As you may remember, if you happen to have been following my Paris Chronicles from my mother-daughter trip to Paris over spring break, I gave Ellie my Holga 120 film (plastic) camera. HERE is the link to it if you are interested. It's definitely a cheap little camera and the film processing for this particular type of film (120N) is expensive (12 exposures per roll and each roll is about $12 to process unless you can find a coupon, which I was able to get for Swan Photo Labs in Southern California) so it's not like you are going to be replacing your gear with this anytime soon! Ha! But the camera is super light, can be dropped (which it was), and can be easily figured out by little hands because the settings are SUPER simple. The photographer only needs to specify the distance (which is aided by little symbols ranging from one person for up close to several people for medium distance to a mountain top for far away) and then pick if it's either sunny or shady (again, aided by super simple symbols of a sun or a cloud). Winding the film to the next exposure is just as simple and easy so I assure you that when I say my 6 year old was EASILY able to handle this camera, I absolutely mean it. She did everything on her own. Plus, the advantage of the square format is that she didn't have to think about whether she wanted to shoot vertically or horizontally, thus making it truly a very simple, organic process for her where she could just ENJOY the picture taking process. The ONLY setback we experienced is that, as a child of this time in history, she was annoyed that she couldn't see her picture on any LCD! HA! She would just have to wait... And it made her really have to stop and slow down and THINK about how she wanted to "spend" those 12 exposures per day. I had brought 5 rolls of film for her, 4 color 1 B&W. She used them all. One roll was sadly destroyed when she dropped her camera and the back of the camera popped open exposing the roll. After that, we used a hair tie to firmly secure the somewhat flimsy backing on the camera. I'm sure duct tape would have worked equally well but this is what we had at our disposal and it worked. Ellie LOVED having her own camera on this trip and really having to THINK about what was important to her and "worthy" of her film. When I use film cameras I find that I actually really enjoy this SLOWING down that occurs, this MINDFULNESS that I have when I am taking pictures. My goal is to bring out my old Canon 35mm film camera or even this Holga out more often and just do personal work with them. I find it to be very invigorating and inspiring.
When I got Ellie's pictures back from the lab I was so thrilled with how they turned out and very proud of her thoughtfulness and composition in capturing her images. I couldn't wait for her to get home from school to show her the pictures she had taken. She was equally delighted. I'm so glad I packed that camera for her. :)
Here are a few favorites from Ellie's "work." I think this is the start of her very own portfolio..... :)
ALL THESE PICTURES BELOW ARE BY ELLIE WOWAK, AGE 6.
Views from the Eiffel Tower
Stray Dog at the Antique Fair
Images from the cemetery in Montmartre
Sacre C'oeur Church