Holga cameras have a near fanatical following of professionals, educators and artists. But for those not familiar with the brand and its unique properties, a Holga is largely an enigma. This does not dissuade people from purchasing the camera. In fact, the Holga mystique draws people to it.
Click on above image to see it larger. It is a 20" long B&W negative scanned and blown up to 20 feet
The Holga stretches our visual perception and now with the Stereo Holga, provides another facet to the way we see the world. This Holga captures our world in 3D, just as we see the world with our two eyes. This allows for more experimentation Use the Holga Stereo to stretch our visual perception. Use the Holga Stereo as an educator teaching us a new visual vocabulary with which to describe our world. Use the Holga Stereo as a rule breaker - to utterly change the terms of reference most people use to interpret photography.
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. Now, Holga has truly come full circle with its 2 new Stereo Cameras.
Designed and engineered in China, the Holga was initially introduced to the Chinese public in 1981 as an inexpensive camera using the most popular film format in the country at the time - 120 size film. At that point,, China was jjust beginning to open its doors to the world and photography was skyrocketing in popularity. At the time, 120 rollfilm in black-and-white was the most widely available film in mainland China. The Holga was intended to provide an inexpensive mass-market camera for working-class Chinese in order to record family portraits and events.
After the cameras began to be distributed in the West, some photographers took to using the Holga for its surrealistic, impressionistic scenes for landscape, still life, portrait, and especially, street photography. In this respect, the Holga became the successor to the Diana and other 'toy' cameras previously used in such work. A Holga photograph by David Burnett of former vice-president Al Gore during a campaign appearance earned a top prize in a 2001 White House News Photographers' Association Eyes of History award ceremony.
Over the next 10 years, Holga enjoyed a popularity explosion. A global community of photographers, students, creative types, and generally fabulous individuals see the simplicity and ability of Holga, and fully embrace it. This cult following organized around the Holga, praising its insane characteristics, unpredictable effects, and stunning results. Teachers and professors actively employed the Holga as a training tool - simultaneously teaching their students the fundamentals of photography while opening their minds to new and unexpected techniques. The very features that many would consider to be fatal defects in a "normal" camera have become the most treasured assets of the Holga new school.
Today, the Holga movement is expanding every single minute, with new devotees, organizations, and online sites spreading like wildfire. Photographic exhibitions are held in some of the most prestigious galleries on the planet; showcasing the work of one of the most unlikely artistic tools ever employed. Competitions, interactions, and communication are tossed around the online/offline communities, encouraging and amplifying the excellent work of the Holga obsessed. Ironically, as camera design becomes more technical, automatic, and sophisticated, Holga's low-tech appeal grows stronger and stronger for us; those who relish its quirky and unpredictable nature.
*source from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holga