It seems digital has claimed yet another icon of the film era. Freestyle Photographic Services has just announced that the factory which produces Holga Cameras has ceased operations and that all Holga tooling has already been thrown out, marking the end of the popular mass market cameras.
Here’s the official statement:
Freestyle Photographic announced today that the factory that produces Holga Cameras has ceased operations and will no longer be producing these Cameras and accessories.
The origins of Holga began in China in 1981. At the time, photography was skyrocketing in popularity and the 120 film format was most pervasive. Holga was introduced to the Chinese public as an inexpensive medium format camera. Unfortunately for Holga, no one could have predicted the enormous impact 35mm film would have on the Chinese market. In only a few short years, Holga was overrun by its smaller format competitors. Word of an all-plastic camera spread west and its popularity grew. Tens of thousands of cameras were sold in twenty different countries with almost no change in the original design. Holga Cameras have been a part of our photographic heritage for over 33 years and have been instrumental in not only teaching photography, but also in being able to express film creativity in the digital age. “It is with a sad heart that we say goodbye to a camera that has been so popular with so many. A Holga Camera really is about creativity and unpredictability and a refreshing medium in today’s digital age.” states Gerald H. Karmele, President and Chief Operating Officer of Freestyle. “Holga outlived many other cameras but, as like we have seen throughout the years, is yet another casualty of the digital age”
According the factory spokesperson in China, “…all Holga tooling has already been thrown away and there is nothing available for sale.” Inventory is still available throughout the United States and around the world, but as units sell out, they will be no longer available.
So there you have it. The Lomography shops around the world will likely still have stock for the near future, but once existing inventory sells out, every Holga camera will perhaps become a collector’s item. Time to get yourself a plastic camera?