Friday, 7 June 2013

Jocular Foil Hog

Rage hard / into the light
in the words of Holly Johnson

In the last post I had a look at the Holga, a toy camera from the 1980s that became very popular with hipsters in the 1990s and remains so today. If the 1980s was a decade of perfectionism and gloss, the 1990s was a decade of scuzz and Super 8 and slackers and slack, and the Holga fit right in. It captured a society that had grown disillusioned with the notion of progress; it captured a new generation that stripped away the old rules, looking for new answers in one another's arms. What followed was a decade in which they won, and we lost. There was a test, which we failed.

The plastic lens and limited exposure controls lend themselves to black and white film, which is very tolerant of incorrect exposure, but there's nothing to stop you using colour film as well. Only your tiny limited mind and bedridden fingers and the ever-present fear of vampirism.

For all the shots in this post I used Fuji 160, which is roughly correct for overcast conditions, perhaps slightly underexposed. 400-speed film is more popular, especially e.g. Fuji 400H, because it easily tolerates overexposure (and actually becomes more saturated the more you pump it). Outside of England there is sunshine.

Colour actually makes the Holga's lens look even worse, because it shows up the truly astounding chromatic aberration. In black and white the Holga's dreamy look resembles something from the Victorian era, whereas in colour the Holga is revealed as a cheap plastic disposable camera. For this reason cross-processing slide film is very popular, in part because it looks fantastic, but also because it hides the grim reality of colour fringing.

Next, Milan.