Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Holga Resources

I previously mentioned that I would like to have a post or two devoted to resources for Holga and toy cameras, as well as for pinhole photography.

Lets start with Holga and toy cameras.

Despite the fact that it was just published in 2006, Michelle Bates' book "Plastic Cameras Toying With Creativity" has become the bible of toy camera information. If you have any interest in this type of photography at all, don't even waste time thinking about it, simply get this book. Here is a link to Michelle Bates' website that has multiple sources for purchasing the book.

Here is a great interview with Michelle. Here we have another, though I haven't quite had the time to listen to this second one yet.

Here is another book that looks quite interesting. I purchased it, but can't say much about it yet, as I have not yet received it. It looks like it will be quite good and I'm looking forward to reading it. More information about its contents and how to purchase it can be found here.

Freestyle Photographic Supplies also put out a very nice Holga manual available for free download.

In addition, is a great resource for toy cameras including forums, articles and galleries. The folks that run that website also put out a terrific magazine (and I am not sure there are any others out there) devoted solely to toy and alternative cameras called Light Leaks. I recently subscribed and received my first issue and was really blown away by the quality. If I were to try to make a comparison, I would say it is like the JPG Magazine of toy cameras. Definitely worth a subscription if this type of imaging appeals to you.

OK, so let's say you are interested....where do you go to buy your Holga. There is always e-bay. Another alternative is Freestyle Photographic Supplies who, I believe, may be the actual importers of Holgas into the USA (I think I remember reading that, but can't remember where, so I am not entirely certain it is true).

However, those would be second choices for me. I can, without any hesitation whatsoever, suggest that you should purchase your Holga from Randy at Randy can, at an extremely reasonable price, sell you a brand new Holga which has been modified in any number of different ways, including the ability to have two functional apertures, velcro to make sure the back stays on etc....all really useful stuff (see more at his website). More importantly, he provides customer service unlike anything I have seen before. I only purchased two Holgas from him, so it isn't like I am a megacustomer. I had a few questions and e-mailed him and in all instances he responded within minutes. Not only that, on two occasions I e-mailed him questions and he said the answer required some explanation and asked if it would be OK to call....needless to say, after sending him my number, I received a call within minutes providing a detailed answer to my question. You just can't find service like that anywhere else.

Anyway, I hope this is a good starting point for resources about toy cameras for anyone that might be interested. Though they are called 'toy cameras', they have a very appealing aesthetic all their own with many artists choosing to work with them exclusively, so don't be put off by the word 'toy'. There have been entire shows devoted to work done only with these types of cameras. Recently, there has been absolutely wonderful work done by Perry Dilbeck that was shot entirely with a Holga and was published not too long ago in LensWork. That work has recently been released in a book entitled "The Last Harvest: Truck Farmers In The Deep South", seen here, and available on or directly from the photographer:

For my next post, I will talk about some resources for pinhole camera photography.