I’ve just taken receipt of prints for Holga rolls numbers 2 and 3 (black & white Ilford HP5+ and colour Fuji Pro 160C respectively), and the results are, er, interesting. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect from these two films, as I had a bit of a camera mishap that caused them both to come out oddly bulging from their spools.
There is a phenomenon known in the biz as ‘fat rolls’. Rather than referring to oversized baked goods or excess tissue stored around the person, this term is used to describe when an exposed roll of film protrudes from the edges of the spool, usually causing light leakage when the roll is removed from the camera. Often, this happens when there isn’t adequate tension on the film to keep it neat, tidy and tight.
In my case, however, this was caused by something altogether different. More recent ‘N’ Holgas have two pieces of sponge glued in the areas of the camera where the two spools sit to help hold them in place and keep enough tension on the film to ensure it sits flat and exposures stay in focus. The sponges came away from the body of the camera, and ended up wound up in roll number two (the black & white Ilford one).
I was able to remove one of the pieces of sponge, as it was right at the end of the roll, and foolishly replaced it in the feeder spool compartment before loading roll number three (the colour Fuji Pro one). Of course, it then ended up wound up in that roll. I’m not sure what caused this to happen, but perhaps the Canarian heat caused the adhesive to melt (I was on holiday in Gran Canaria and it was over 30 degrees Celsius around midday), or maybe it was caused by some over-tension I experienced when winding on roll number two. Perhaps it was a combination of the two, or perhaps one problem was caused by the other.
Whatever the cause, I ended up with two sets of damaged negatives. Almost all of my black & white prints have rows of black dots and trails on them, which it seems are the result of scratches in the compound on the film (surely caused by the over-tension). The last couple of exposures also have large light streaks, which are probably the result of the dislodged sponge causing the end of the film to protrude from the edge of the spool.
The colour film was far more seriously affected by the roaming sponge. There are no scratches on the negatives this time, but only the first four exposures of the twelve escaped without serious artefacts. Still, the resulting images were actually better than I expected. When I handed the films in for developing, the chap behind the counter didn’t hold much hope for my scruffy-looking roll of Fuji, saying that he wouldn’t go ahead with prints if we had nothing but fog.
Although the damage was severe, it has actually led to some very interesting photos, with exposure numbers printing through, and an almost perfect framing of the lighthouse of Maspalomas. There is another with what is undeniably the silhouette of a piece of sponge in the middle!
At first I was disappointed that my photos had been damaged so badly, but on reflection, and after comments from fascinated friends, I definitely consider some of the results to be happy accidents. It’s all part of the fun of Holgagraphy, of course. :)
I made sure to get the negatives scanned and put on CD this time, so some of them will be on Flickr very soon.