Olga and Fatso Go Goth (AKA Shooting Infrared Film in Toy Cameras) | Lucy Wainwright

While I was planning my photography packing for my family's seaside holiday in Whitby last year (I love this bit - deciding on cameras and lenses, sorting through the accessories and the film stash, narrowing it down to a lean 30KG of totally essential gear in no more than four formats including instant) it occurred to me, since nothing says BLACK AND WHITE quite like a Holga, or indeed quite like infrared film, that I should really put the two together.

I'm not really crazy about B&W but I do like IR. And Holgas adore B&W. So this was going to be brilliant!

And what could possibly be better than doing B&W IR in a Holga? Well, I reckoned that going FULL LOMO and doing colour IR in one of my other toy cameras would be ALL of the awesome. Especially in Whitby, which has Whitby Abbey.

I ordered a couple of rolls of Film Photography Project's re-rolled Aerochrome to be rushed to me from America and started thinking about the technicalities.

The day before we went away I loaded and taped up both cameras. I put a roll of Rollei IR 400 in the Holga and taped a Hoya R72 over the lens with black elecrical tape. I also taped all round the the seals. It looked so, so black. Like Disaster Area's stunt camera.

The colour IR went into my Superheadz UWS. I taped a yellow Hoya over the lens and then I needed to use a ND filter over that to stop the film over-exposing. What I did was I took a square x1 ND filter in a plastic material and I cut it in half so that I had two oblongs. I taped one half straight over the yellow filter and then I taped one side of the other half over that so that I could lift it up and down like a flap depending on light conditions, to give myself a bit of flexibility. This just looked weird, but in a good way.

You can't guarantee English weather, and especially you can't guarrantee Yorkshire weather, but there was some sunshine. For both cameras the shutter speed is around 1/100 or 1/125 and the aperture around f11, depending on who you ask, or possibly their mood on the day. I shot both cameras hand-held and I exposed a roll of Rollei down on the undercliff one day and another roll of Rollei and the FPP up at the Abbey the next day.

On this second day I think maybe I hadn't taped the Holga quite as well as I the first time. So that second roll of B&W was a bit of a bust, which is heartbreaking, but the colour came out well. Most of my exposures were quite sound, for a novice. And there were a couple of crazy flarey shots too, and I always like them.

I might not ever buy any more of the colour IR as it really is expensive, but the Great Whitby Gothic IR Caper of '16 was huge fun, and I still have a roll for this year in the freezer. Everyone should shoot Aerochrome once in their life, if they can possibly manage it. It's a thrill, especially in a crazy toy camera.


Film photographer Lucy Wainwright is a trainee art therapist. She likes rum, folk music, statuary, philosophy, tea, secrets, flowers, ruins, signposts, looking, serious literature, graphic novels, pickled fish, empty notebooks, and film. She has two awesome children and is happiest on the beach. See more of her work on her Flickr  and Instagram