Greetings and Salutations
It is with great respect and fond goodwill that we, the Lomographic Society International, present to you the incredible Holga. To give due credit, we are neither the inventors nor original creative users of this amazing instrument. In fact, we came pretty late to the party. The Holga was actually created in Hong Kong way back in 1982 - so it was no spring chicken. However, our tardiness has in no way affected our true admiration and raucous passion for this clumsy looking camera and its absolutely beautiful results.
We received our first batch of Holgas quite a few years ago. After some careful loading and hearty shooting, we quickly and forcefully fell deep into infatuation. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that quick. Certainly, we cursed and swore like Alabama truck drivers when we first tried to load the damn thing. And, we all shared that nervous feeling of "Is it actually working or not?" when we first used it. Truth be told, the Holga is not an easy camera to get used to, and it can be a real pain in the ass.
The infatuation came later, when we received our images back from the photo lab.
They were breathtaking in every sense of the word. Every picture displayed an other-worldly presence, with soft-focus tones, misty colors, and streaming lights. The ugly duckling matures into a radiant swan. Surely a clichéd story, but in the Holga’s case, the folk tale is 100% true. Feeding off this initial encouragement, we furiously worked to fill our Holga archives, and discover the full range of this instrument.
In 2001, we launched a new competition called the "Lomographic Sampling Games." This global project invited our members and everyone else to submit their best photos as taken by our collection of Lomographic cameras. Given our intense fascination, we also included the Holga as a permissible tool for the competition.
The submissions were mind-blowing. Really devastating. The Holga images jumped out as some of the most gorgeous photographs that we have ever seen produced from any camera. Bold words to be sure, but there is no exaggeration here. After a painstaking process, we finally chose an exceptional selection of Holga shots from Richard Hernandez (USA), Lisa Knowles (USA), and Courtney Utt (USA) to be published in our Lomographic photography compendium "Don’t Think, Just Shoot" (2002, Booth Clibborn Editions UK).
Look towards the future
From that day forward, we moved full-steam ahead with this clunky plastic friend riding forever faithful at our side. We've produced the all-in-one Holga Starter Kit, created a Holga Fisheye adapter, collaborated on designing a Colorflash Holga and a fierce Strobe Flash, bent the very light in front of our eyes with a Filter Set, and published "The World Through A Plastic Lens" the most comprehensive and thrilling Holga book ever written. And believe me, we've got a lot more in store for the future.
We hope that you feel the same excitement that we did when we received our first prints. We are also, unfortunately, fairly sure that you will suffer through at least some of the aggravation that we did in learning to use the Holga. But it's all part of the experience. Be patient, have fun, and don't give up on this homely, oversized contraption. Become a part of the vibrant international community that revolves around its no-frills plastic lens. Never leave the Holga at home. Super-glue it to the side of your head if you must. Experiment and be relentless.
JUST DON'T FORGET TO REMOVE THE LENS CAP