I stare at the camera.
The film is finished. The images are locked away inside.
I have absolutely no idea what secrets this little black box contains.
There is no instant feedback loop, no instant image, no chance to look, and take the photo again, no looking at the screen to get it ‘right’, just a tiny view finder, press, and click.
It’s so very non twenty first century.
So non instant.
So non digital.
I love it
I don’t really know what I’m doing with the Holga*.
I’m not good with instructions, too impatient. Beyond remembering how to load a film, I’m just clicking and hoping, clicking and waiting to see.
Just clicking, and waiting to see what develops.
(Yes, of course, this is a fabulous metaphor for art, and life.)
One of the things I have read about though is that you can play around with double exposures, clicking first once, then twice, before you roll on the film, letting in the light at the same point twice.
This feels reckless in the extreme.
All those years of snapshots in my childhood, making sure you didn’t over-expose the film, to waste the moment, to waste the film, to waste the price of development, oh yes, this feels gloriously reckless in the extreme.
And there is an element of waste involved in this process.
The waiting and seeing is interesting, and intriguing, but it’s followed with a certain amount of disappointment: a lot of the pictures aren’t ‘much’ at all. I look at them and compare them wistfully with what I can capture with a digital camera, and wonder what I’m up to.
Then think: but of course some won’t work. These are the first two rounds you’ve taken. You’re learning. You’re experimenting. Of course some pictures won’t work. That’s part of the appeal: the not-knowing until you get them what’s going to work out.
And some of them do.
Some of them blow me away.
The double exposures show me something I didn’t see with my eyes, couldn’t see with a digital camera, couldn’t see with a view finder, couldn’t see with prose, couldn’t see with reason.
It’s like looking through a lens of poetry.
I don’t yet know what I’m doing with these shots, but I like them, I really like them. I like the process: the taking, and the waiting, and the not knowing.
And I like these dreamy, distorted images, emerging from the double exposure, emerging from the poem, pointing to the mystery.
I think this is something I need more of, and yes, at more than the level of the camera.
Waiting to see what develops.
And letting in the light at the same point twice.
* The Holga is a non digital camera. From Wikipedia:
“The Holga is a medium format 120 film toy camera, made in Hong Kong, known for its low-fidelity aesthetic.
The Holga’s low-cost construction and simple meniscus lens often yields pictures that display vignetting, blur, light leaks, and other distortions. The camera’s limitations have brought it a cult following among some photographers, and Holga photos have won awards and competitions in art and news photography”
The photographs are 2) looking over the rooftops from the garden and 1) the Nith in Dumfries – looking decidedly lovely.