Rachel Winslow is an analogue photographer living in Chicago, IL. She uses expired film and destroyed film to create colorful images with her Holga & other film cameras.
How did you get introduced to your first Holga and how long have you been shooting?
I've always been into photography. I've been taking pictures since I was about 10, and most of my adolescence was shot on disposable cameras that I took with me everywhere. I never really thought of my photography as an art form - it was more of a way for me to document my life. In 2008, I discovered the Holga and it changed my life. I started being more thoughtful about taking pictures instead of just snapping away. I started collecting film cameras and spent hours on the internet looking up everything I could find about analogue photography. This led to a photographer's assistant internship in Israel, which ultimately led to me traveling around the Middle East and Central America for a year. I'm now living in Chicago and working as the assistant manager at the Lomography Embassy Store and Emulsion Gallery Chicago.
What is it about the Holga that draws you to it? Why do you shoot with it?
I think that when you use the Holga you aren't just taking pictures, you're making pictures. You need to understand light and understand how to use your Holga in different lighting conditions. It's a challenging camera to use, even though it's a simple little plastic camera with very limited settings.
Please tell me a bit about your series in which you use a Holga.
I don't think I've ever started a real series with my Holga - I just take it with me and shoot whatever inspires me. I've taken it traveling all over the world with me and it's been in my bag almost every day for the past 6 years. I guess you can say that my series is capturing my life with my Holga.
What are some of your biggest challenges shooting with a Holga and do you have any tips for overcoming them?
My biggest challenge is actually getting my pictures to turn out exactly how I envision them. The only thing that helps me to overcome this is to just keep shooting and learning. I'm constantly pushing myself to try new things with my Holga and I'm always amazed at the incredible pictures that I can take with this little toy camera.
What is your biggest piece of advice for someone just starting out with a Holga?
Don't get discouraged if you get a bad roll back. Take notes about what worked and what didn't work, learn from your mistakes, and carry a little notebook to document your shoots so that you don't forget how you took your favorite picture! It's also good to familiarize yourself with the Bulb setting if you have one on your Holga. It really opens up a whole new world of shooting if you can do long exposures.
What other cameras do you have in your arsenal?
I collect film cameras, and I probably have around 30. The ones that I use the most are my Holga 120N, Holga 120 Pinhole, Lubitel 166U, Canon AE-1, Polaroid SX-70, Polaroid Land Camera 250, Polaroid Spectra, and my trusty Lomography LC-Wide. I'm always acquiring new cameras to play with, but the Holga was my first and will always be my favorite camera to use.
Favourite photo film(s)?
I love finding old slide film and cross processing it. Ektachrome, Elite Chrome, Sensia, Velvia - I love it all. There's nothing better than coming across an old roll of slide film and trying it out. It makes you think a little more about the pictures that you take when you know that this could be the only time you will be able to shoot that film because certain films are so hard to find nowadays.
What inspires you?
Interesting people. New seasons and new places. Being alone. Walking around the neighborhoods with my cameras.