Last August, I loaded my Holga 120N with 35mm film and shot two rolls of film, one during a trip to the State Fair and another on a hike in the woods. I forgot about them until yesterday when I was searching for a roll of slide film I needed to scan.
Holgas, by design, embrace the element of surprise and I’ve always loved traveling with one in my bag. Light leaks, soft focus, lens flare. Outfitted with a plastic lens and body, the 120N is an arty number and likely inspiration for a number of vintage toy camera apps. Loaded with 120mm film, this camera can record 16 or 12 frames using either the 6 x 4.5cm or 6 x 6cm plastic mask.
With DIY ingenuity, you can load 35mm film into a Holga along with foam inserts and a rubber band to keep the film snug across the center. Using the square mask, I exposed the roll using a basic “click” system. To advance film in this camera, you need to manually turn a dial that clicks with each turn. Click by click), I shot through the roll. I made a shot/click chart and taped it to the camera back then drew an “X” across each exposed frame in place of a film counter.
Mathematically speaking, 24 exposures = 17 shots sized 55 x 35mm per frame with 3-4mm frame spacing. It may sound a bit technical, but it’s doable and photographing in this manner is the ultimate slow film experience. It’s also geeky which I love and worth the effort.
When I took these images, I had little expectation and treated them as test rolls. The results, as ever with the Holga, were a good surprise and I already have plans to repeat the experiment later this summer.
If you’d like to join me, this tutorial on using 35mm film in a Holga (with a printable chart) simplifies the process and yields the best results.
What surprises have you found in your photography lately? Feel free to share links to your images below.
Nikki | Art & Lemons