Holga – A Romance

The Portuguese – Ana Filipa Quintao

It started with a documentary on the series “Bali, Island of the Spirits” by photographer John Stanmeyer. The space where I was disappeared and suddenly I was in Bali, completely absorbed in that world. Immersed in those pictures, I fell in love with Holga, through this excellent work.

And since then, whenever I see pictures of this camera instinctively feel to be transported to another world.

It was with a Holga 120N that I went back to shooting film and return to my past as an “experimentalist” photographer.

What attracts me most in this camera, in addition to the type of images that reproduces, is its simplicity of handling. It freed me from the technical question, so I can only focus on what’s ahead of me. It gave me freedom to accept the error. In fact, it give me a welcome. It allowed me to be a child, shooting with lightness. As always liked to do in my childhood, when I started shooting with disposable cameras. In fact Holga allowed me to “play” again with a camera. Its name could not be more appropriate: Toy Camera!

It was with this camera that I chose to photograph the series “The Tree House”, which had on display in tree trunks, knowing it would be the camera that would transmit the unpretentious atmosphere of a tree house.

The world recreated by Holga is indeed something that fascinates me and that led me to look for it in other types of cameras, in addition to the Toy Cameras. It was this very demand, which in 2011 began to explore the world of Lo-Fi photography.

I tried the Holga lens for digital cameras and especially the Holga filter of “Vignette” application for mobile photography that to me transmits so faithfully over the world of Holga. With this filter did several series, including “While Driving”, “underWATER”, “element”, The Portuguese”, among other works.

‘The Tree House’ Copyright Ana Filipa Quintao

I close with my presentation: I am Portuguese, born in 1975, my name is Ana Filipa Quintao and I am fascinated by Holga and its unpretentious world to where I instinctively travel.


“Bali, Island of the Spirits” by John Stanmeyer

Spirits are everywhere in Bali. Trees, temples, mountains, stones, water appear sacred to the Balinese, all serving as a hand reaching out and into the other world of ancestors and gods and the maelstrom of good and evil. Balinese spiritual culture has its roots in Indian Hinduism, Buddhism and ancient animist beliefs, first originating in East Java. Centuries-old ceremonies with deeply layered rituals are very much alive today. John Stanmeyer spent five years living in Bali, creating this reportage through the uninhibited and timeless lens of a Holga. His photographs capture practices from decades past, transcending the temporal as they live on today and into the unforeseen future. This body of work stresses the historicity of spiritual life of Bali, consisting of deeply layered imagery that is witnessed, understood and explained in full by few, yet practiced by millions. http://viiphoto.wg.picturemaxx.com/webgate/index.php

Ana Filipa Quintao was born in Portugal in 1975. Early on, she became interested in photography and started to explore the world with disposable cameras, using film for many years and only in adulthood, exploring digital photography.





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2 Responses to “Holga – A Romance”

  1. Bets May 31, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

    I love the photos you’ve taken yourself! They look amazing! I also like your reason for why you love the holga. I’ve never heard of Stanmeyer but thank you for introducing him! I was googling tips on using the holga actually and it’s such a coincidence I came upon your post about this photographer because I’m actually going to Bali for the first time next week with my camera. I really hope my photos will turn out ok because I’m no expert when it comes to my holga.

    • Anonymous June 30, 2013 at 6:40 pm #

      Dear Bets, thank you for your nice comment. I see your Holga is a passion to you too. I wish you a very pleasant trip to Bali and I am sure your pictures will turn up just fine! All my best, Ana Filipa

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