buy all of the lenses or accessories all at once.  This helps you decide what look you are going for and what you want to experiment with first.

© Lorraine Healy

The bibliography and resources section at the end of the book is very thorough and provides you with lots of extra reading and links to look at.

If this all sounds like something you are interested in then go check out Lorraine's book and let me know what you think in the comments section.  Holga-On!

© Lorraine Healy

"I love everything about it: the square format, the heavy vignetting, the lack of pristine focus, and its general lack of perfection.  Its sheer imperfection opens doors to be free and play."

© Lorraine Healy

© Lorraine Healy


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