Pause sub
the holga is probably one of my
favorite cameras ever produced
and there were some sad news in
the last couple weeks of you may
have heard that the company that
makes these in China has
announced that they are no
longer going to produce holders
in fact it went a step further
to say that they've already shut
down the manufacturing facility
sold off all the machine
equipment and whatever is left
in stock on shelves in the
stores now are the last of the
hole goes and this news made me
a little bit sad because there
are mean the whole it's gotten a
little bit of a bad rap with
people over the years but it
really is one of my favorite
cameras it is nothing but
limitations but once you get a
handle on those limitations not
only is it an excellent way for
a beginner to learn how to take
pictures and how photography
works but it also creates a set
of challenges that you need to
get around creatively to make it
do what you wanted to do and
that's we're going to talk about
today with the whole gun if
you've never seen one of these
up close the hole is basically a
cheap plastic camera takes 120
medium format film and features
pretty much no frills you
advance the film manually
it has one shutter speed the
early holders only had one
aperture setting and you have a
single element meniscus lens
that's made out of plastic and
so because of the
inconsistencies in the
production different cameras
look different ways you can
focus it there's a couple little
icons here on the lens barrel
that you can use for that but
that's about it in fact there's
no reflex system in here
so without a mirror the
viewfinder and the actual lens
don't even really sink up most
of the time and so the best way
to learn how to shoot on a holga
is to run a lot of film through
it and to really learn the
camera and learn
the frame is gonna work learn
what that shutter speed is going
to be because the shutter speed
can even vary camera camera
depending on how old it is and
so there's a lot to kind of rock
as far as learning how to use a
holga but in my opinion those
limitations once you get around
those and you understand what
you can and can't do with the
camera that opens up a whole
window of creativity i think in
terms of what you can push it to
do and I think that's what makes
the holga so special now the
holga has had a bad reputation
here and there over the years
and I think this is largely due
to some misconceptions about the
camera and that's what I want to
talk about one of the most
commonly ones who here is using
a hole there any kind of plastic
camera is a great way to get an
already look to your images and
I know what is meant by this it
does have you know the the
single on the plastic lens which
does vary camera camera and it
does have a really specific look
to it but i think just say that
it's a great way to make your
limit images look artistic is as
silly as thinking that Instagram
filters are going to rescue a
bad image a bad photograph is a
bad photograph no matter what it
was taken on and pushing
yourself to make better
photographs is what the whole is
all about and I think that that
misconception I think people are
kind of wrong sometimes about
why you would want to shoot on
holga yes it i guess it does
have an artistic look to it but
that's not what you're shooting
the whole before and that's not
what you're trying to achieve
necessarily by using a whole go
another thing that you will hear
people say about the holga is
that it is an overpriced hipster
camera and a lot of this
reputation is thanks to
lomography , we started
distributing hole goes i suppose
in the early two thousands and
in the u.s. you would go into
places like urban outfitters and
you'd see them on the shelf and
they have price tags with you
know for this camera of 65 $75
us and they featured redesigned
packaging and often they would
come with a book and the book
was filled with images that were
shot from the hip not really
even thought about composition
or anything but they were
featuring things like light
leaks and color shifts and my
cross processing and things like
that and you know I think on the
one hand
yes lomography still to this day
does sell a lifestyle and that's
where that hipster reputation
comes in with the products that
they choose to sell at the same
time though I think that
lomography does deserve some
credit because what they did in
the early two thousands when the
photography world was moving to
digital is they introduced and
made cool film photography to a
younger generation photographers
that probably would have just
passed a film in general and I
think they do deserve credit for
I think most people who get into
a camera via lomography and get
serious about it quickly realize
that there's a lot more to it
than just lifestyle photography
but lomography does deserve some
credit on that level now having
said that i was buying a lot of
holes in fact I don't wait too
many of them which you'll see in
a second but i was buying them
at the same time in the early
two thousands and i would get
mine off of ebay and you can
find a muse or you can find them
from Chinese dealers and
depending on whether they were
new or used
you can get them anywhere
between ten dollars and twenty
dollars so it was a really cool
way to you know try different
cameras out as i mentioned
earlier because the
inconsistency with the lens
design each one of them has a
little bit different look I've
got some that are very soft to
give the classic whole look and
then I have some that are very
sharp and they're both fun to
use in their own way and it's a
way that if you are really
challenging yourself with this
type of photography
you do have some more options at
your disposal the last
misconception I want to talk
about is you will hear people
often say that the holga is a
really cheap and easy way to get
into medium format photography
and that most people understand
is a misconception because yes
the whole get does take 120 film
and you are going to have medium
format negatives in the end
and at the same time though
that's a really big blanket
statement and if you want to get
into medium format photography
what is it that you're trying to
achieve with that and i think
most people you know if you look
at the history of camera design
oftentimes the early codec
brownies and a lot of the box
cameras use medium format one
because it was a little bit more
the standard than 35 millimeter
which is a little bit later but
also because they would use the
big negative because of the low
resolution of the lens and so if
you think of trying to get into
medium photography is getting
into a mamiya camera or
hasselblad or something like
the holga is a different ball
game and it's not going to be
that it's not going to be about
resolution and sharpness and
larger negative it's going to be
about what it is and it's the
whole guys just not about
sharpness it's about embracing
photography and understanding
the imperfections and the
limitations and how you move
away from there so you might be
wondering now why i am saying
behold he is one of my favorite
cameras ever produced and I
think there are several reasons
why the big one for me is that
the hope it does have a lot of
personality and a lot of that
personality comes in that you
have to learn how to use the
camera and it's a little bit
tricky you have an immense
number of limitations on this
you have one shutter speed
the early hole goes only had one
aperture setting the later
holders only had two and then
what you can do with the lens
you have to manually advance the
film you do have a flash hot
shoe on here that does work and
there was a model of holga
actually that had in a built-in
flash as well and then those of
the start the limitations that
you start to work with and you
realize what can I change
what can I control the camera so
for instance if you're shooting
in low-light you could use the
camera in low-light what you
have to do is use a higher speed
film and you have to consider
the possibility that maybe even
pushing your film to get the
images that you want
you're gonna shoot in bright
daylight you can use a lower
speed film you're going to have
to change your film when you go
back and forth it's not you
don't have any of the the ease
of using a digital camera with
these what happens when you
focus the lens what can you do
with that
and so I think that for a
beginner the holga is a
wonderful way to learn
photography and to learn what
makes an exposure and there is a
little bit of trial and error
involved i think for me that I
found in consistencies in the
shutter speed so for instance if
you have an older camera
it's a little more worn down
it's just a spring in here when
you take it apart and newer
camera will be snappier and
maybe a little bit faster and so
you need to go shoot some rolls
and experiment and figure out
what's working within the camera
so there's a lot of trial and
error involved so I think for
it makes a lot of sense because
you're going to learn a lot
about photography and using this
or any kind of box camera toy
camera or what have you and I
think that also for people who
have been shooting for a while
and her maybe more advanced one
of the reasons that I like to do
is it still pushes me creatively
to do different things
it's not an exciting camera to
pick up and shoot the
viewfinders totally walking
you're not even sure what the
framing is going to do matched
but you're going to start to
exhaust possibilities real quick
and start to push yourself to be
more creative like for instance
i remember especially in like
the early days of flickr there
was a lot of interest in plastic
crappy digital camera sorry film
cameras and one of the
techniques that you'd see people
do a lot was they would actually
this one didn't have a tripod
mount on it but you could mount
a whole get to some kind of
tripod and if you advance the
film and i have it taped up here
because I was having light leaks
but there's a red window back
here and you use the back of the
roll film that will tell you
what frame your own for the
exposure and so if you just shot
frame one you will roll it up
and you will get to frame -
what's that show you shoot that
what's cool about the whole gay
is like one of the most amazing
double exposure and multiple
exposure cameras that you can do
if you forget to Like and
accidentally you come up with a
happy accident sometimes and
then you think ok well how can i
use double exposures to
intentionally get an image
one of the things that the
people were doing on flickr back
in those days was doing panorama
swear you figured out that
exactly 32 clicks because this
is clicky you would click that
and exactly 32 of these go by
you would count them and then
that was the edge of the frame
and so you would shoot there and
so what you could do is just
move the camera slightly with
each shot and you would end up
with one long panoramic image
and I remember one time I was
doing this and I went the wrong
way when i was doing my
graphic image and it was a nice
happy accident because what I
got was certain parts of the
image that would repeat in
certain places and so it opened
up something creatively for me
so you know the whole goal is
really interesting because of
those limitations that you're
trying to get over and some of
the mistakes you make on the
it really is pretty easy to
shoot on once you learn what
you're doing and once you start
to get a feel for it and this
allows you to do some new things
to start to push the camera
start to try to you know get
outside that box and do
something different and i would
actually argue that the holga is
one of the most creative tools
in that regard so want to talk a
little bit about the evolution
of the holga now this is a very
early camera this is an esco be
to cadet which i also love but
this is what's commonly referred
to as a box camera and take
medium format film
no frills one shutter speed one
aperture all you do is point and
and this one has to viewfinders
on it that have mirrors and them
and so they reflected the
findings on the front
so whether you want to shoot
landscape orientation you look
down into this one or if you
want to move it to portrait
orientation use this one
and these cameras were very
common in the early days of
photography and when you get in
the age of code actual code a
can dance going a lot of these
companies were bringing film
photography to the consumer
level and so you know kodak back
in those days had the slogan you
push the button we do the rest
and so the whole idea was you
could load the camera with film
you push the button and then you
send it off to the drug store or
whatever and they would do your
processing and prints for you
and if you look at a lot of
images from that time a lot of
them are grossly over exposed in
broad daylight or their
underexposed don't come out at
all in the negatives and we all
have family photos that go back
to that era but it was a
significantly because it brought
photography down to the consumer
level and these companies had
long careers and histories and
made a lot of money doing that
and they literally brought
photography to the consumer
level now if you jump forward to
the 1960s there was a company
and this is kind of hard to find
the definitive answers on how
the Diana camera came around but
the diana is a lot like the
whole gets a cheap plastic
camera it has a very unique look
to it as well it takes medium
format film but actually the
negatives are much smaller you
do get square images but they
don't use the full negative
and the Diana are very cool to
work with to the Diana the what
the best i could find as far as
information goes there was a
company that was producing these
very cheaply and was essentially
a toy camera that they were
using for you know conferences
or if you had a company and you
want to give away gifts and you
can you have them customize the
Diana was the main camera these
were very cheap to buy and it
would just be giving away this
one is branded with the name
arrow on the top and this one is
a banner and i also have a
Windsor in there and there were
many variants on this and they
all have a different look to
them the arrow is extremely
interesting this camera shoots
nothing in focus but it has a
cool look to it and it's
interesting to try to make
photography using this and
that's one of the reasons that I
think the Diana camera
you know I think later had a
by the time you got to the
nineteen seventies in nineteen
eighties is that people wanted
to photograph with these I
believe the holga and don't
quote me on this because i might
be right but at the eighties I
want to say is when the whole
the first came along and the
original hole goes had some
design defects to them
there actually is an aperture
switch this is one of the early
ones is the 120s when you throw
the aperture between cloudy and
sunny and you look in there you
see a washer move over but
there's another washer in front
of it so it doesn't actually
change the aperture so those
weird design / sites like that
that made the camera kind of
funky so people who thought that
I'm adjusting this for a cloudy
there's no difference at all it
was still shooting at the same
apertures it was in broad
daylight so the holga came along
and you know because it was made
of plastic a little bit more
solid construction and the diana
and these were actually produced
and sold is these junk plastic
toy cameras and what's
interesting is around also in
the early two thousands
gentleman who is a friend of
mine named Randy Smith started
modifying these and he would do
things like putting tripod
sockets on them he would take
the lenses off and make pinhole
cameras of some of them
he actually reengineered the
lens that would handle close
focusing for instance and I can
remember how far away the stock
camera actually shoots but if
you want to do it wasn't quite
macro but you can get it up to
two feet and
and he would put modifications
and for those and he started
selling these under a company
that he had called holga mods
and they're still around now
pokemon is calm and he's moved
into doing some other cameras as
well and of course now that the
stock is dried up on hold
because they're going to be
harder to get
but over the years was really
interesting to see what Randy
did after he made some
modifications holga started
making some of the modifications
and their cameras as well not
quite as many they weren't
flocking the interior and we
tell you what that is - flocking
the interior is this
if you take the back off I'll
show you here so it's made out
of plastic and its kind of shiny
on the back and so this can add
some glare to your photos and so
following the film sometimes the
flight gets in there or
depending on what you're
shooting and so Randy would use
a non reflective paint across
the back and he would flock the
interiors and i have several
cameras that Randy built and
there are some of my favorites
he would do things like add a
bold switch for long exposures
and release cable so you all you
have to do is get this on tripod
you can do night time exposure
to the whole going to have a lot
of fun shooting at night with
long exposure and it's another
element that you can add to the
whole he also did things like at
waist viewfinders sometimes
there's a tlr whole guy he would
put them on hasselblad bodies
Randy does all these crazy
i highly recommend you go check
out Randy's work is very fun
he does some great things he's a
really nice guy and I've bought
stuff from him over the years
and he does some really cool
things but what's interesting is
when he started modifying them
holga came out with the 120 in
which actually started using a
lot of Randy's modifications we
have the tripod socket now under
the lens
there were several other
variants on these two they have
one with a color flash it for
instance they had this one is
one of my favorites which is a
stereo whole group which is the
craziest thing ever
and this there's kind of several
ways you can use this camera has
dual flashes into lenses and you
can shoot on medium format film
and the idea is that it comes
with a stereo viewer and stereo
inserts as well so you can
actually view stereo images
which this is a throwback to
early photography as well and i
love the stereo camera the other
thing you can do is use this as
two separate cameras so use the
lens cap e cover one and it's
one shutter for both lenses so
you would cover that lends you
choose one picture then you can
go on cover the other lands get
another exposure
then for the whole film so
there's all kinds of wacky
things that you can do with
these especially with multiple
exposures or with trying to do
panorama is a layering and
things like that and so this was
a really cool camera as well and
you know that's kind of the
variations to where we are today
with the standard holder from
the 120s to the 120 in which is
the last one produced
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the art of photography
so the height of my holga
obsessive strangeness came about
probably about six years ago and
some of you will probably
remember this
at the time I was doing this
show but I was also doing an
audio podcast called the
photography show that I did with
my friend Wade Griffith is an
excellent photographer and we
were doing an episode one day
and all
I'll link up to all this stuff
in the show description it's all
still up if you want to hear it
but we were doing a show one day
we were talking about how a lot
of photographers have the
tendency I mean it's human
nature we all feel like if we
had better equipment we be a
better photographer and we were
talking about how that's largely
a myth and becoming a better
photographer is getting out
learning how to shoot and I
mentioned in the show I said you
know I even think with the holga
and the whole has a very
specific look to it with the
soft focus lens and there's a
whole kind of five that comes
off of a blessing even with the
hallway if you had four really
good photographers and you gave
them each the same camera
you would have four completely
different styles different looks
different approaches and you
know on a plastic camera that
cost twenty dollars and i think
that you know that's one of the
reasons i really love the whole
game it was saying this on the
show and so I also kind of said
I'll tell you what I will even
put a challenge out there if
anybody wants to shoot on a
whole let's do an experiment and
this experiment turned into
something that I called holga
projects and I have a lot of
these on the website still in
fact I've all of them still on
the website and so what i did is
i bought a bunch of olga's I had
ppl donate holders and
they had a fleet of about thirty
holders at the time and what I
did is I sent these around the
world in fact there's an
interactive map on there so you
can see where each of the
countries with holes were sent
and basically I made a little
complicated but the whole goal
will have 12 exposures on a roll
of film and so what I did is I
said we had 12 exposures I put a
roll of film in here and send it
to the first person and we had
three photographers that had
four pictures
each that they could take on the
camera and so the first
photographer would take for
pictures they would mail the
camera to the second person the
third person they would send it
back to me I would develop the
film scanner and put them on the
website and if this was that it
was funny is this is a project
that i'm not sure i would
attempt today because it was so
complicated of each person
having to only take four images
and send it along and a lot of
times what would happen is
people would say oh my gosh i
have the camera they got to be
the most for amazing images ever
taken so that's it on the camera
for a few weeks but oddly enough
I got every camera back in the
mail in fact some of these
cameras went around the world
several times
sometimes people would decorate
them and put stickers on them
and stuff like that and it was a
lot of fun
I only lost two cameras in this
whole process and what's funny
is ironically they were both
lost in Texas
it was very close to home
because i live in dallas and so
anyway I thought it was very
interesting but it was really
cool to see what different
people did with the cameras in
the approach they would take
sometimes we use color film
sometimes we use black and white
film and the results were
amazing and we never really
finished the project had never
had an into it it would be cool
to do it again one day perhaps
or find a way to do a book or
as a result but the results that
we have that we did up to that
point I mean it was a tremendous
amount of work to try to track i
had to get signed releases that
I could use people's photos on
the website
I had to ship the cameras we had
to pay for shipping a was it was
expensive and not easy to do but
it was a lot of fun and that's
what all the projects were at
the start of the show i
mentioned that hole goes are no
longer being produced and I want
to talk a little bit about what
that means and it's funny when
you see photography news
sometimes because you know you
have a mixture of people who
comment on things and to some
it's like oh great i never liked
told us anyway I'm glad they're
gone and others it's like oh my
gosh what we're going to do
there's no more hopeless
but to be honest folks there are
a ton of holes out there in fact
there any variation on the whole
good that you want to try and
get like this box camera that i
mentioned earlier this is a
five-dollar camera you can find
these in thrift stores you can
find them on ebay you can find
them lots of places and it's the
same principle as the whole gets
a little bit different size a
little bit different shape but
it's a single lens
it is a single shutter speed a
single aperture and this is what
you're going to want to do is
work within those limitations to
see what you can do to get
better as a photographer for
instance these cameras because
of their age
you know in the early days
slower film was not produced at
higher speeds so you know 400
almost didn't exist at one point
so a lot of people shot on 25 is
so film or 50 I so film and so
the shutter speed is slower to
accommodate that and combine
that with the fact that they're
getting old now and the shutter
slows down a little more so what
can you do to get around that
you can use a slower film
you can use filters you might
use a red filter to knock this
back and stop and you control
the contrast you might use an
orange filter or if that's not
enough you can combine that with
a neutral density filter or
circularized circularized
circular polarizer
anyway but those limitations are
what you're going to learn how
to modify to work within those
restrictions to open up the
creativity I guess what I'm
trying to say and I you know
there's no excuse
Nicole we're going out of
business where you can find
anything else I'm Diana cameras
have not been made in years but
they're still around all the
Diana's are collectibles so they
do fall prey to expensive
pricing sometimes but i'll show
you another one this is one
called the draw and they are you
a chapel is a check camera and
it's made out of bakelite and
kind of a heavy plastic and this
one's same principle as a whole
that's what's t this funky
that's what's got this funky
lens that you unscrew and your
shutter speed
sorry not sure yeah you have
bulb or time exposure and then
you also have your 2 apertures
16 or eight on your stuff so
it's the same thing that this
one doesn't have the clicky
wheel so you're gonna be able to
experiment some different things
doing double exposures and maybe
it's more organic but you know
for me I think and I shoot a lot
of digital
but for me that's one thing that
I think is missing from the
digital world is some of that
ingenuity and willingness to
experiment with things that is
so easy to do with film and i
think that people who are very
much film photographers are more
willing to experiment with some
of those things particularly the
toy camera in the plastic camera
crowd so anyway all is not lost
their plenty of cameras out
there and i do encourage you if
you've never shot a hole get to
find an inexpensive way to get
into it and and learn and
experiment and see what creative
possibilities open up you guys
enjoyed this video's please
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are doing a ton these days I've
had to take a short break
as you can see we have a new
studio in here and i have had to
kind of like stop doing videos
to get this finished I will give
you a studio tour in the next
week or so when i get it totally
wrapped up but paint walls built
camera shelf back there and
we'll do some tours with that
coming up and I'm glad to be
back making videos again it
feels good so anyway once again
guys that's about all i got for
I'll see you guys next video

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Probably my favorite camera ever made is the Holga. Its a cheap plastic camera that you can get for almost no money. It has no features and very little control. But if you learn how to use a Holga it opens up a lot of creative possibilities on a camera that you can't get any other way.

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Ted Forbes
The Art of Photography
3100 Main St #135
Dallas, Texas 75226

My name is Ted Forbes and I make videos about photography. I’ve been making photographs most of my life and I have a tremendously deep passion for photography that I want to share with you on YouTube.

The Art of Photography is my channel and I produce photography videos to provide a 360 degree look into the world of making images. We all want to get better so lets do this together!

I make videos covering famous photographers, photography techniques, composition, the history of photography and much more.

I also have a strong community of photographers who watch the show and we frequently do social media challenges for photographers to submit their own work. I feature the best and most interesting on the show when we do these so come check it out and get involved!