So I made new friends at a German flohmarkt (flea market) in Altenstadt this past weekend. Meet Harry (on the left) and Sally (on the right). Harry’s a 30-year old SX-70 Revue Sonar Autofocus 5005 and Sally is a roughly 23-year old 600-Series Polaroid Impulse Portrait model. And even better, they both cost €5 and Sally came with film!
And what the heck am I doing with not one, but two virtually outmoded and discontinued instant cameras? Well, they’re cool, first of all. And it’s not like I’m doing this because all the hipsters all are. Nope! I’ve always wanted one since university, but camera store after camera store in Toronto convinced me that they weren’t worth my time or money. And that the production of the film had been discontinued. And it would merely fade into the history books of photography. The list continues…
But I refuse to believe this. For me, I’ve always loved the idea of having a Polaroid camera and film available at (drunken) house parties. They make for the best conversation topics at party-post-mortem conversations. If the photos contain particularly incriminating material – well, they’re easily destructible, in comparison to their digital counterparts. And I think instant film poses as a super interesting visual medium. Imagine all the possibilities with an instant photograph?
And a number of people agree with me!
The lovers of instant film are working hard to bring it back! Although the Polaroid Corporation shut down their film production factories, I’m happy to report that FujiFilm is still producing and selling instant film. And even better, photogs are working to bring back the love themselves. The Impossible Project, led by Austrian Florian Kaps and formed of the most passionate of Polaroid employees, are working hard to do just that! Together with other passionate instant film buffs, they pulled together to purchase the last remaining Polaroid factory in Enschede, the Netherlands. And since then they’ve helped bring instant film back to life through the innovation of new instant film products! Before this even started, these Polaroid-lovers started Polanoid, an instant-film online gallery with thousands of photographers submitting their work! Read more about their work here!
So if you’re interested in jumping on the Polaroid/instant film bandwagon, like I unexpectedly did this weekend, there are so many resources out there for you! The LandList looks basic, but it’s actually a wealth of basic info on instant cameras, how to use them, how they work, and just everything you need to know! Ebay is a useful and cost-efficient place to buy instant film from.
But if you’re not so keen on jumping on the Polaroid bandwagon, but still want to produce cool pictures in the spirit of Polaroid, then check out Poladroid! It’s a cool piece of software that produces high-quality Polaroid-type photos with your digital collection. And if you’re just keen on looking, then beyond Polanoid, there’s the Tumblr-verse! I particularly like this one. And if you’re interested in very progressive, very urban, very much sometimes X-rated photography, then check out Terry Richardson, who sometimes dabbles in the ways of the instant!
Hopefully when I get started, I’ll start posting some of my Polaroids on here too!