Experiments With A Polaroid Back Mounted On A Holga 120N Camera (aka A Holgaroid)


The above photograph was taken with Polaroid 690 color instant peel apart film and a Holga Polaroid instant film back mounted on a Holga 120N camera.

If you are not into toy cameras and/or Polaroid instant pack film, that probably just sounds like The above photograph blah blah film blah blah blah camera, so I will throw you a couple of bones which you may or may not simply skip past in the interest of staying awake.

the Palinode and Oskar

Holga: It is a low-tech and inexpensive camera that was created in China in 1982 so that the country's populace could afford to take pictures of family and events. It is its bare-bones construction and minimal options - a plastic lens, two exposure speeds, manual focus with only four distance settings, manual film advancement, and a body structure that bleeds light - that lend the medium format pictures it takes such unpredictable outcomes and definitive character.

Holga Polaroid Instant Film Back: It is an optional add-on that snaps onto the back of any Holga 120 camera. It is compatible with Polaroid Type 660 instant peel apart films, as well as the now discontinued Type 80 films. The Holga takes a square picture, so part of the Type 660 film sheet, which is 3 1/4" x 4 1/4", remains unexposed, developing as black space at either end where areas of the film are not exposed.

dead guy on a chair 2

As you can see, I have come nowhere near to figuring out how to achieve any focus with this camera yet. Part of the problem is that I tend to jiggle the camera when I pull the shutter. I even jiggled it while I had it screwed to my tripod. I think that I am going to have to take the Holga outside, duct tape the thing to a big rock, and then hire a nimble, feather-light faerie to release the shutter.

diptych: wineglass

With the crazy shipping costs for this type of film, at least where I was able to find it in smaller lots, it is only costing me an arm and a leg to experiment with this weird equipment to produce what is colloquially known as Holgaroids. Is anyone in the market for a kidney or a lung? Tell me how much film you are willing to send me, and I will prep for surgery.

windowsill - side view 2

Despite the blur and the shipping costs, I love how the colours turn out with this film, even when, as in the photograph above, I forget to wait long enough after peeling apart the film, unwittingly stick it to the back of another picture, and then mark up the surface separating them. It is a learning process with a sharp curve.

Also, it stinks. When I pull the film apart after allowing it to develop for approximately 90 seconds, there is this bluish goo that smells like small chemical farts.

There are some remarkable pictures taken with this strange hybrid of a camera by less jiggly people than I who also have an ability to judge focal length. To get a better idea what this Holgaroid thing is about, take a look at what the photographs can look like:

  • the Holgaroid Pool on Flickr
  • Jeff Bailey at pbase.com
  • Tony Lim's Holgaroid gallery
  • Madagascar Monegasque Holgaroid gallery
  • I am a participant in Blog 365.

    50x365 #108: Aasiya

    50x365 #107: Earl, The Hairdresser