Polaroid Land camera 250

Polaroid Land camera 250, produced between 1967 and 1969

One of the things I noticed when I did my first set of shots, was the amount of hassle involved in carry and setting up the gear. Carrying two cameras – the Polaroid Land camera and the digital – is one thing.

But then there is the issue of using the Land camera on a crowded street, focusing in bright sunlight using a faded rangefinder patch, and then unpeeling the photograph itself, trying not to lose the various bits of backing paper in the wind and then handing then photo to the participant for the digital shot.

Quality is also an issue. Polaroids aren’t really meant for scanning. They look just fine at the size and printing format they were intended for. But scanning them reveals all those imperfections, grains, fibres and paper textures, that were never intended to be viewed at close range.

Negative backing paper from peel apart film.

Negative backing paper from peel apart film

Polaroid instant photo technology was designed to be temporary, for previewing purposes, for instant gratification before discarding, putting on a shelf to fade (as they inevitably do), or losing down the back of a settee possibly to be discovered years later.

It seems almost trite to say that they were the camera-phone of their generation, but they do have similarities. That instant film cameras are having somewhat of a renaissance, albeit in a consumer rather than a professional format, seems indicative that instant print photography still satisfies a desire that was briefly lost.

The photographs | About the project | Camera & film