Tag Archives: Lo-fi photography

5 Reasons You Should Try Digital Holga Portraits

Remember when life wasn’t so complicated, when there wasn’t a million things to remember, and when photography wasn’t a serious hobby but just . . . for fun? Holga remembers.

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A featherweight at 38g. A bargain at $15.

There is freedom in simplicity. You can pour over MTF graphs online and ridiculous DxO Mark scores, or you can do-it-yourself and experiment with something deliciously old school.

As I’ve mentioned recently, I’m in love with this $15-25 plastic Holga lens. We took it out to the LA Arts District, Venice Beach, and Santa Monica Pier for several model test shoots.

The Holga lens is available for a variety of focal lengths and mounts. We used a 25mm f/8 for our Sony A7, but other versions are available as follows:

5. The Lovely 35mm Film Look

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Peyton Lake rocking her AC DCs in the back of a 325i. Makeup by Jordan Takeda. Image processed with the Terry Style Clean preset for Adobe Lightroom.

Digital is clean, precise, and sterile. Film has a texture to it, or as Patrick Bateman might say, “the tasteful thickness of it.” But the problem with 35mm film is the time, expense, and effort of dealing with a physical media, not to mention, the way we consume photography has long changed from printed photo to digital websites.

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The $15 Holga 25mm f/8 Plastic Fantastic Lens

Its images feel like old movies, childhood toys, or fond ex girlfriends. It is riddled with optical flaws and its image circle can’t even cover a cropped sensor, but it takes us back to the roots of photography and camera obscura. It is $15, utterly uncomplicated, and, without a doubt, the funnest lens I’ve used in a very very long time.

Processed in Lightroom with the “Holga Cool Sides Warm Center” preset, available below.
Processed in Lightroom with the “Holga Cool Sides Warm Center” preset, available below.

The lens is the Holga 25mm f/8. The Holga brand name is synonymous with the plastic fantastic 120 medium format film camera you can purchase in every Urban Outfitters across America. At the core of Lomography’s lo-fidelity philosophy is the idea that photography is meant to be impulsive, spontaneous, and fun. And now, for the first time, it is digital.

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Processed in Lightroom with the “Holga Cool Sides Warm Center” preset, available below.

We explore the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in downtown LA and then take a short road trip to Pasadena, California. We mount the Holga on our Sony A7 and Sony A5000. No more expensive 120 film and waiting for the it to develop. No more fiddling with plastic cameras without any preview.

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Model, M.D.

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In Boston, more than half the people I meet either have a doctorate, masters, or some other advanced degree. It is really uncanny and it was no different last weekend. Elle is a beautifully tall and skinny Canadian surgical resident, studying her masters at Harvard University this summer. She also models in her spare time. We rented the gorgeous DD Pro Imaging Studios in Somerville, and had ourselves a fantastic shoot. An in-depth article will follow.

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How to Shoot like Terry Richardson – (Part 1: The Look)

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Whether or not you have heard of him, you’ve probably has seen his work. From Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar to H&M and American Apparel, his white-background-with-hard-direct-flash-portraits has been the iconic look of the recent times. Pay attention the next time you go shopping, and just realize just how many billboards and ads are shot clean, on a white background, with very little shadow. The Terry Richardson look, then, has defined this generation of fashion photography.

In a month long exposé, I will delve into “Terry’s World,” the craft behind his work, and learn how to shoot models in his style. He is the first mega-pro photographer to be featured, discussed, and analyzed here at iLHP and it’s strangely fitting because people either love or hate him and his work, literally. 

Hack or Genius? 

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RollingStone’s Behind the Scenes Video for the Rihanna Shoot

Photographers, professional or amateur but mostly amateur, are highly polarized about his work. To use comedian Bill Burr’s expression, “naysayers with heavy jowls” criticize his point-and-shoot style as amateurish, unsophisticated, or even tacky (classic argument is that “my four-year old niece can do it,” but I’ve yet to see a four your old exhibit at the MET). Throw a question like “Is Terry Richardson any good?” onto an online forum and watch the feces fly like a good ol’ Canon v. Nikon debate. But we’ve all heard this before. Jackson Pollock’s talentless splatter paintings, I.M. Pei’s monstrous Louvre glass pyramids, or even Pablo Picasso’s amateurish cubism. Good art is sure to stir some controversy. Art is supposed to make you feel something.

Continue reading How to Shoot like Terry Richardson – (Part 1: The Look)