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'Holga Visions' Project - Zine Launch!

Updated: Jan 19, 2023

I'm really excited to finally announce the launch of "Holga Visions" - Volume One. This is available in an accessible and affordable photo zine format and can be purchased for just £6 inc UK p&p. Just use our Contact Page and we'll send details of how to buy.

I've been taking pictures since I was young and 'back in the day' this meant using film cameras. When digital technology came along, the vast majority of photographers switched over to this format as did I. Around five years ago, I was a little lost with my photography and was looking for something to remotivate me. At this time, I’d started to read about using ‘Toy Cameras’ – cheaply constructed plastic film cameras know for the quirky and often unpredictable results.

A Holga camera then found it’s way into my hands and I’ve been exploring their use ever since. All the images in the “Holga Visions” project are taken with a ‘Holga’, a piece of low-tech plastic hewn into a most basic medium format film camera - the antithesis of today’s ‘advanced’ equipment. £30 will secure a brand-new model; I could spend 150 times as much (well, some people could) on a digital medium format camera, but I’d first pose the following questions: Are you going to get 150 X the fun, disillusionment, exploration, joy, frustration or delight, from it? The answer, unequivocally to all of those is NO.

Technically, Holgas are incredibly simple – A fixed 60mm focal length. Zone focusing (adjust focus ring to match symbols with your estimated subject distance). Two apertures - f8 & f11 (approx. Loose manufacturing tolerances mean every camera is ‘unique’). Finally, two shutter speeds – 1/100s ish (depending on shutter spring age) & Bulb mode, how long you keep the shutter lever pressed down. Consider this spec to be liberation rather than limitation, affording boundless opportunity to experiment with a gloriously crappy piece of plastic.

Fifteen years ago, technical perfection and faithful replication of a scene set out before me were my photography goals. Today, an image that elicits an emotional response and a visual aesthetic I find pleasing are what I look for. Holgas simplify this.

I’ve served a five-year apprenticeship with these cameras and have reconciled myself to the prospect of never mastering them. It’s a vocation and a learning journey without an end destination but I’m ok with that.

Trying to be a good planet citizen, I undertake photography as locally as I can (I haven’t yet got on an aeroplane to go and take photographs). Worlds within worlds exist on our doorsteps.

For those still producing Holgas (albeit stutteringly) you have my unending gratitude as do film producers like ILFORD who enable the continuation of the rich and diverse pursuit of analogue photography. Finally, Emily of thank you for the wonderful graphic of the Holga you produced for this publication. A copy of this zine is in the post as promised!

Rod Ireland, Lake District, November 2022

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