The digital revolution is a wonderful thing. As well as access to information, more ways to communicate, and the ability to trawl eBay until your eyes water for that all-important teacup/camera/pair of shoes; it has also made photography truly accessible. The opportunity to master this most egalitarian of art forms was previously not truly available to the masses by dint of cost – most of us just couldn’t afford to keep making mistakes. Digital cameras mean we can snap away, examine our failures and successes, and then snap some more until we get it perfect. I approve of digital photography.
Having said that, I don’t believe that digital cameras can give you what film can. There is a warmth, and a clarity about an image made with a professional quality film that can’t be easily ‘faked’. Never is this more true than with a Holga camera. These ‘plastic fantastic’ Russian toy cameras are beloved for their flaws – plastic lenses, fixed focus, all of two aperture settings, and a need to keep them shut with a reel of gaffa tape. This, surprisingly, can add up to an image that is sharp, richly coloured (when combined with a good film like Kodak Portra, of Fuji Provia – above), with a gorgeous warped quality and vignettng that people pay to replicate in Photoshop. So, next time you have a spare £25, don’t buy a new memory card, think about hitting eBay and picking up a Holga and some film. Go to Flickr and search for images made with a Holga if you need more persuading!