The Holga is a lo-fi cheap plastic film camera. It is imprecise, it is flawed, its edges need to be sealed with tape - gaffer's tape is best - to prevent light leaking in and exposing the film. There are limited controls and the photographer must surrender some control and trust in the process. But I love the aesthetic produced by this camera. The soft focus, the distortions, and the vignetting can produce beautiful and unexpected effects. But my favorite feature of the Holga is the total control over how far to advance the film. The Holga is so cheap that it does not have a mechanism that advances the film in precise, set increments as you would expect from higher quality film cameras. The film must be advanced manually, and the great advantage of this is that double exposures are easily
achieved, and even better is its ability to take a photo, wind the film forward just a little - or a lot- and take another overlapping image. This can be done as little or as much as is desired, and often result in panoramic images. Mixing and matching overlapping with double exposures is also grand. Even after much practice this technique is always a gamble, and the risk for unsuccessful images is higher than usual, but when it works, the payoff is fantastic. It creates a landscape that does exist, but also cannot possibly exist, and a sense of place and emotion is heightened. I have only begun to experiment with using it for portraiture, but I am intrigued by how it gives a dreamy, but strong sense of emotion.