If you read my Christmas post you will know that my boyfriend gave me a Polaroid Spectra camera for Christmas. I was so excited and a bit awestruck about finally owning my own instant camera and it has really inspired my creativity and given me lots of fresh ideas for new photo projects. Almost every night I go to bed with some new idea of a picture I want to take, how I can use my camera or how I can turn my polaroids into special art projects.
I have already used up my first pack of film and I have fallen in love with analog instant photography. I have also discovered that it’s surprisingly hard to take those perfect polaroids you might see in photobooks or online. So many things can go wrong and unlike digital photography the film is very sensitive to light and temperature, so it feels as if I’ve had to learn to photograph all over again.
So what makes it so different from the way I normally photograph?
The Polaroid camera is very different from my Canon 1000D DSLR. It’s more simple and have only a few settings, making it harder for me to be in control of the process. I can’t see the image on a screen before the polaroid comes out and the colours of the film ink, while a gorgeous dreamy and vintage-like tint, mean that everything looks very different from what I see through my own eyes. All of this means that the result of the final polaroids becomes more accidental and more of an experiment but as I am learning to accept and even love, the accidental aspect is what makes it exciting, as you never really know what the polaroid will turn out like!
Another difference is that the film is very expensive; you only get 8 shots in a pack for £17. As the polaroids come out straight away there is no way to delete my photo if it comes out wrong. But the preciousness of each shot has meant that I think twice about what I want to photograph and if the image is really worth spending a film on. Instead of mindlessly shooting away, I now take my time to think about why a subject interests me, what I want to capture or find special about it and how I can achieve that through how I frame, compose and light my shot. It has made me more selective and critical, and I hope it will help me to become more critical of my digital photography, too.
In an age where so much of our lives are lived and recorded digitally, there is something really magical and nostalgic about analog film; clicking a button, hearing the whirring of the camera, seeing the print come out and waiting to see the blue-colored polaroid slowly develop into shapes and colours. Instant analog film is making me fall in love with photography all over again, as if I am discovering it for the first time.
So I thought I would share my new love with you and show how some of my first polaroids have turned out like.
This was my first attempt to take a creative photo. I found this little hidden path tucked away in a park and really liked the creepyness of it but I don’t think it really came out in the photo. I don’t know why light stripes have appeared and while my boyfriend claims it makes the photograph “unique” I think it slightly ruins the photo a little bit, as I’m a bit of a perfectionist.
I like this shot better than the one above. I thought the contrasts of the trees looked nice against the sky and lake but unfortunately the same annoying light blue stripes have appeared on this shot as well and made it hard to see the bench I was trying to capture, too. The stripes might have appeared because it was a cold day (because of the ink chemicals the film is best used in temperatures between 13-28c) or because it was windy and the polaroid got shaken in the wind before I could put it in my bag. Either way, I think it’s a shame, as the shot would have been rather nice otherwise.
I was sitting in my living room one afternoon when the sun suddenly appeared and I looked out the window. The sun was trying to come out from behind the clouds and I thought that it might make a good shot with the silhouette of the naked trees underneath. The polaroid didn’t get shaken this time and the indoor temperature might have helped, too because the stripes are a lot less noticible, even more so than what you can see from my scan! I have plans to make a digital negative of it and turn it into a photogram or cyanotype, as I think it might look really nice in a cyanblue colour.
I took this photograph of a tree when I was out walking one day and thought I would come back, as it might be a really nice motive for a polaroid. I walked back with my boyfriend and had read online that you should cover the polaroid immediately after it comes out and keep it in an inside pocket in cold weather to let it develop properly, so I didn’t see it before we got home again. I was so dissapointed when I first saw it, as I had expected it to look exactly like my other photo but not only was the weather different and more sunny that day but it would always have looked different because of the colours of the polaroid ink. When I took another look at it however, the delicacy of the branches and pastel colours reminded me of japanese painting and now it’s my favourite polaroid of the ones I’ve taken so far. An example of when an accident becomes something special!
My newest polaroid. I’ve walked past this tree a couple of times now but have been waiting for the right weather conditions to make it look just the right amount of gloomy. I’m a bit dissapointed that you can’t really see the beautiful fog on the fields or the trench in the foreground, as I thought it was part of what would make the image special but I still rather like it. The blue stripes have come back unfortunately, but I wasn’t quick enough to cover it and it was pretty cold, so maybe that’s why. I have been googling it and I’m trying to find out why it keeps happening and what I can do to prevent it next time. It’s just one of those things that makes it a bit more tricky to shoot with analog instant film. The image is part of a new project I’m doing, where I want to document the year through an image from each month to represent the season. For January I needed something appropiately bleak.
So that’s it. If it hadn’t been January (probably the most boring time of year if you ask me) and the film wasn’t so expensive I would have probably have taken more but I’m excited to take more now that the days are becoming brighter! Have you tried instant photography and what do you think of it? I would love to see your photos, so send me your links in the comments!