The Epitome of Instant
In between the hectic darkroom sessions, that are now over with, I found myself shooting anything I could get my hands on that wasn't 8x10. I'm not sure if it was "large format burnout" or just a change of scenery, but literally any other format seemed appealing over the last few weeks. Earlier this past week, a very exciting opportunity arose as a Flickr and Twitter contact of mine announced she had some very, very late dated Polaroid 779 for sale. After a quick consult with Leslie over at Imagine That! the brick of ten packs was on it's way to Findlay.
Now, I'd like to make it very clear that this post is in no way taking a stab at The Impossible Project. Those folks are doing amazing work reinventing instant film, and almost every month, it seems, are churning out a better, more reliable product (assuming you can shield it properly). If you're an analog photographer that loves shooting instant film, consider supporting them by purchasing a few packs and paying some long deserved attention to your SX-70 or 600 series cameras.
Having said that, it's time to gush. I LOVE THIS POLAROID 779! The one thing I've missed for years about real Polaroid film is that from the moment it comes out of the camera, you can watch it develop. Seeing every last bit of the opacifier fade into a beautiful, fine grained image right before your eyes; now that's instant photography!
The first test of this film was a simple one. Running out the door from Imagine That! and about 50 ft. down the sidewalk, I found Lauren, my ever willing model, and her best friend Val having breakfast outside of the Baker's Cafe. This "final run" stock of Pola 779 from March of 2009, is some of the freshest instant film money can buy, and man does it show. Most 600 style films have a burnt sienna/red cast over the entire picture, with pod degradation causing 3 visible streaks in the film. But not this stuff, just a kiss of warm tones over the entire image area.
One shot down, 32 to go (a few bonus frames left in Leslie's SLR 680), what to shoot next? I'd already mentioned the previous month's darkroom scramble to get prints ready for "Dapper", so why not shoot some instant film at Cleveland's home for all things analog?
If you're in the Northeast Ohio area and love film, there's only one place to go. Aperture: A Photography & Variety Store in Tremont. The owner/operator Scott, pictured left, is a very cool guy, that's doing some really great things for analog photography on a local and national level. He was the very first Impossible Project partner store, carrying experimental instant film when nobody else could even get their hands on some. Most recently, he's started making his own pinhole cameras, teaching workshops, and holding his own photowalk weekend at the end of June. If you're looking for a big photowalk event or just looking to be around other like minded film photographers, be sure to check out Analog's Pulse later this summer. There's more great things I'd love to say about Scott, but at this time I'm not at liberty to discuss it. Let's just say it's HUGE! ^__^
While hanging out at Aperture, loading up on Impossible PX-70 film, and dropping off my show prints, another, slightly more new to film photographer came in the shop. Dave Lam, a Cleveland street photographer, was guns blazing with his trusty Leica rangefinder, and Bronica SQ, and all sorts of other crazy gear. A very knowledgeable guy, with some good taste in cameras, I'd say we hit off pretty well. P.S. Polaroid 779, Hasselblads, and B&W prints make for great ice-breakers. More of Dave's work can also be seen on his Flickr.
Last, but certainly not least, was a good friend of Scott's, and new personal hero of mine, Anthony Zart. In a matter of hours, he took my CV, a few sample images, and Scott's ideas for my latest show, and created this! He's an incredibly talented graphic designer, and quite the photography enthusiast as well. These Cleveland creatives are all really cool, and I look forward to meeting even more of them at the opening of "Dapper" on April 14th, as well as later this summer during Analog's Pulse.
Hmm, it didn't really strike me until now, but these first four images on Polaroid 779 are all of creatives. A new series perhaps? ;)
Anyways, there's almost nothing bad I've got to say about this expired Polaroid film. My only one comment to those out there shooting only discontinued and expired film stocks is to get out there and shoot the new stuff as well! Sure, the prices and selection aren't what they used to be, but the current lineups of color negative and B&W films are some of the best there have ever been. And considering Impossible and Fuji's instant film track records, those films are only getting better as time goes on. Stocking up a little at a time is one thing, but don't be a hoarder, be a supporter of film photography.
As always, happy shooting and long live film!