Dusty Seven’s images of Briggs were taken on a Holga . This toy-like, medium format camera was originally produced in China so that even the very poorest members of society could take photographs. Gradually, it came to the notice of western photographers. They were charmed by the idiosyncratic images produced by the Holga’s plastic lens and inherent light leaks. I first encountered these cameras when living in Munich about 10 years ago. I bought one from Foto Schaja on Sendlinger Strasse – perhaps the only photography shop where some of the staff wear lederhosen. From then on, the Holga never left my rucksack as I tramped around the Bavarian capital.
Recently, I bought a glass lensed Holga. What a difference 10 years of quality control make. On the old version, it was neccesary to shove a folded up bit of cardboard under the takeup spool to tension the film. The new holga has foam tensioners. It’s not exactly Leica quality, but it works.
This picture of a bomb damaged tomb was taken in 1998 in Munich’s Sudfriedhof cemetery . The soft, dreamy quality was produced by the plastic lens. I can’t imagine getting the same effect with a digital camera without a lot of post-processing. That’s the brilliant thing about the Holga – you become an art photographer without really trying.