Last weekend, as I was snapping off some shots with the lomo after Philip’s graduation, a minor catastrophe struck.
The shutter release on my lomo stuck down. The film advance kept advancing. It wouldn’t stop. My heart leapt into my throat, then sank.
My poor lomo. I <3 my lomo. I would be sad if it were gone. Not to mention that bitch cost me $100 used on eBay. Luckily, the next day, I looked up how to do emergency surgery on a Lomo LC-A—basically, how to take off the cover and look at the insides. Just doing that must have jarred something back into place, because now it seems to work fine. (We'll see for sure after the post-op roll comes back in another week.) In those 18 hours or so before I managed to get the lomo back on its photographic feet, though, I entertained the idea of buying another "toy camera." I'd heard about the Holga, and I knew that the Lomo LC-A was actually a knock-off of another camera, which was based on yet another camera, so I knew there had to be something else. And, as much as I <3 my lomo, I'm in no hurry to cough up another $100 for one. So, after a little online research, off to eBay I went, searching for Holga 120‘s and Cosina CX-2‘s and Minox 35‘s and Olympus XA‘s and even Diana cameras and Fed 5B‘s. Finally, after some sticker shock on certain models and some disappointing bid-sniping for others, I managed to get myself a brand-new Holga 120N. Now I need to get myself some 120 film (I forgot that this auction didn’t come with any), and wait for my camera to arrive…
Here’s the danger: if I <3 my Holga like I <3 my Lomo, I could see myself becoming a collector of "toy" cameras. No, not just a collector, but an enthusiast. "Collector" makes me think that I'd have them all lined up on a shelf, pretty-like. Kind of like Mr. Marks, my clarinet instructor, did with his vintage clarinets. No, if I had more cameras, I'd be taking pictures with them, that's for sure. I'd want to start with the cameras-I-can-fit-in-my-purse genre, though, because that's the thing I love the most about my lomo. It's *there*. It's like the old #1 rule of photography: f/8 and be there. (If the part about f/8 —that's a setting on the camera, you non-photo types—if that's right, I should be happy with my Holga: it only has one f-stop. I think it's f/11, though...) The other thing I really love about my lomo is that it has depth-of-field. Again, for you non-camera types, that's where the subject is sharp and in focus, but the background is fuzzy (and sometimes the foreground, too). It took me a while to get the hang of the range focus concept—there's not a focusing ring, there's a focusing lever with four selections—but once I figured it out, I loved the results. The Holga, with an aperture of f/11, isn't going to have that so much, but it'll be a square format, and it'll have that vignetting (darkening around the corners) that looks like you're about to pass out. I think that's a fair artistic trade. We'll see. I hope this doesn't suck. I might have to find a place that develops 120 film locally, so I don't have to wait a whole week to get my first roll of Holga prints back. Of course, I've had poor luck with most any local photofinishers I've tried... so maybe I should just cultivate my patience. Or maybe I should wait until I even get the damn camera before I start worrying about it. 😉