Note: This is the sthird in a series of six stories that are being done by participants of the HooHaa Holga Challenge. The rest will run through Friday. See information for the rest at the bottom of this post.
By Shaima Marafi
I started using Holga last year in April when I saw another photographer using it on her blog.
To be honest, I thought it looked hip and cool and that is why I bought one. I got it along with some Fuji films and some filters. I didn’t like the results too much at first, especially because my first few rolls had more out-of-focus pictures than good ones.
I felt disappointed and stopped using the Holga, leaving it in the drawer for months. However, one day this past February when I was organizing my cameras, I suddenly decided to use it. I found there was a roll of film already loaded. So I just took it out for the day one Sunday and shot with it, thinking I would be disappointed again.
When the film came back from the lab, I was surprised and happy with the pictures. From that day, I decided to use the Holga more often. I read more about using the camera, the best films to use and I think I got a hang of it.
I still do get some out-of-focus shots sometimes (don’t you just hate it when you forget to turn the focus to the desired distance?) and, sometimes, they become too dark, but I am getting more shots that I am very satisfied with now.
Nowadays, the Holga has become a basic camera that travels with me. I just can’t part with it!
For this challenge, though, I was a bit disappointed with the photos. I wish I got some better shots, but oh well. You know by now that with a Holga, the results are mostly unexpected. To be honest, that is what I love about it — the feeling between dropping my films at the lab and getting them. Waiting and being surprised is truly the best feeling about shooting with the Holga.
I used Ilford 400 for the black-and-white portion of this challenge and Kodak Porta 400 for the color. Those are my favorite films, especially the Porta, which I find works so well with the Holga.
My town is Geneva, Switzerland. Three languages — German, French and Italian — are spoken in Geneva. I have been living here for more than 10 years and I have grown to love this little town. I love the language, the people and the atmosphere. Not everyone I know does, though. Some don’t mainly because of having to learn French. However, I think that more people are speaking English now, compared to when I first moved here.
Geneva is the most populous French-speaking part of Switzerland (about 1,240,000 people). It’s an important financial center is is the fifth most expensive city in the world. Geneva also serves as the European headquarters for the United Nations, as well as many other international organizations such as the Red Cross and World Heath Organization.
I have been living in Geneva for many years, but now it’s the time to move back to my country, Kuwait.
It is quite an emotional time for me as I made so many friends here. I am glad to have done this challenge as it motivated me to use the Holga to take pictures of the town. We usually take photographs when we travel or visit new places, but we tend to forget doing it where we live. We really should record our surroundings more. I think it’s a great way to document the town and also parts of our everyday life.
More photos from Shaima’s challenge are below:
See more of Shaima on the web:
- Shoot-Film (contributing writer)
HooHaa Holga Challenge:
- Day 1: Totness, England
- Day 2: Waco, Texas
Day four of the HooHaa Holga Challenge is Wednesday, with Jeff Soderquist and Seattle, Washington.