I entered the RayKo Photo Center 6th Annual Plastic Camera juried competition and found out recently that I had this one selected for the upcoming show. And it just happened to come from the very first roll of film I shot with my Holga, a plastic “toy” camera made in China. I bought two of them in 2001 and they sat in a closet until after my son was born in May, 2003. When I took five weeks off to stay at home with him after Nancy went back to work, I found myself doing a lot of walking. And walking. And walking some more. Drew was a preemie and quite an unhappy lad. But being outside was a different story; he seemed to love it. So we walked a lot (did I say that?) and I started to take the Holga to play around with because it’s so light weight and simple.
Most Holga images you’ll see are square and vignetted. But the camera comes (or did so back then) with a rectangular insert that is meant to be used to eliminate the vignetting and I had it in with the initial rolls. When developing the film at work (we still had a darkroom then even though it was seldom used) I accidentally crimped the end of the film and that’s where this image was. The black line and the white “moons” are the fault of my sloppiness putting the film on the reel, and unintended. The light leaks are one of the anomalies inherent in Holgas. Imperfections are part of the aesthetic of plastic camera photography and this one has them in spades.
I wound up shooting lots of pictures in the cemeteries near my neighborhood. There are three of them, Greenwood (where these were made), Calvary and Temple Emanu-el. These were shot in August, 2003 when he was two months old.
I’m quite fond of this particular image for a number of reasons but for some reasons his mother just hates it.
This one (below) was a real trick trying to hold the boy in one hand and snap the picture with the other and get it framed with the "Our Darling Boy" headstone positioned right.
And this one was shot a few months later with an old Argus Seventy-five TLR.