Thursday, 18 July 2013

Experimenting with Instant

I've been having a little experiment with instant film.  I love the process of taking instant film - totally reminds me of my childhood and when we got our first Polaroid (all my Christmas memories from the seventies have a yellow tinge, I'm sure that's why!) - and watching the image develop.  Truly, it's like magic!

I have an instax mini which is a great little camera and my daughter, especially, loves it.  She's used it to take photos of her friends for her friendship book (as she goes off to junior school next term) and children and parents alike have squealed with delight and crowded round to see photos developing in the playground.  You've got to love that!

Recently a friend gave me her old Polaroid and some expired film to have a play with.  So far, so yellow (which, as I say, is kind of how I remember it!).

So far, this selfie is my favourite shot.  Mainly because I think the yellow kind of works and makes me look suntanned (I'm not - as you can see from my hands and feet!).

I've had very mixed results with the rest.  Some of the film has emulsified (so google tells me!) and I think yellowness can be a feature of expired film. Focus is also proving rather tricky.

My experience in a nutshell:

  • instant film is really fun, be it vintage Polaroid or the new instant cameras
  • the credit card size of the instax mini are adorable and they are brilliant for kids who can see instant results
  • watching instant film develop is really fun whether you're a kid or not
  • making myself think about getting composition right first time is a really good exercise (I am someone who creates a lot of shots to get the one image!)
  • instant film is expensive (really expensive for Polaroid)
  • results can be really random
  • light is vital - and (for me) difficult to get right, especially with a flash that seems to go off whatever the conditions
  • I really like processing and kind of miss that with instant

Ultimately, Polaroid is expensive but just as fun as I remember it.  I'm going to get a couple of packs of Polaroid film from the Impossible Project, take them on holiday, have some fun and see what I get.  We'll see what happens.  It's always fun to try something new, no?

To see how it should be done here a couple of links - there are thousands more and lots to see on flickr too:
Susannah Conway - on her blog and her book Instant Love 
Mortal Muses - who have polaroid week  going on at the minute

So, tell me.  What's your experience with instant film? 

Linking up with Brenda!  Come and play....


  1. I remember the parents had one that was black and white film. And it smelled as it!! It was fun to watch the image appear but other than that it's never captured my interest. I don't like the yellow and the shape of the image (that border) -- just never been my "thing" even as a child.

  2. I have had a few polaroids over the years. I don't think I could go back. Not now having a iPhone and a dslr. The processing is way too much fun. I do like the look of a polaroid frame around processed pictures.

  3. I really love Polaroids!
    I used my cameras a lot last year and the year before, but not so much this year for some reason.
    Need to do something about that!
    Love this selfie, Becs.

  4. Love both the self-portrait and your feet shot! I haven't seen a polaroid picture since I was in my early 20's. I have lots of "yellow" shots from that time! I still have my husband's polaroid camera...wonder if it still works?

  5. I really love Polaroids! Had so much fun when I got my first camera (I was about 10 y-o). I still have it at my parents' but I am not sure if it still works. I should check next time I go to Italy.
    Lovely selfie! But my Polaroids are not yellow-ish, they are all more pink-ish.

  6. Going analog - what a brilliant challenge! And from what I can see, you have succeeded mightily. There certainly is something magical about watching the image develop right in front of your eyes and holding the physical manifestation of your creativity in your hand.

    But I don't think it would work for me - I enjoy the post processing part too much and I don't think my compositional skills are good enough without the feedback of my LCD screen. And I would be terrified to push the shutter button - thinking about the cost of each print.

    Thanks for sharing your walk on the "instant" side with the Third Thursday Challenge!

  7. I absolutely love the look of many polaroids. I just found one taken of me and my sister taken 40 years ago that I treasure. I also love my DSLR and processing. So for me instant is very alluring and I have gone through Instant Love wishing I could do that too. But I know it's harder than it looks. Your selfies is wonderful. And let us know how the rest of your experimentation turns out. Good on ya!

  8. When I think of polaroids...well, what can I say. My ex-husband was the Director of Social Services and he had to intercept contraband going into the jail. All the "porn" shots of the girlfriends of inmates were all on polaroid.

  9. It WAS really fun to see what might actually turn up on a Polaroid--could that have been the beginning of "instant gratification"?

    1. Haha! I hadn't thought of that, but yes, the beginning of 'instant gratification' sounds right!

  10. Oh yes!
    I love instant film and the experiences you can make with it.
    Unfortunatly it really is an expensive investment, but oftentimes so worth it.
    You are beautiful on that selfie!
    Wish you a perfect start in this week

  11. What fun! I think to what great practice to be more intentional about your shooting-with that one and done mentality. I too can be guilty of taking too many shots. Great stuff for kids-they're so iphone-this is a novelty. Glad to catch up with you on 3rd Thursday. So far we're the only two so Brenda owes us an ice cream or something : )

  12. tried to leave a comment the other day, but wasn't letting me. but, yes! polaroids!!!! :) two days into holiday and one pack of film before mine bit the dust, but that's ok. such as life. after a day or so, i stopped whining. enjoy the experience (and frustration) of instant film, lovely. xx

  13. Well, this brought back lots of memories, Becs. I had a polaroid camera when I began teaching and would take photos of all my students and let them watch the images develop. Expensive, but fun for all. It is such a different world of photography, isn't it? I love your selfie -- it has a wonderful vintage quality. Happy weekend!


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