Saturday, November 29, 2014

Holga Page--removed on 11/29/2014

1970's Highrises and Sculpture 

Made entirely of plastic, the Holga is closer to a toy than to a camera. It is often referred to as a “toy camera.” Well, call it what it is, I suppose. My attraction to the Holga is neither that it is a toy nor a camera. What it is, well, both the Holga and the attraction, is the sheer silliness of it.

I want to know silliness. Silly, to me, is the five pointed intersection of the sad, the macabre, the senseless, the inane and the funny, in short, the way I see life. It seems the best representation of all of this is, in fact, a ridiculous facsimile of all the facets.

Silver Dollar II
The Holga can do just this. Being made of plastic it is subject to temperature variation. Plastic will shrink when cold, expand when hot. This means that the light leakage is unpredictable at best and nearly always present. The 120 film, which was a popular size in the early 1980s when the Holga was first created, has its drawbacks too. It's very easy to mistreat this film which exposes it to light.

Double exposures, triple exposures, multi-clicks, 4x6, 6x6, the Holga just beckons to be experimental. Do with it what you will. No shot will come out “perfect” rather each shot will come out imperfectly perfect. There is no way of knowing until the film gets developed and that, well, that takes time.

Astoria 3
1: dead sailors Monument
2: touristic streetcar
3: bridge over Columbia River
In short, there is no way to take it seriously. By which I mean the camera, the toy, or life.
Astoria 1
Wet Wheels on Wet Rails
When you really look for the ridiculous in something, it doesn't take too long to find it. I look at the city, because this is where I live, and all I see is the ridiculous. I see things that someone made, someone else uses and still further, someone maintains, someone neglects and someone still tries to destroy it. I see the pompous fat man, (there is no way even the brightest Holga user can make him seem any better) in his SUV driving over the curbs where the homeless people sleep. There are the pushers by night, the war on drugs journalists on the front page and the shined up party-goers crossing streets. There are the stupid tags, the serious ad council billboards, the marques and the advertisements on litter. The city is best photo-op for the ridiculous, the silly, the Holga.

Astoria 4: Columbia River
In the complexity of the present age, the best I can tell, it's all displayed on personal devises. Smartphones (the very term will seem archaic and stupid in a year or two) have made very dumb looking people. Mouths agape, eyes a-stare, city dwellers are bent at the neck, poised at the thumbs and completely anesthetized by Chinese-slave made electronics. Electronics made by people who cannot afford them. What the fuck would Henry Ford have to say about it?

Each day, and I do mean each day, I leave our comfortable pad on the sixth floor and head out into the city. Inevitably two things happen. First thing, I see something that I didn't see before. This is the case in most any city because all cities have been built over a period of many years and the complexities of this fact are hidden everywhere: curb concrete street names that do not match the signs, facades of buildings or the funk visible down seldom traveled streets. The second is that there is almost always someone who makes me regret my decision to leave home. I am not exactly misanthropic. But I do think that the people of a city generally fit into the general scenery of the landscape. This is a haunting thought if you know much about Portland, Oregon.

Light rail construction outside my door.  The shadow is mine.
Be that as it may. Sure, I live in a small city. Sure, I live downtown. Sure, I walk everywhere I go. I also like Bartok and Blur. I think the Futurists and the Dadaists were into some interesting thought. I read Haruki Murakami and I love Etgar Keret. And now, I have a Holga 120N with me. The Holga. This does not make me hip or esoteric or an artist. This is a camera that was gifted to me. And that said, it has been a fun thing to learn how to use. Above all else, this thing can record the seriousness of the silly, that intersection of the sad, the macabre, the senseless, the inane and the funny.

And here we go.

The Definitive Moment

Wine Knowledge
Lost at Sea

Forgotten Places

Such a Sunny Day

Then Static

Dead End

My Coffeepot

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