Whence, wherefore and whither PolaProjects?

Sultan Russ (dad) and Lizard Max (son) Halloween 1995

Inspired by several artsy-creative-OCD friends and colleagues — including James Tinnelly and Alex Fourier — plus the discovery with my children of a big stack of old Polaroids of friends and family, I caught the instant-photography bug! Oh, I’ve got it bad…

Why instant-photography? Well, it’s definitely NOT because I want to harm the environment (I’ll recycle everything) and NOT because I’m turning away from digital photography. It’s just that Digital is more about making the “capture” and editing your images afterward, which is great for everyday snaps and street photography, or studio/commercial work.

I find the “non-digital-one-chance-to-compose-and-crop-in-the-viewfinder” approach of instant photography to be more a process of “making a picture” (as Ansel Adams said) than just taking one. And, of course, I’m visually, artistically drawn to the Polaroid-instant-analog film look-and-feel: softness, vignettes, light-leaks, aberrations, and colors. Oh, and those beautiful disasters when instant film gets jammed in the camera on the way out are awesome!

My personal instant photos will be taken on various vintage and new instant cameras, using various film formats, including:

  • Polaroid VINTAGE Cameras+NEW Films:
    • BIG SHOT / The long, ungainly, weird-looking, fixed-focus, gray-green, boxy camera with which Andy Warhol took his most fabulous Polaroid portraits using peel-apart pack-film.
    • 195 Land Camera / With rangefinder-type focusing and a GREAT lens, this is my other go-to camera for shooting peel-apart pack-film with beautiful results…
    • SPECTRA / Using the standard, SE, and Pro versions of this high-quality, late-vintage model, using wide (non-square) format Spectra-only film, which was sadly discontinued in 2019. Down to my last few packs now. 😦
    • SLR680 SE / Evolving out of SX-70 technology, the 680 SE is regarded as the BEST SLR model Polaroid produced — auto-focus, through-the-lens focusing — to maximize image quality using the less light-thirsty Polaroid 600 film.
    • Miscellaneous / When I hit the estate and yard sales, I always grab any Polaroid or other instant camera in decent condition, either for display (shelf-candy) or active shooting…
  • Polaroid NEW Cameras+Films:
    • After the original Polaroid went bankrupt and stopped production, they relaunched as “Impossible Project” then changed to “Polaroid Originals” for a few years, and finally renamed themselves (after legal wrangling?) to just “Polaroid” again…
    • The new Polaroid makes instant cameras, films, devices, and accessories, all (or most) of which I’ll be shooting with!
  • Instax (FujiFilm) Cameras+Films:
    • Instax Wide / A HUGE but light, reliable camera with a wonky viewfinder that is maddeningly difficult to compose with, but the results are pretty good.
    • Instax Square / Thinking about it, but might go with a NONS camera that does more with the same film instead (see below)!
    • Instax Mini / Shot with a few of these cameras and gifted a few of them to family, friends, and clients — they’re lots of fun!
  • Texolux & Other Cameras+Films:
    • Texolux / From the Latin for “building” and “light” — it’s my name for any handmade, hacked, modified, customized, rebuilt, and/or small production devices for instant photography.
    • MiNT / After building a reputation for artisan-refurbished and enhanced vintage Polaroid SX-70’s, they now have a new factory churning out a full line of instant cameras and accessories.
    • NONS / Newcomer making interchangeable lens cameras for shooting Instax Mini and Square films — cool!
    • Lomography / A full range of funky cameras and lenses, plus adapters for shooting Instax films on medium and large-format (4×5″) cameras.

On the instant film side:

The last vestiges of high-quality, discontinued, expired, long-term-refrigerated, peel-apart pack-films like FujiFilm FP100c, FP100b, and FP3000b are being bought and sold at SUPER HIGH PRICES, which leaves what’s left to only well-heeled hobbyists. Closely watching the new peel-apart pack instant films being made by SuperSense (launched by an Impossible Project alum) in Vienna, which is getting better with each batch, but they are still pricey and not widely available. So, for now, the only new instant films within reason and offering good availability out there are Polaroid and Instax. That’s what I’ll be shooting until further notice.

Instant-photography-focused Profiles & Feeds:

Instagram — instant photos taken or collected by remages
Twitter — instant-photography and related tweets.
Tumblr — instant photography by remages and others!
Pinterest — my instant-photography board…
Flickr — my instant-photography collection page.

For more info, you can bookmark this page and watch the blog for new posts about instant photography.

Email: info@instant.photo

One reply to “Whence, wherefore and whither PolaProjects?

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