I use my Holga camera as a way of digging deeper beneath the surface of my environment. By overlapping multiple images in a single frame of film, I am able to make connections that are not otherwise apparent, and was able to uncover a spirit in a city that I initially viewed as cold, corporate, and soulless.
Upon moving to the Washington DC metro area, I was challenged with making photos in an environment that was completely foreign to me. Everything around me seemed so standardized and clinical, devoid of any personality or individuality. I could not find my place, or my voice.
After using my high tech cameras with little success, I decided to go back to basics and use a Holga camera to approach the task of making images in my city. The camera itself is incredibly simple – plastic, very few controls, and prone to irregularity. This method of making images placed much more of the emphasis on my own mind, for I have to decide what I want to say and how I want to make certain objects relate to each other, and then figure out how to translate that vision to film with minimal technical options. This process inevitably forced me to become more intertwined with my own environment, for I am taking the time to look for objects and shapes and textures that strike me, and might compliment each other well when overlapped in a frame. During all this, I found myself becoming more in tune to and comfortable with my surroundings while making my images.
The body of work I created depicting areas in and around Washington DC shows a city that I do not often see portrayed anywhere else. When most people think of the District, they think of the memorials, government, or other textbook accounts of the area. As with every place I have ever lived, the details are what make a place unique. Therefore the details are where I choose to focus my attention when making my urban Holga photographic images.
I have since taken my Holga camera on many trips to a wide variety of locations across the United States and beyond to make photos in this style while visiting, and have found success with incorporating my travel images into my overall portfolio. I have also incorporated more human portraits, forms, and elements into my work style since the origination of my DC series. This manner of making images is essential to me because it has allowed me to carve out a space for myself where before there was none. It reflects the way I see and feel in the world, as well as in the place that I call home.
Erin Antognoli was born in a small town in Northeastern Ohio, and raised in an equally small town in Western Pennsylvania. She realized from a very early age that she was not like the other girls. While her classmates were all joining the brownies, taking ballet lessons, and dressing up like fairy princesses, Erin wanted to be a ninja assassin, started a bicycle gang, and lit things on fire. She was bound to go far in life.
After completing college with honors and without getting kicked out, she worked as a photojournalist and then later got another degree in art, which in no way prepared her for the real world. She then married a guy who thought all the crazy things she did were endearing, and moved to the Washington DC area.
Erin's main activities include creating and exhibiting artwork, spending time with her husband and sasquatch, and conspiring new and exciting ways to take over the world.