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Archive for November, 2015

The Holga Factory has gone out of Business

Sunday, November 29th, 2015

The official US distributor of Holga products announced this week that the Holga factory in China is no longer operational. A factory spokesman informed them that “all Holga tooling has already been thrown away and there is nothing available for sale.” That’s about as finished as a camera factory can go. It’s over. The last original Holga has been made.

The Holga story began over 30 years ago in Hong Kong with a 120 plastic film camera aimed at the Chinese market. However, it wasn’t until the West picked up on the Holga as a quirky low fidelity cult camera in the early 1990s that the project became a success. Lee Ting-mo, Holga designer and Director of Universal Electronics Industries, gave an interview in 2012 where he talked about Holga’s imperfect success. Holga went from having no market presence in 1990 to selling 200,000 units per year in 2012 with a range of cameras and accessories, including lenses for iPhones and contemporary digital cameras.

I’d be surprised if the Holga factory closure was solely brought about by soft sales figures. True, their cameras are inextricably linked to the availability and affordability of 120 and 135 film. But market failure could be the result of any number of wider issues within the Chinese economy: localised trends in factory closures, or labour issues, investment or international currency issues, perhaps a parts supplier disappeared, there could have been silent partners, or a short term loan wasn’t renewed. If the company found itself facing imminent legal costs there is an incentive to close the doors. Plenty of profitable businesses fail for no other reason than a lack of money to pay their bills as they fall due.

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Prison Remissions need to be Reconsidered

Saturday, November 21st, 2015

In the 1990s the Tasmanian Government embarked on prison reform. One key change in that reform was a political decision that prisoners didn’t deserve their one-third automatic remissions for good behaviour. So prisoners’ good behaviour remissions were removed. The Government, appeasing Victims of Crime advocates, deemed that prisoners could in future only earn a maximum of three months remissions for good behaviour on any sentence.

Inevitably, the Tasmanian prison system spent the next twenty years turning into an even bigger pile of violent overpopulated shit.

The trouble with removing good behaviour incentives for long-term prisoners inside the system should be obvious. A prisoner serving 10 years would have had 3 years and 4 months remissions to lose if he assaulted a guard or burned down the education section. Or raped little Timmy, the sixteen year old stamp thief.

Whereas, the current incentive for a man serving 10 years is a wheedling 3 months. So if the prisoner doesn’t get parole, or isn’t seeking parole, the difference between being good and being bad (whether to rape young Timmy) – if no other external sentences are incurred – is next to nothing in prison terms. The incentive to be good is small; the disincentive to be bad is almost non-existent.

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Celebrating our Two Year Coffee Anniversary

Friday, November 6th, 2015

Two years ago this morning I waited for Megan in the crowded carpark of the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery. I had my Zenza Bronica ETRS medium format camera and hoped to have an enjoyable coffee with somebody I’d grown to enjoy on Twitter. The moment she got out of her car I was smitten. That’s how life turns on a dime some days and I have never been happier.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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