Shake it like a Polaroid picture

9 years ago

I watched as my friend quietly set all of the dials on her antique camera, complete with bellows and a Polaroid film backing.  She fiddled and she fidgeted, all the while exuding an air of calm, and quiet.  Finally, she held her breath and took the shot, and the camera whirred, while the image emerged from the camera.

Amazing, I thought to myself.  I just don't have the patience.

While my first camera was a 35mm film single lens reflex, the truth is that I came to photography in the digital age.  I quickly grew tired of having to  carry all of my exposed film to the lab to be processed (having no idea how to do it myself), so when my husband bought me my first digital SLR, there was no looking back -- I was hooked on digital photography for life.  It's all about instant gratification, you know?  Besides, the beauty of digital photography is that for every image, I can take four of five shots, and pick the best of the images -- in short, my photography is fully based on the law of averages.

But these Polaroid and instant film fans, man -- they're just such artists.   Since the film tends to be expensive (and in some cases, obsolete), it seriously costs to waste even one image.  They're so circumspect.  So thoughtful.  So full of intention when they shoot.  And the resulting shots are absolutely otherworldly -- like the come from a different place and time.  It's truly a joy to watch them work.

So this week, I thought I'd share with you some of my favourite instant photographers.  I hope their work inspires your own photography, whether digital or otherwise:

  • I love this recent post from Journal from the Studio of Marieke Berghuis Leewens, featuring a Polaroid diptych of the sun.  I do love a good diptych, and this example makes me want to rush out and try to recreate this beautiful piece of work.
  • One of my favourite Polaroid photographers is Irene Nam from momster., and this image of her twin superheroes is positively classic.
  • And finally, my dear friend Andrea of Hula Seventy is all about the instant photography, Polaroid and otherwise.  Her recent post about her holiday in Florida brings home the point about instant photography being timeless -- truly beautiful work.

Karen is a writer and a photographer in Houston, Texas.  You can read/see her work at Chookooloonks.

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