What is a Holga Photo?

Katie Evans sent me this email yesterday:

Hello Ashley,

I wanted to let you know how much I have enjoyed your blog. Your photography is amazing! May I ask a stupid question, what is Holga photos?

Thank you so much,


I’m sorry Katie (and everyone else) for not explaining what it means when I say “Holga photo.” They’re photographs taken with a camera called a Holga.

According to Wikipedia:

The Holga is an inexpensive, medium format 120 film toy camera, made in China, appreciated for its low-fidelity aesthetic.

The Holga’s cheap construction and simple meniscus lens often yields pictures that display vignetting, blur, light leaks, and other distortions. The camera’s quality problems have become a virtue among some photographers, with Holga photos winning awards and competitions in art and news photography.

While Wikipedia is not always correct, it’s pretty much spot on in this case. As far as I’m concerned, the Holga is as low-fi as you can get. Except a pinhole camera made from a Quaker Oats Box, but those aren’t entirely practical. In this world when everything around us (or I should say, around me) is so high-fi, loud, fast, bright, saturated and digital, I find the quiet and unpredictability of the Holga to be calming and honestly maybe it’s some kind of weird therapy for me. This is the only time I get to handle film, wait for negatives to see if anything even came out, practice patience, really. I shoot b/w film almost exclusively with this camera and I always have it with me during the day. It’s filthy, tattered, has the remnants of an “I Voted” sticker on it from the 2004 presidential election, is sticky from being taped up then retaped, and completely mistreated, as it should be really. This is my opinion, of course. I’m sure that there are plenty of photographers that blow theirs out with a dust gun and put the little lens cap on the lens when they’re not using it. To each their own.

So there you go. I love my Holga and you might love it too. Or you might think it’s garbage. If so, that’s cool, just don’t leave negative comments here. Write it on your own blog.

Check this out if you’re interested:

Lomo, Holga, Diana and such…

Thanks for the question Katie. I hope I’ve cleared it up for you! Here’s a couple of photos from the weding in San Diego:

Have a lovely day,

3 thoughts on “What is a Holga Photo?

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