Wednesday, July 13th, 2011
The plastic camera offers up the perfect bang-for-your-buck path into film photography. The Holga 120N, for example, weighs 7 ounces and sells for under US$30. There are 200,000 Holgas sold worldwide every year and over 1 million Holgas are out there in the hands of photographers. The Holga is a simple plastic camera that shoots 120 roll medium format film through a plastic lens with the opportunity to embrace photography for it’s true quirks and foibles. From that price point you can move into collectable Dianas or the newer Diana+ or through the numerous other plastic cameras (including plastic pinholes) on offer. There is probably no better or more affordable entry point into shooting film photography than turning to plastic.
Plastic camera photographer, Michelle Bates, has released a 2011 second edition of Plastic Cameras: Toying with Creativity. This book is going to be your best friend if you’ve purchased a plastic camera. Michelle exposes the reader to a wide variety of artistic and professional photographers who shoot with plastic. In the second part of the book the objective is entirely a practical guide to shooting with a plastic camera, loading and unloading film, using flashes, strobes, processing film and opening the reader’s mind to the possibilities of the tool.
Because that’s what a camera is… just a tool. You don’t need the $5,000 professional DSLR body to take world class professional photography. What you need is the creative mind, the photographers eye and the experience to make effective images. The camera is just another thing a photographer uses to produce a final image.
The only trouble now is the book has inspired me to the possibilities of plastic. I’m even thinking of ways I can corrupt the images that are shot through my Zenza Bronica ETRS medium format film camera so they might produce less conventional images. A world of possibilities I had seriously not considered to this point.
You might also enjoy Pinhole Photography by Eric Renner.