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Back to basics


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POSTED: Sunday, March 29, 2009

Star-Bulletin staff photographer Jamm Aquino is usually on the streets slinging his digital cameras but has also been dabbling in the wacky world of the Holga camera.

Holgas are inexpensive medium-format toy cameras made in China. The low quality of the camera often adds strange effects to images, and with a fixed exposure there's an element of surprise with the results.

“;For these images it was trial and error. “;Maybe only about 40 percent of them came out,”; Aquino says. It's a pretty good rate of success for a first go at the camera.

“;I attribute it to my experience shooting with a regular camera, so I know exposures,”; he says.

These photographs were made last July on a trip to San Francisco. Aside from a small point-and-shoot, it was the only camera he brought with him.

But what draws Aquino to such a camera?

“;I've always wanted one, and my friend Joaquin Siopack gave me one as a gift,”; Aquino says. “;And I've wanted to try and start composing in a square format.”;

Shooting film is also a nice change for Aquino, who has been using digital cameras exclusively in recent years.

“;I like the allure of waiting to see what I got instead of the instant satisfaction that I get with a digital,”; he says.

“;I was really happy with the look of film. I shot it on Tri-X 400,”; says Aquino. “;There's a certain look that you just can't get with a gray-scaled digital image.”;

And it looks like the film might keep rolling.

“;I'm looking to maybe experiment with some features assignments at the paper using the camera. It has a hot shoe, so I can use my lights with it,”; he says.

“;It's in the works. I just have to experiment with it a little more.”;

Find out more about the work Aquino does at the paper in his blog “;Aperture Cafe”; at blogs.starbulletin.com/aperturecafe.