Polaroid Moments #1

I am going to be so poor. The reason? I love, love shooting with instant film for my Polaroid camera. I have already build up quite the gallery, considering that I have only had my camera since Christmas. Currently, there is 1 last shot left of my third pack of film. My graduation is coming up and I know that it will mean that I will be unwrapping my fourth pack.

But that said, shooting with instant film has become a very careful and selective process for me. Because of the expensive price of film, I only take pictures of those moments I really want to capture for the future and of those motives that have been ideas in my mind for a very long time. So different from the mindless shooting I am guilty of doing sometimes with my smartphone camera or even when I use my digital SLR and don’t have to think about the price of film or getting the shot right with the first click. It has made me so much more conscious of what I want to capture and how. And even more importantly, why.

I wanted to share some of the moments I have been capturing for the last couple of months since I wrote my post on the first Polaroids I took:

 

2016-02-25-silpinge1

In February I was home on holiday in Denmark to spend some time with my family. We also went to our cabin in Sweden, where I took this shot one cold morning. The landscape looked pretty dull when we arrived but when I opened my eyes the morning after, I instantly knew from the light reflected inside the house that something had changed; that snow had fallen suddenly and surprisingly overnight. I know that the Impossible Project instant film doesn’t do very well in cold weather but I still went out in wellies and my pyjamas to capture the snow while it lay untouched outside.

And I’m glad I did, even if the cold left a blue mark on the photo, for a couple of hours later all the snow had melted.

2016-02-25-silpinge3

My cat Disa (old Viking age name, fitting for a Norwegian Forest cat) has started to come along on trips to our cabin and this was the first time I was there with her. Unfortunately I didn’t realise how dark it was inside, so I got the settings wrong and as a result the photo came out a bit blurry, which really upset me at the time. Now I just think it makes the photo look more romantically nostalgic.

2016-03-05-v&a museum

I had to take a photograph of my favourite museum in the world, the Victoria and Albert museum in London. It’s such a beautiful Victorian building and it’s a place that has come to mean a lot to me and helped me feel connected to the culture in this country. I took this photo on the day I was volunteering for the Making It careers festival for young people as a memento of the day, which I had helped plan, curate, promote and deliver along with other members of CreateVoice. I knew that with my new job I probably wouldn’t have as much time to volunteer at the V&A as I used to, although I will always be coming back as a visitor.

2016-03-16-rochester cathedral

This photo of Rochester Cathedral is from my spontaneous day out with Daniel where I visited Rochester for the first time, which I wrote about here. It wasn’t actually as gloomy as this picture suggests, so I didn’t realise I needed to change the light settings to “lighter”. It means the photograph has come out slightly too dark for my liking (you can’t even see the tree in the front!) but at the same time it looks wonderfully Gothic now, from something out The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe or Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey.

I really need to learn to get better at using the light settings on my camera.

2016-03-20-kings college, cambridge

Daniel and I went on another city trip to experience Cambridge for the first time, which I hope to do a blog post about soon. There were quite a few interesting buildings in Cambridge but I kept looking at these glass-less windows in the wall that surrounds the King’s College. For some reason these buildings reminded me of oriental architecture. I’m quite pleased with the shot, although it could have been slightly more symmetrical. The same thing happened to my photo of the V&A, where I spend a long time trying to get it symmetrical.

I’m starting to wonder if what I see in the camera’s viewfinder isn’t what the lens or the mirror inside sees.

2016-04-03-paaskeliljer

Ever since I got my camera I got the idea to capture my first year of instant photography by taking a new photo every month that captures the season. It has turned out to be trickier than I thought to find the right motives each month that match the ideas I have in my head. For March I knew I wanted daffodils but it took me the entire month to finally find a suitable place to photograph them, as my camera isn’t too great with close-ups and I needed the daffodils to fill out the frame. I didn’t set the light settings to “darker”, which might have helped to make the photo less bright and unfocused but it was hard to “read” the light to see if it was needed or not.

To be honest, I’m just happy I managed to get a photo for this month, as I nearly gave up on the project.

2016-04-08-east stour river, ashford

I LOVE this photograph.

I was looking out my window one afternoon a couple of days ago, when I saw the reflection of the trees in the river that runs next to our flat and I literally ran outside to capture it while the light was perfect. I have taken a few photographs of reflections with my DSLR but I wasn’t sure how my Polaroid Spectra camera would do with them, so with this shot I took a chance, risking an expensive, ruined shot. It was very bright that day, so I set the settings to “darker” for the first time and I am really happy that I did. Because the strong sunlight got reflected from the water into the camera lens, the photo has come out quite bright despite the darkening settings. It has meant that the photograph has come out looking very much like an oil painting.

I took a risk and it paid off. It’s probably the most artistic Polaroid I have taken so far!

2016-04-08-magnolia

This is my photo for April for my year project. I have been seeing a lot of Magnolia trees in bloom on my commute to work and I was very anxious that I would find time to capture one before the fragile petals started to fall off. They bloom for such a short time and I think it’s the perfect motif for a polaroid, to try and capture something very fleeting with something that is physically permanent. I think the sun got into the lens again, like it did with the picture above, as the upper right corner brighter ended up brighter than the lower left corner. It has given a very romantic feel to the image, I think.

So that was my newest collection of Polaroids. I’m trying not to go through film too quickly but it’s getting really hard now that the light is back and spring has finally arrived. It just makes me want to go out and photograph all the time.

But who can have too many photographs, right?

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