Holga D


Holga D

With the current ubiquity of so hi-fi-it-hurts in the age of the Blu-Ray and 3DTV, our human sensibilities seem to be crying out for human softness. Maybe even human error. From blaring Neon Indian vinyls to pixellated everything, lo-fi is here to stay. Nowhere is this more evident than in photography, however, from Nicky S. Lee’s insistence on disposable 35mm for her fine art work to the improbable rises of both Lomography and The Impossible Project. And do you know anyone with an iPhone who doesn’t snap Hiptsamatics?

In any case, this relationship goes far deeper than the (mis)use of analog cameras as a medium considered appropriate only for making distant, retro images. The warmth of a botched image, with its erratic light, untrue colours and tentative textures, is extraordinary and human. The plastic iconic Holga, as much a trendy icon in our generation as was macramé for the truly groovy in the 1970s, is of course the paragon. The junky, creaky little monster has been rigged up by enthusiasts for ages and loved for its unpredictable results. Enter now, the Holga D.

Yes, a digital Holga. Finland-based Indian designer Saikat Biswas has tapped brilliantly into the lo-fi zeitgeist, to create a “why didn’t I think of that?” minor masterpiece, that despite its inherent chintz is elegant and desirable. It uses a fixed plastic lens and low quality sensors to make up for its lack of real light-leaks (which wouldn’t play as nicely with a sensor as it does with analog film), and without an LCD actually requires its user to wait for its lush lo-fis to be “developed.” Of course, the wait is only as long as it takes to download the images to your computer, but it’s a welcome design element that controls our instant-gratification reflex and perhaps forces a more well-considered approach to taking images. And those unflattering photos you just took of your friends – they can’t flick through and delete them while they’re ‘just having a look.’ Ha!

Alas, like the DIY tinker toy BigShot that we’ve mentioned before, the electro Holga is as yet just a prototype awaiting development. But its synthesis of lo-fi and digital – probably the most seamless to date – is an interesting take not only on dreamy, fuzzy imaging, but could prove to be a nice friendly camera to re-teach patience and re-instil everyday photography with a bit of its lost magic.

Tag Christof – Images courtesy Saikat Biswas