Seeing Double: The Wild Side of the Holga

Posted on May 17, 2014 in Photography | 2 Comments

Lucy Flower Face Holga (the holga)

When it’s good, it’s REALLY GOOD.

I’ve written twice about my struggles with my plastic Holga camera: the film that came out blank, the strange solarized color prints. I’ve gone through phases of completely ignoring the camera out of pure frustration.

But recently, the Holga has been working for me in really wild ways.

Bridget in Konya Holga (the holga)

It helped that I bought some new 120mm film. The faded, solarized images resulted from the expired Ektachrome I was using; a newly-purchased (though still expired) roll finally gave me the cross-processed look I was craving.

Two-faced Stanislav Holga (the holga)

It’s easy to make double exposures with a Holga– so easy, in fact, that sometimes it happens unintentionally. (All you need to do is neglect to advance the film. You can take as many exposures as you like, though too many might wash out the image.) My Holga struggles obscured my attempts to play with the camera’s possibilities– the layered images, the multicolored flash, the accidental light leaks.

And play is really what it’s all about.

Lucy Shoots a Building Holga (the holga)

Shooting film makes a photographer give up full control, and using a fickle plastic camera forces you to embrace fortuitous circumstance and unpredictable results. That looseness is a kind of freedom, and lets me have fun with the camera. I think it’s important, generally, to never lose your sense of play, and the Holga reminds me of that constantly.

Three-faced Becki the Holga

I’m hoping my Holga struggles are permanently behind me, so the fun of the camera can continue to outweigh the frustration. It’s a dreamy, layered, lo-fi world through this plastic lens, even more so when you’re seeing double.

Two Lucys the Holga



  1. pollyheath
    May 17, 2014

    I love these, and kudos on continuing to use 120 film. I could never justify the price!

    I remember having so much fun with my Smena 8m (oh weird Soviet camera! ) messing around with double exposures. Oh, and if you’re looking for the weirdest, most adorable way to take double exposures, I had this for a while:

    • Katrinka
      May 20, 2014

      That’s awesome! I drool over Lomography gadgets constantly. I like to wander around their store in Istanbul and gape :-)


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