I started creating multiple exposures with my Holga by rotating my camera around and around in my hand – settling eventually on a name Holga-roundas, which picked up on the patterns of the buildings I found in the City area of London where a lot of the business skyscrapers are. I used to work in a small building below the Walkie Talkie and was fascinated by them.
I decided to call the series Beautiful City, named after one of my favorite songs by Lloyd Cole and the Commotions.
I would define a Holga-rounda by saying the image must have more than two exposures on one frame and that you would have to rotate the Holga camera around in your hands to create shapes or patterns.
However, two exposures can work:
How Do I Take a Holga-Rounda?
I usually create the images by taking four or more exposures on the same shot, turning my camera 45˚ and taking my first shot, then turning the camera 90˚ before taking another shot, then again, then again.
It can get a little disconcerting when your camera is upside down or at 225˚, but it’s more about experimenting and finding out what’s best for you.
The best way to get something visually appealing in a Holga-rounda is to find shapes to contrast against each other.
For example, here the shape of the edges of the shorter darker building really helped contrast that of the Walkie Talkie building:
I tried a similar approach in color and almost created a star pattern:
Lloyd’s building in London also has some lovely shapes that create some beautiful patterns:
There is of course a bit of trial and error involved. These two, for instance, seem a little lopsided:
As you can see the jagged edges of this building in the City really emphasize the patterns, and I go back again and again to it:
Which Film Should You Use for Holga-Roundas?
While you can use a variety of different films for Holga-roundas, since you’re shooting so many exposures, it’s probably best to stick to lower ISOs. Try a 100 or 200 ISO film in order not to blow out the highlights in the sky or the lighter parts.
You will see that I’ve also used ISO 800 at times, and I’ve seen a great difference in the light available in different countries. My Holga 120N produces quite dark images, so ISO 800 has always shone more for me than ISO 400 has for some reason when taking everyday shots.
I am not averse to getting back the detail from the negative through Photoshop – it is what you would do in a darkroom with dodging and burning after all. Ansel Adams’s “You don’t take a photograph, you make it,” comes to mind.
Adding some saturation, contrast grading, and dodging and burning can emphasize those shapes and help bring out a greater visual impact.
I also find that it changes the colors slightly, and, again, it’s up to your personal preference how much you would like to get back from your image or add a little saturation to pack a punch.
Experimentation is Key
As said, I think it’s important to try things out – and a Holga is the perfect artist’s tool – it will always surprise you – mostly in a good way.
A Holga-rounda is a great way to experiment with a Holga, have some fun with multiple exposures, and see what you can create on film.
Thank you so much, Alec! Alec is a regular contributor here at Shoot It With Film, and you can check out more of his work on Instagram.