Why do people love the Holga so much ?

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Erm, sorry, but from what I've seen taken on Holgas, they ain't sharp enough for my personal preference. And your shots, as nice as they are (and they are good, I do like them), for me, they could be improved significantly by having better IQ. I don't understand how Holgas can be so desirable, yet a cheapo compact that doesn't have so much hype surrounding it, isn't. I don't see the lack of sharpness, and the dreadful IQ anywhere but in the centre, as 'character'; I see it as an indication of poor quality.
The highlighted phrases are key. It's your preference to not use a Holga, which is fine. Those of us who do don't need to be informed of the camera's shortcomings, or that better image quality can be had from a different model. We use Holga's (and other less than perfect kit) because we enjoy doing so. In most cases it isn't the only camera we use and many of us have very capable digital models (and better specified film cameras) too, and while it is possible to "downgrade" a digital image to mimic the Holga look, it's not something I personally want to do because I wouldn't really enjoy that process as opposed to doing it "in the field".

I enjoy the process and challenge of getting photos I'm happy with using a basic piece of kit, and I bought my Holga (for £20) especially because I'd seen other people's Holga photos that I liked and wanted to make some of my own. I certainly don't believe that all Holga photos are good - many of them are awful, including many of mine, certainly. But then again, the same goes for photos from any camera. I'm also as far from being a hipster or the sort of person who engages in anything for the sake of fashion as you can possibly imagine. I make photos for myself. If anyone else likes them isn't a concern (although it makes me happy if they do).

Thing is, you can't improve those images, so why hobble yourself by using such a poor cam in the first place? You could shoot the same pics on a decent, cam, add in the 'low-fi' effects in post (or with a scratched up old filter, etc), yet still have a decent quality version should you want that, at any stage.
For me personally, it's because I don't want to. I know that I can, I just choose not to. Not having an ultra-sharp version of a scene I deliberately photographed with my Holga (or any film camera for that matter) isn't something that bothers me at all.
 
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Erm, sorry, but from what I've seen taken on Holgas, they ain't sharp enough for my personal preference. And your shots, as nice as they are (and they are good, I do like them), for me, they could be improved significantly by having better IQ.
Really? Significantly improve?

Unless you are printing really large, what are you going to get with more sharpness in these photos? Will that change the composition? Will that change the expression on the subject's faces? Will that improve the colours or exposure? Will it improve the lighting? Sharpness is neither a requirement nor primary determinant of the worthiness of a photograph. I have printed some of the photographs above in the darkroom and using DS Colour Labs and they print fine at 12"x12".

The only thing that really had the possibility of significantly improving these shots was better effort from me as the photographer (e.g., by improving composition, lighting, etc.).

What makes less sense to me is all of the people investing tonnes of money on cameras but not investing the necessary time in developing their photography skills to actually be able to get anything out of the extra sharpness or technical advantages that this new camera or lens is theoretically capable of. It’s the photographer who has the greatest capability for improving a photo, not the equipment.
 
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...for me, they could be improved significantly by...
I think that's the crux of all of this. If someone believes that a photograph that is sharp to the corners is "better", no matter the content, then quite clearly a Holga is *not* for them.

To answer the OPs question, people like the Holga presumably because there is something more important to them than sharpness.
 
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erm you have forgotten it's the person behind the camera that's most important and next is the lens...so for a SLR using a top lens on a cheap camera and you get the same results as on an expensive one, or take no chances and use a cheap camera with a cheaper VG lens and still get results that you can't see the difference.
And you can take a Leica to a sandy beach etc or use a Minolta (and similar) rangefinder camera......and can you really see the difference in results.
I haven't forgotten anything of the sort.
I shoot with whatever I like or feel like at the time. Sometimes it's a day of Polaroids, sometimes medium format and sometimes 35mm (now occasionally LF). I'm just not going to live in fear of something happening to one of my cameras that prevents me using it is all.

I now seldomly post on this forum largely due to discussions like these (i.e., discussions that equate photography to sharpness, pass responsibility for the results to the equipment, etc.).
Unfortunately, a lot of very, very good people on this forum have gone the same way and it's sad. I for one enjoyed your part in discussions and seeing your images so it's a shame to read that but I totally get it.
 
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No, but a bad guitar can let down a good song
As someone who has tried and failed to play the guitar, I can only take your word for that! :naughty:

When it comes to the whole cult of the Holga, though, I have 55 years of experience on which I base my belief that very few pictures benefit from being unsharp. I wouldn't deny anyone's holding a contrary view but it would probably help their cause if they asserted their own beliefs a little more gently.
 

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Unless you are printing really large, what are you going to get with more sharpness in these photos? Will that change the composition? Will that change the expression on the subject's faces? Will that improve the colours or exposure? Will it improve the lighting? Sharpness is neither a requirement nor primary determinant of the worthiness of a photograph. I have printed some of the photographs above in the darkroom and using DS Colour Labs and they print fine at 12"x12".

The only thing that really had the possibility of significantly improving these shots was better effort from me as the photographer (e.g., by improving composition, lighting, etc.).
Just my 2p. I personally am not a fan of the low-fi cameras that are the subject of this conversation. That's just my personal preference in how I like to take photos. Indeed, I have absolutely no problem looking at a photo taken on these cameras, as I agree, a photograph should stand on its' own merit. I'm a sucker for sharpness in the work I produce, which is just my taste. I have to say though that, while I personally might not take photos on these cameras, I definitely agree that a photo, or its message, can be enhanced by being "technically poor or flawed", or however the phrasing goes, if it suits the message or aesthetic.

In the particular examples by @skysh4rk above, I completely agree with the points I quote.

Unfortunately, a lot of very, very good people on this forum have gone the same way and it's sad. I for one enjoyed your part in discussions and seeing your images so it's a shame to read that but I totally get it.
Seconded.
 
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AZ6

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Really? Significantly improve?

Unless you are printing really large, what are you going to get with more sharpness in these photos? Will that change the composition? Will that change the expression on the subject's faces? Will that improve the colours or exposure? Will it improve the lighting? Sharpness is neither a requirement nor primary determinant of the worthiness of a photograph. I have printed some of the photographs above in the darkroom and using DS Colour Labs and they print fine at 12"x12".

The only thing that really had the possibility of significantly improving these shots was better effort from me as the photographer (e.g., by improving composition, lighting, etc.).

What makes less sense to me is all of the people investing tonnes of money on cameras but not investing the necessary time in developing their photography skills to actually be able to get anything out of the extra sharpness or technical advantages that this new camera or lens is theoretically capable of. It’s the photographer who has the greatest capability for improving a photo, not the equipment.
Yes, significantly improve. Those images could be significantly improved in terms of sharpness, obvs, but also, in the definition of details, in the separation between tones, colors and in focus/out of focus areas. To me, those images are let down by the poor execution offered by the camera. That might not be what you want to hear, but it's my honest personal opinion.

See; people can waffle on about 'low fi' and other BS hipstery terms, to describe substandard images, but I, for one, am not taken in by it. I think that's just w***y pretentiousness. Sorry, but that's what I feel. We're all entitled to our own onions. This is a forum for discussing photography, in all forms and contexts, and I personally think nothing can be gained, to further the medium, by being all Emperor's New Clothes™ about substandard images. I don't give a toss what cam you've used; it's the final image that matters. If you are more caught up in the journey than the final destination, then you've gone off the rails somewhere. If you're asking me to critically judge your images, and I say they're let down by poor technique, because you've deliberately used a crap cam, then don't cry about it.
 

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...but it would probably help their cause if they asserted their own beliefs a little more gently.
Yes, significantly improve. Those images could be significantly improved in terms of sharpness, obvs, but also, in the definition of details, in the separation between tones, colors and in focus/out of focus areas. To me, those images are let down by the poor execution offered by the camera. That might not be what you want to hear, but it's my honest personal opinion.

See; people can waffle on about 'low fi' and other BS hipstery terms, to describe substandard images, but I, for one, am not taken in by it. I think that's just w***y pretentiousness. Sorry, but that's what I feel. We're all entitled to our own onions. This is a forum for discussing photography, in all forms and contexts, and I personally think nothing can be gained, to further the medium, by being all Emperor's New Clothes™ about substandard images. I don't give a toss what cam you've used; it's the final image that matters. If you are more caught up in the journey than the final destination, then you've gone off the rails somewhere. If you're asking me to critically judge your images, and I say they're let down by poor technique, because you've deliberately used a crap cam, then don't cry about it.
Aaaaaaaand hence the decline.
 
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See; people can waffle on about 'low fi' and other BS hipstery terms, to describe substandard images, but I, for one, am not taken in by it. I think that's just w***y pretentiousness. Sorry, but that's what I feel. We're all entitled to our own onions. This is a forum for discussing photography, in all forms and contexts, and I personally think nothing can be gained, to further the medium, by being all Emperor's New Clothes™ about substandard images. I don't give a toss what cam you've used; it's the final image that matters. If you are more caught up in the journey than the final destination, then you've gone off the rails somewhere. If you're asking me to critically judge your images, and I say they're let down by poor technique, because you've deliberately used a crap cam, then don't cry about it.
I do not differentiate between lo-fi, hi-fi, whatever. I just use cameras. Colour, sharpness, exposure, the choice of camera, etc. are all just tools for me to manipulate in creating an image (and sometimes to enjoy the process in making that image). I can certainly understand how sharpness can be something important for an image as @Woodsy alludes to and there are definitely times where I myself will want/value this (e.g., when I want to make a big print, to emphasise a particular element in a photograph, etc.), but my sense is that for many it is far too overvalued relative to other elements of a photograph. Sharpness operates on a spectrum that should be appropriately manipulated to suit the circumstances (e.g., the image, composition, size of print, etc.) as other elements of a photograph might be.

At any rate, it's clearly time for me to bow out. Folks can get back to blaming their equipment for crap photos.
 
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excalibur2

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My first SLR was a Zenit if that helps
Some good lenses for that, but if you grew up just using a box brownie or cheap bakelite cameras etc would you (or anyone) want to go back now......to use them again.
 
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Woodsy

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Some good lenses for that, but if you grew up just using a box brownie of cheap bakelite cameras etc would you (or anyone) want to go back now......to use them again.
Does it really make you twitch to think that some people actually would? If so, I suggest evaluating what's important in life.

It's what makes them happy, so why are people trying so hard to change minds? Perhaps focusing on accepting the former might help you, and this forum in general.
 

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At any rate, it's clearly time for me to bow out. Folks can get back to blaming their equipment for crap photos.
Flouncing, because someone dares suggest the Emperor is naked?
 

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Does it really make you twitch to think that some people actually would? If so, I suggest evaluating what's important in life.

It's what makes them happy, so why are people trying so hard to change minds? Perhaps focusing on accepting the former might help you, and this forum in general.
erm well not me #17
 
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'I am constantly amused by the notion that some people have about photographic technique - a notion which reveals itself in an insatiable craving for sharpness of images. Is this the passion of an obsession? Or do these people hope, by this trompe l' oeil technique, to get to closer grips with reality? In either case, they are just as far away from the real problem as those of that other generation which used to endow all its photographic anecdotes with an intentional unsharpness such as was deemed to be "artistic".'

- Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Decisive Moment.
 

TheBigYin

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Unfortunately, a lot of very, very good people on this forum have gone the same way and it's sad.
the "technicians" issue is something that upsets me immensely - and in all honesty, if I wasn't on the staff, I seriously doubt I'd participate more than 3-4 posts a year now... But, as I signed up for the honour/idiot-task of moderator on here, and as people aren't exactly jumping out as someone to invite to help running this place, its hard to step away - it's kinda like buying a pet, I knew I was in it until one of us turned up our toes...
 
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Flouncing, because someone dares suggest the Emperor is naked?
Well, you've generalised everyone who uses equipment that doesn't meet your standards as hipsters and then suggested that what we do is waffle on in BS terms and and spout "w***y pretentiousness".

You're not so much suggesting the emperor is naked as just insulting people. Well done.
 
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At any rate, it's clearly time for me to bow out. Folks can get back to blaming their equipment for crap photos.
Hopefully just from this thread, and not elsewhere RJ. The Holga shots you poster earlier are excellent and just the sort of thing that made me decide to buy a Holga.
 
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I think some of the backlash against this type of photography is perhaps aimed at a minority who use these cameras and attribute higher worth to the images, or expect others to, even if the images are just not very good regardless. The same criticism is aimed at some who use film in any format or medium.

Whilst I can understand why people may find this frustrating or feel the need to call it out, the lines get blurred and rather than the criticism reaching only those who they are agitated by, it gets expanded to include anyone who uses this equipment, whether they are part of this 'group' or not.

I've seen the same criticism on another forum multiple times aimed at anyone who uses film, claiming that they must be using it because they are deficient in skill, so they use it as an excuse for poor work. Clearly these people are not especially bright, but it is similar to the discussion happening here.

Not sure if what I've written is very clear. But even if someone does believe that their images are of more value because they were taken on certain equipment, no one should really feel strongly one way or the other about that. It's really not that important.
 

TheBigYin

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I was originally going to add this to my original post, now I've finished work for the day, and have a little more time to post some of the thoughts that informed my decisions in using plastic fantastic cameras...

As some of you may be aware, I don't just post w***y artsy shots from technically flawed cameras on here - a large proportion of my photographic output over the years has been images that are held up to heavy critical scrutiny from clients - be they corporate portraits, actors headshots, product photography or my own standby of still life work. In those images I want the best possible image quality - that's why BITD, I'd be shooting product stuff on 10x8 transparencies if the job warrented (and the AD's budget would cover) it. Sharpness and precision were just expected. The reason they paid more, was the fact that the product was, as much as possible within the brief, composed well - Technicianship got the payment, but the Artist got the repeat business...

As I no longer try and earn a section of my income from photography, I'm free to shoot what I like. Strangely, I'm drawn to even more tabletop shooting, Still Life work. At the end of the day, it's only a specialised form of product shooting... but what I found raised the bar in my still life work wasn't getting more mexapixels, or a camera that could shoot at stupid iso's - after all, I had complete control of the lighting anyway, so nearly everything was shot at base ISO of the camera anyway... No, what made my shots improve was more attention to the subject, and to the composition of the subject, and the juxtaposition of the many, many objects that could be on the table... it wasn't unusual for me to spend 2 or 3 weeks on a single setup, playing with the light, taking a single frame, pushing it into lightroom, pixel peeping, and playing with pp, then returning a hour later to the camera with a list of things to move, or dust, or rotate 2-3degrees, or raise/lower one of the lights, or move a "flag" 2 inches right... That incredibly painstaking approach was, mainly, incredibly frustrating, day on day, but - eventually - i'd either hit a image that matched what I had in my head, or, more likely, was as close as I could get, because the contents of the fruitbowl were developing their own little eco-system, so I had to call it a day.

What's all that got to do with shooting on a pinhole camera, or something with a wonky viewfinder and a lens that appears to have the plastic version of cataracts... absolutely nothing - which is why I think at that period in my life, I enjoyed using the Holga so much....

Plus, lets face it, how many other cameras would you throw in a cardboard box, and spend the next 18 months or so tracking it around the country (ok, largely in Big Soft Mooses local Post office admittedly) waiting for another 12 blurs to come out of the soup... for the entertainment that particular thread gave me alone, I think that per £ spent, the Holga has been the most satisfying camera i've ever had...
 

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...and all these posts can be summed up with "shoot with what ever turns you on" ;)

To a very large extent, yes BUT you can never add things like sharpness, colour fidelity, corner detail etc. that a lomo can't give at the taking stage but someone with a little time (or a couple of presets in PS [other PP software might exist!]) can fairly easily replicate the lomo effect. With even 35mm now being a tenner a roll plus D&P etc., and 120 being more expensive (about a quid a shot for film cost?), I'd rather start with a good, clean shot and bu99er it up than start with the bu99ered one.
 

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I think some of the backlash against this type of photography is perhaps aimed at a minority who use these cameras and attribute higher worth to the images, or expect others to, even if the images are just not very good regardless. The same criticism is aimed at some who use film in any format or medium.

Whilst I can understand why people may find this frustrating or feel the need to call it out, the lines get blurred and rather than the criticism reaching only those who they are agitated by, it gets expanded to include anyone who uses this equipment, whether they are part of this 'group' or not.

I've seen the same criticism on another forum multiple times aimed at anyone who uses film, claiming that they must be using it because they are deficient in skill, so they use it as an excuse for poor work. Clearly these people are not especially bright, but it is similar to the discussion happening here.

Not sure if what I've written is very clear. But even if someone does believe that their images are of more value because they were taken on certain equipment, no one should really feel strongly one way or the other about that. It's really not that important.
Well think I can speak for most of us here in that we don't care what digi guys think or say, and am not sure infighting amongst us filmies that anyone cares also, as we will just go our own way.
 

TheBigYin

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if someone does believe that their images are of more value because they were taken on certain equipment
you know, I've never had a customer ask what brand of camera an image was taken on... Obviously, BITD, there would be specifications in the job re: the deliverables - i.e. "10x8 on E6 Drum Ready" which defined the camera I'd be using, but never "must be shot on Hasselblad (insert preferred camera brand here)"
 

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(ok, largely in Big Soft Mooses local Post office admittedly)

Funny that, two crap cameras (Helga and my lomo fisheye) both ended up "somewhere in Branscombe post office"...
 
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Well think I can speak for most of us here in that we don't care what digi guys think or say, and am not sure infighting amongst us filmies that anyone cares also, as we will just go our own way.
There shouldn't even be a digi vs film thing. What does it matter to someone else? As long as no harm is being done to others, who cares? Just shoot on whatever makes you happy or will best suit your needs.

The constant need to get into willy-waving contests over who is "right" about one thing or another is a pointless waste of time and never ends well. Sadly it seems to be part of the human condition to get into "tribes" and battle with those who do something differently. :(
 
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There shouldn't even be a digi vs film thing. What does it matter to someone else? As long as no harm is being done to others, who cares? Just shoot on whatever makes you happy or will best suit your needs.

The constant need to get into willy-waving contests over who is "right" about one thing or another is a pointless waste of time and never ends well. Sadly it seems to be part of the human condition to get into "tribes" and battle with those who do something differently. :(
Yep. The sad thing is that you could replace a few key words and phrases in all of these posts and it would not appear out of place on many 'hobby' forums, nor dare I say it, discussions of politics or race.
 

excalibur2

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There shouldn't even be a digi vs film thing. What does it matter to someone else? As long as no harm is being done to others, who cares? Just shoot on whatever makes you happy or will best suit your needs.

The constant need to get into willy-waving contests over who is "right" about one thing or another is a pointless waste of time and never ends well. Sadly it seems to be part of the human condition to get into "tribes" and battle with those who do something differently. :(
Well I think the problem is trying to understand why people do things e.g. a hobby. I accept people want to use pinholes, Holgas etc etc but just can't understand why and as already mentioned using a good camera you can always go down for the results you want, but using a poor camera you can't go up.
 
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you know, I've never had a customer ask what brand of camera an image was taken on... Obviously, BITD, there would be specifications in the job re: the deliverables - i.e. "10x8 on E6 Drum Ready" which defined the camera I'd be using, but never "must be shot on Hasselblad (insert preferred camera brand here)"
If anyone with a Holga is ever asked, they can say they used a Thambar-M 90, the £5250 lens that lets you take images of similar technical quality with a £4000 Leica:
 
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Well I think the problem is trying to understand why people do things e.g. a hobby. I accept people want to use pinholes, Holgas etc etc but just can't understand why and as already mentioned using a good camera you can always go down for the results you want, but using a poor camera you can't go up.
If I decide to use my Holga I know exactly what I'm getting. I have no need to go up in quality as I'm using it for the pupose of getting the particular results it delivers - heavy vignette and soft edge sharpness etc. - in the same way that someone might want to use a certain lens for the bokeh is produces, or the contrast, or it's sharpness at wide apertures or something. I'm choosing it deliberately, not because I don't know how, or don't have the equipment to get sharper results. It might not be to everyone's taste, but I like that look sometimes.

If I wanted to get higher quality 6x6 images I'd use my Yashica Mat or Zeiss folder, both of which are leagues ahed in terms of image quality. If I wanted much higher sharpness and resolution (above the amount I can get from film with the scanning options available to me) I'd use one of my digital cameras. But I use the Holga because I want Holga photos.
 
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Well I think the problem is trying to understand why people do things e.g. a hobby. I accept people want to use pinholes, Holgas etc etc but just can't understand why and as already mentioned using a good camera you can always go down for the results you want, but using a poor camera you can't go up.
I don't think that you mean you can't understand, but rather can't relate.

I can't relate to people who are interested in trains, much less trainspotting, much less arranging a day to see one go past. I can understand why they might be interested though, for the same reasons that I will plan my summer holiday around a day to be able to stand on the side of a mountain to watch a few skinny blokes cycle up a mountain pass for a brief moment. A pointless waste of time for the majority of people I'm sure.
 

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My first SLR was a Zenit if that helps
One of my first cameras and owning an ETRS, RB67, Nikon F4, Canon T90 and Yashica T5 that I'd want to use it again. But I'd wager someone here wouldn't mind spending the cost of film and dev and use it :rolleyes:
1596265811670.png
 
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Might be quite rare (for a collector) as none on the bay.
There must be many in landfill sites. When I worked for a photographic dealer in the 1970s, I found a big box full of Coronet cameras in the store room. I asked why they weren't on display but the boss just shook his head and walked away. :sulk:
 

AZ6

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I use the Holga because I want Holga photos.
Have a laugh. This actually perfectly illustrates my point regarding the current trend for low quality cams to take photos on. There's no such thing as 'Holga photos'. That's just utter pretentiousness, sorry. What you actually mean, is images shot on a low quality cam. Of which the Holga is just one of many. I've got my mum's old Kodak Instamatic 56x on a shelf; I love it as an ornament, a reminder of the past, but there's no way I want to use it to take photos on. Even if I could get film for it, it'd be a waste of time, energy, money and resources. It's crap. It doesn't take 'Instamatic 56x photos', it just takes (took) crap quality ones.

I hadn't heard of Michael Kenna, mentioned earlier in this thread, so I googled him. He's clearly a great photographer, no question. Some fantastic photos. Including some of those he shot using a Holga (I notice there's a pic of him using a Hasselblad, so he's clearly also a fan of image quality). But those pics he shot using a Holga aren't great because he used a Holga; they're great cos he's a great photographer. And this, I feel, is the bit people are missing. Mediocre photos shot using a crap cam aren't suddenly elevated to some higher status just because they're shot on a crap cam, and have that 'crap cam' look; they're mediocre photos shot using a crap cam; anything else is just added pretentiousness. Emperor's New Clothes.

Of Skysh4rk's pics, the one I really like is of the little boy enjoying being on the beach. It's a lovely shot. But for me, it's let down somewhat by having poor image quality, which is down to the cam. The sharpness is already falling off on the boy's face, which is where you'd want it to be, really. Shame.

If it's a case of the only cam you have, is a Holga, I don't have an issue with that at all. I'm happy to overlook technical deficiencies, if the photo itself it of merit in it's own right. It's like projects I've seen where they give kids a disposable cam, and see what comes out; you can get some cracking images, regardless of the actual image quality. A friend did a youth project like that, and they produced a little book out of it, it was great. So; I'm not against the use of cheap cams at all. If you choose one deliberately, like Michael Kenna, to see what can be done with such a cam, and produced the kind of shots he did, then that's wonderful. I'm totally for that, 100%. But if you're just using one cos it's trendy and 'cool', then that its the very definition of pretentiousness.

Cue loads of Holga users lining up to protest how they don't follow fashion trends at all, and how all their work is soooo righteous and sincere, etc etc etc....
 
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Of Skysh4rk's pics, the one I really like is of the little boy enjoying being on the beach. It's a lovely shot. But for me, it's let down somewhat by having poor image quality, which is down to the cam. The sharpness is already falling off on the boy's face, which is where you'd want it to be, really. Shame.
...and people forget:- if cropping a shot using a Holga (and similar) the results would be worse compared to using a decent camera and lens.
 
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Name
Craig
Edit My Images
Yes
Of Skysh4rk's pics, the one I really like is of the little boy enjoying being on the beach. It's a lovely shot. But for me, it's let down somewhat by having poor image quality, which is down to the cam. The sharpness is already falling off on the boy's face, which is where you'd want it to be, really. Shame.
But the photo wasn’t taken for you. He has already explained that that was the look he wanted. Why is that so hard for you to understand? It really is that simple.
 

AZ6

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Edit My Images
No
But the photo wasn’t taken for you. He has already explained that that was the look he wanted. Why is that so hard for you to understand? It really is that simple.
Doesn't matter who it was taken for, it was ultimately taken for an audience of some kind. All photos are. And as soon as it's 'published' anywhere, then that audience becomes larger. As an individual viewer, I have every right to pass judgment on what is presented to me. This is a forum to discuss photography; if you don't want your photos discussed, don't present them on a photography discussion forum. So, by presenting images on this forum, Skysh4rk is inviting judgment, whether they like it or not. Why is THAT so hard to understand?
 
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