Let's talk about the Holga 120N with a little history, what it is, and what it was like to shoot a roll of 120 with it.
The Holga 120N is a medium format toy camera known for its "lo-fi" aesthetic. It was first produced in China in 1982 and was intended as an inexpensive option for the mass market to photograph portraits and events. Due to the rise of 35mm film, the Holga market dwindled almost to extinction. However, in other foreign markets, the Holga quickly gained a following with photographers for its unique aesthetic.
The Holga "lo-fi" aesthetic...
The Holga "lo-fi" aesthetic is created from the lower build quality of the camera, which produces light leaking, vignetting, glaring, and overall unexpected results. But such is the beauty of this camera, and why it gave way to a cult following due to its unconventional, yet distinctive style.
The all-plastic body and lens really show the Holga 120N's modesty and sincerity for what it is. It is lightweight, easy to carry, and easy to shoot. It strays away from the heavily technical aspects of photography and gives a bit of a hands-off approach to the controls. The controls it does have are really simple, only having two aperture settings of "sunny" (f/11) and "shady"(f/8), 1/100s or "bulb" shutter speeds, and a focusing ring. The laisez-faire attitude of this camera makes it light-hearted, freeing, and absolutely fun to use.
...light-hearted, freeing, and absolutely fun to use.
As you can see from my results below, I did not advance each frame forward enough and resulted in my images layering on top of one another. But, what do you know, I ended up loving it! It is really enjoyable walking around with this extremely lightweight camera that I could quickly snap a photo with, without worrying if everything was perfect. It takes a bit of the anxiety out of film photography and really allows for some free-flowing fun to happen.
As I must attest, the Holga 120N is certainly a wild cannon, and for all the best reasons. It's great for any photo enthusiast looking to try out something new, fun, and exciting, while also not breaking the bank or breaking backs.
Shoot wildly and freely friends, and expect some exciting results!
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