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the joy of polaroid

November 8, 2009

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Lately, I’ve been stepping out of my comfort zone in the photography department, which is ironic given that I’m not even comfortable with my current comfort zone. Because the truth of the matter is, I don’t know my ass from my elbow when it comes to photography.  I’m just fumbling with settings, learning as I go along and faking it until I make it.  And in a sense, it doesn’t really matter because photography is my zen.   I get lost in the world that is framed by my camera. I am so focused on what lives within those four corners that everything else ceases to exist and suddenly things don’t seem so big.  My camera is my yoga mat, my meditation cushion and a stick of nag champa all wrapped into one canon-licious package.

But I figure if I am to learn this trade, really learn it, I need to step away from the same old same old and branch out a little.  The thing about trying new things though, is that we’re rarely good at them the first time around so the ego takes a helluva beating and you need to work really hard at pushing through the voices in your head that tell you how much you suck. And the voices are persistent little fuckers (at least they are in my head, I don’t know about yours).

And so, this week, I thought I would share some things I’ve been playing with over the past few months: polaroids, TtV, portraits & night photography.


Let’s begin with polaroids. A few months ago, I was lucky enough to score a Polaroid SX-70 at a garage sale.  A Polaroid SX-70, people!  I’m not sure if you fully grasp the meaning of this discovery?  The skies opened up, unicorns trotted out on rainbow trails, angels trumpeted and Jesus wept at the glory of this rare find.  It was probably the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen on a crappy $5 table.  I took a chance, I bought it for cheap and kept my fingers crossed that it worked.  And it does.  It works like a charm and it purrs like a kitten.   But now?  Now I am totally hooked and I’m pretty sure it’s more expensive than a crack habit at $28 a film pack.

pumpkin 500

We all know about the milky magic, the joys of a square composition, the rediscovery of blues and reds and yellows, the feeling of slowly watching film develop and the instant gratification (or lack thereof) provided by the mighty Polaroid.  But beyond all this, it has changed the way I take photos. I’m so accustomed to clicking with abandon that I’ve become non selective in my picture taking, which in a sense is lovely because some of my favorite shots are those I hadn’t planned and digital is a cheap way to experiment.

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With Polaroid, however, the learning curve is rather expensive.  At $3 a shot, I take my sweet time and think hard about the photo I’m about to snap. I wonder… is this shot really worth it?  I can walk for hours, open my SX-70 countless times, look through the view finder to find that it just doesn’t feel right.  It is a lesson in discernment and patience.  And though it’s a pain in my ass when the shot doesn’t come out the way I had hoped (which is more often than not), I am completely addicted. I’m on that bandwagon like a hobo, like a fat kid on a Smartie.  Sure, I might eat a little more Kraft dinner these days but I have a book full of new polaroids and I can’t wait to share them with you (just as soon as I get my hands on a scanner, which I could probably afford if I wasn’t spending s’much darn money on film).

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The greatest trick and most subtle secret to doing anything really, really well, is loving that you get to do it at all.” – Notes from The Universe

9 Comments leave one →
  1. November 8, 2009 7:03 pm

    you might not know your ass from your elbow when it comes to photography, but the eye don’t lie. And baby, you got it! i know “professionals” who talk f-stops and shutter speeds like they know it all but their end results don’t hold a candle to what i’ve seen of your work.

    your photos are magic. i want to lick each one of these polaroids. for reals.


  2. November 8, 2009 8:08 pm

    oh man…..the mother of polas you scored there. i haven’t been lucky enough to score one…yet.

    gorgeous shots.

  3. November 8, 2009 9:18 pm

    you scored sister, on your SX-70, truly.

    i always say that polaroid gave me my eye and i shoot differently with my digital camera now too. suddenly my photo card has 90 shots instead of 300 and i usually like a whole lot more than i used to.

    wish the same could be said for my polas. 🙂

  4. November 8, 2009 10:25 pm

    I agree – your eye knows what to do and your photos are magic.

  5. November 9, 2009 7:21 am

    Hello! I followed your link to my TtV page back to you and I have to say, you’ve got me jonesing for a Polariod now! Your images are really quite lovely… I’ve bookmarked you in my feed reader! 🙂

  6. November 9, 2009 1:03 pm

    the magic of the polaroid, it gets me every single time, right there in the mushy part of my heart … these are gorgeous darling, absolutely gorgeous. xo

  7. November 10, 2009 9:25 pm

    Hooray for the SX70!
    I think you’ve done a fine job with these shots.
    I ADORE the bicycle shot!
    Lovely blog. 🙂

  8. November 11, 2009 4:28 am

    I can’t wait to get hold of a Polaroid and give it a whirl! Your photos are magical.


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