Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Holga Feature Photographer Kathi Bondzio

Kathi's image "Apple" was the image that I chose as my 'winner' back during the first Holga Week of 2014.  Kathi is a graphic designer and she lives in a small city close to Cologne, Germany.  She graciously accepted my request for an interview, and I am finally getting it out for everyone to see!  Check out her lovely images below and find out why she loves the Holga so much.

How did you get introduced to your first Holga and how long have you been shooting?

I've been into photography from a very young age, but it was always the "serious technical approach" with a SLR and I enjoyed it, but I wasn't really passionate about it. I decided to study graphic design. At university I took a course that focussed on the different styles of photography, which is where I first learned about all sorts of low-fi and experimental techniques and also discovered Lomography, which at that time was basically just LC-A and Samplers -- this was in 2002. I was intrigued, but I didn't know anyone (except my professor) who had ever heard about it. So I went off into the internet and tried to find more about all this and that's where I stumbled across the first Holga shots. I fell in love with the square format, the dreamy look, the sharp center and soft edges, the vignette... So I had to have one!

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

I still love shooting with a Holga for the very same reasons I fell in love all those years ago. I'm still a big fan of the square format. I love that with a Holga, you can put your subject just plain in the centre and it never gets boring. I love the vignette and the distortion, the softness and the very special atmosphere that all Holga photos seem to have.

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

To be honest, I find shooting with a Holga pretty straight-forward. As you can't change any settings on the camera except the distance, you can fully concentrate on your subject matter. Of course at the beginning there's also questions like "is there enough light?" or "did I estimate/set the distance right?", but this is just a matter of practice and experience -- so keep shooting!

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

When I got my first Holga (which was actually a "Woca") I was really nervous and worried I'd mess up the film, since I'd never shot medium format before. But I soon found out it's really easy, so my first tip is: don't worry so much, just go for it. Anything else... well, I'm not a big fan of taping the camera, but I'll admit a bit of tape or a rubber band comes in handy because all those stories you heard about the the back just falling off -- it really happens.

What do you consider "must-haves" when shooting with your Holga and why?

Film :) And to be honest I prefer shooting on sunny days with the Holga, it adds more contrast and colours to the images and I like it better that way.

What other cameras do you have in your arsenal?

Over the past years I have accumulated a rather large collection of cameras (I think around 30, maybe more, I don't really know), but apart from my Holgas my all-time favourites are my LC-A, Lubitel and SX-70. But I like to try "new" and different cameras every now and then.

Favourite photo film(s)?

This is really hard to tell because there are phases when I like one or the other film better, and sometimes I chose the film depending on the subject or my mood. But when it comes to shooting with my Holga, a fail-proof choice for me is the Lomo X-Pro 200 (cross-processed, as the name suggests). I really like the colours and it's rather forgiving when it comes to under- or overexposure.

What inspires you?

So many things! I try to keep my eyes open when I'm out and about, I usually always carry a camera with me and there's a lot to discover even in your usual everyday-routines. I enjoy looking at works of other artists too, not just photography, but also fine art, illustration, design, architecture...

You can find more of Kathi's photos here:

Thanks for stopping by!



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