5 things I love about Polaroid

Here is my bold take: Polaroid is fun. It is unique, unusual and …(wait for it) instant!

I came to shooting Polaroid through my love to film photography. I was curious to try other film formats, and eventually turned my attention to instant.

Your story may be different. But with instant photography it doesn’t really matter. Polaroid can appeal to any photo enthusiast.

Let me show what I mean by sharing 5 things I love about Polaroid.

I believe these are great reasons for you to try it too.

1. Instant gratification

You love immediate results like in digital? Me too.

With Polaroid you get as close to digital immediacy as possible. Though film has taught me some patience I wouldn’t say no to seeing my picture right away.

Modern instant emulsion still requires some time to develop in the dark but hey, 10 minutes are a small price to pay. Especially when the result is not your typical negative. It is a…

2. Physical print

This is one of the coolest features of Polaroid. It gives you a real print of your photo!

Say what you will, but printing you photos is special and I would argue important. It allows you to see your work from a new perspective.

We carry hundreds of photos in our phones but how often do you open the gallery app to browse through them?

Put your Polaroid print on a fridge and you will enjoy that picture any time you pass by.

3. Vintage look

I fancy the instant look a lot.

It is unique and recognizable, especially if you had seen Polaroids before.

This colour palette gives me some nostalgia vibes. Though my family didn’t have a Polaroid camera back in the day, it’s my mid-90’s childhood all over again!

4. Ease of use

Polaroid cameras are very simple and easy to use. My son could snap a picture when he was 4!

The film itself comes in very handy cartridges and your chances of loading them the wrong way are very slim.

Analogue photography may not always be friendly to newcomers. There is a thing or two you’ll need to learn first.

With Polaroid you don’t need that. Most of the time.

You will need a certain amount of skill to nail those pictures right though but the learning curve is quite shallow.

5. Originality

“Be original. Be Polaroid.”

This was (and maybe still is) Polaroid’s slogan several years ago and I couldn’t agree more.

Everything about the Polaroid experience is different from your common photography.

Cameras attract attention and spark conversations, trust me.

The pictures look special and they are unique in the very sense of the word: the photo you have is the only copy there is.

Also, who in this world of smartphones and DSLRs would choose to shoot this? Only a very original artistic soul.

Well, there you have it. Major reasons that motivate me to pick that OneStep camera of mine and snap a pack once in a while. Like I said, Polaroid is fun.

And I’m curious to know what you think? Do you shoot Polaroid and why? Why not?

beyond the photo mode. how video games use photography as a narrative device

SPOILER WARNING: this article contains spoilers for the following games: “Life is Strange”, “Virginia”, “1979 Revolution: Black Friday”. If you intend to play any of those you may want to come back to this article later. Otherwise you’ve been warned.

once i was a teenage girl who shot polaroid and then used the photos to travel back in time. then i was an FBI detective who developed a roll of film to get evidence. then in 1979 i roamed the streets of Tehran with my camera documenting the Iranian revolution as it happened.

as strange as it may seem, all these stories really happened. the only trick here is that they didn’t happen in real life, i lived them in video games.

Continue reading “beyond the photo mode. how video games use photography as a narrative device”

Things I’ve learned while preparing my first exhibition

Ten pictures. Small room. The potential audience of 200 people. This is the scope of my first exhibition but who cares. It’s the first time ever when my photos are going to be displayed in real life to people who are not my family.

The show is still about two weeks away but I’ve already started preparing and thought I would share some of the “discoveries” I made during that stage.

The first fact – my scans are too small. Back when I started scanning my negatives, I would laugh at the idea of scanning in RAW. It seemed unnecessary and excessive because I usually scan everything from the roll, and every photo of that quality weighs around 150 Mb. Posting pictures online requires resizing them down anyway, so for the sakes of speed and storage, my scanned images are only good for some A5 size prints. As for the exhibition, we are talking 40×50 cm here, so definitely I had to rescan selected frames again.

Next thing is editing. It should be mentioned that I rarely edit my photos. Due to a combination of my laziness and some hippie-dippie natural approach to analogue photography, I’ve learned to accept the results I get and not to fool everyone by post-editing them. I do adjust contrast or levels though just because the scanner itself is not a perfect tool.

Anyway, with those untouched fresh scans, I would have to do a lot of corrections. And I did. I spent an evening adjusting those sliders in order to get the results I wanted.

Another discovery – printing can be hard. I’ve had very little prior experience with photo labs in terms of large format printing. All I always did was to bring my USB stick to them, choose all the pictures and order prints of some 4×6 or 8×10. That’s it, no extra questions except for maybe the paper type.

This time, they were going to use a plotter, and because of that, I’d assume, a guy from the lab opened my pictures in his Photoshop and started adjusting them. Again. Also maybe because I told him they were for the exhibition, in this case, he’s such a sweet person. I have to admit his adjustments were merely tweaks and I agree with all of them, but for the future, I realized I didn’t need to do all that work at home.

Maybe if only I had an ideally calibrated screen, then yeah, no extra messing around with my perfect pics. Otherwise, I trust their experience.

One last bit for today is actually my mistake rather than a discovery. While choosing, scanning and editing the photos, I hardly imagined true proportions of the prints I was going to get. I didn’t even crop them before the lab, so when we sat down with the guy and his Photoshop to choose which picture gets what size, I had to make some sacrifices in frame space. The vertical ones suffered the most in my opinion but fortunately, not to the point of discarding the whole picture. Just another note to myself to crop my photos beforehand.

As I mentioned in the beginning, the exhibition is planned for the end of December, and there’s some work to be done before that, including framing those prints. I’m looking forward to the whole thing, and definitely will post about it later.

In Concert

Just a week ago I had a chance to go to a concert at my local pub and spontaneously I decided to grab a camera and a flash with me to practice shooting with flash. The film I used was Rollei RPX 400 pushed to 800, I specifically wanted black and white.

Now after I’ve developed and scanned whatever visible pictures I had on the roll, I want to share some of those. And what can I say about my flash experiment? None of the photos presented here were made with flash.

Except for the botched flash practice, I’m pretty satisfied with what came out. I’ve never shot a concert before, and I’m a little proud of myself. Though there is a ton of area for improvement. Especially that flash.