Bi-Polar oid

I’m crazy about Polaroid photography.  I just love it!

I have several cameras that I actually used (up until not too long ago) because I enjoyed SX70 photography (photo manipulation art-making).  If you’re not familiar – it was the type of Polaroid film that would take a while to ‘set up’ or process.  It looked like all the other Polaroid films but this particular one allowed time for ‘play’ – which meant you could alter the image by manipulating the film itself – with any thing that could ‘push’ the emulsion around.  The film was like a sandwich with the emulsion sandwiched between the base layer and the top finish.  You could move the emulsion around by pressing with a stylus or dental tool (or anything that you found you enjoyed working with) until you were satisfied with the result.

I show a few of these images (in my post of August 21) if you’d like to see some examples.

The best part (to me) was the instant gratification that this form of photography offered.  I was still warming up to the idea of digital and Photoshop was definitely outside my comfort zone at the time.  But the real reason I enjoyed it so much was because I could put my personal touch on each individual photograph and make it a one-of-a kind piece of art.  No two images were identical and I liked that idea a lot.  Still do.

But in this fast paced world we live in where technology changes in an instant – this type of film/photography has gone by the way side to make room for the new and improved…in other words, things change.

But instead of dwelling on what is no longer I’m trying to embrace the changes and focus on the now.  And anyway, we all know – art making is not about the tools.

Its what we do with what we got.

I find that I now take a lot of images with my cell phone because I always have my cell phone with me.  “The camera that takes the best pictures is the one you have with you”.

And today I just stumbled upon a fun app that keeps my Polaroid craziness in tact.  Its called “roidizer”.  Its free and very simple and fun to use – if you enjoy Polaroid photography you’ll enjoy this app!

The above image was made with my cell phone using the Roidizer app.

Breaking the Rules one Photograph at a Time

I used to be in a camera club a few years back.  I would go to these meetings religiously because it was about the only way I could connect with other photographers.  We would always have a competition at each meeting and the winning photographs would continue on to the next level (regionals) and sometimes to the state and national levels.

To the members of this club the rules were carved in stone and it was mandatory for each new member to understand them clearly if they ever planned on having their photographs included in the winner’s circle.

All the winning photographs always looked the same too – …beautiful sunsets with orange and blue skies, pretty flowers in pretty vases on pretty tables, still life arrangements with fruit, etc., etc., etc.  And each one sharp as a tack with textbook exposure.

I’ll never forget the time one of the (senior) members was looking at one of my photographs (one that I was pretty happy with as I’d just gotten back from two  weeks at The Maine Photographic Workshops (now known as Maine Media) in Rockport, ME, and said, “Now see, if you’d only used a tripod here – you’d really have something!”.  I just smiled and shook my head in agreement and thanked him for the advice, knowing that at that very moment my camera club days were numbered.  Not because I thought I was a better photographer or because I thought I knew more than these people – it wasn’t that at all.  I just knew, at that very moment,  that if I continued to stick around i ran the risk of letting their limited thoughts and ideas on what ‘real’ photography was influence my ideas of what I thought ‘creative’ photography was.

And I haven’t looked back.

I learned a lot about the foundation of photography from these generous and friendly folks and appreciate what they shared but I also learned it was just the jumping off point.  Creativity can’t be boxed in like that.  It ceases to be creativity!

I enjoy making images using the Lensbaby, toy cameras, plastic cameras, pinhole cameras, I love SX70 film and Polaroid cameras, I hate hauling around my tripod, I love to shoot through the window or a dirty windshield, will shoot while jumping up and down, I like an occasional blown out highlight, I love really high key images, I’m a self portrait freak, I take more photographs of my feet than you’d ever believe, (I take pictures of other people’s feet!), I shoot at odd angles, no angles, wide angles, in the dark, in the bright light, in infrared, a LOT in infrared, use wacky filters, shoot from moving vehicles, use the wrong exposure intentionally… and I do all these things on purpose!

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, ‘every photograph is a self portrait’.  It just means that the images we make reflect something of who we are and how we see the world because we put something of ourselves into the image.  It’s what makes that image our image and no one else’s.

I can spend hours browsing through images I’ve taken – it truly is an enjoyable past time for me.  These photographs aren’t necessarily great or award-winning but they hold some magic sometimes.

I guess its kind of like keeping a diary; a visual diary – full of memories and emotions that couldn’t be put into words if I tried.