Here at Film Never Die, we are so smitten with our Polaroids that it is easy for us to forget that the vast majority of photographers are unfamiliar with this medium. While digital photography remains the dominant technology of this day, we believe that the magic of Polaroid can never be completely replaced.
So without further ado, here is a list of the top five reasons why you as a photographer need to start shooting in Polaroid!
1. Composition. Shooting in Polaroid is relatively expensive in comparison to digital photography, and it takes more time for the image to develop. But this is not necessarily bad thing. Using a Polaroid camera encourages the photographer to carefully consider the composition of their shot, before pulling the trigger. This means that you can get a higher consistency of quality images, with fewer mistakes.
In this DSLR age, we are so used to shooting multiple frames, selecting the better ones and then discarding the rest. We often forget or don’t bother with proper composition practice in our urgency to capture the moment. We allow photographs to happen through trial and error, until we eventually achieve the perfect shot.
Using a Polaroid camera inspires the photographer to go back to basics, and to take the time to carefully consider proper compositional practice, to follow aesthetic principles such as the Rule of Thirds, and to accurately assess our use of light and exposure settings. To make this medium worthwhile the user needs to consider carefully how to frame their subject, and what to focus on in the composition, in order to achieve harmony and balance. This need slows down the rapid-fire impulsivity bred through digital photography, and effectively fine-tunes the skills of the photographer. Using a Polaroid will definitely improve your photography, and your ability to capture images under pressure.
The Impossible Film Project has breathed new life into thousands of previously obsolete Polaroid cameras. The high quality of their range, as well as its environmental sustainability compared to the original Polaroid format, means that it is a dependable and reliable brand.
However, one aspect of Polaroid’s appeal that remains is its unpredictability.
Using techniques that wilfully disobey, manipulate or counter intuit the operating instructions of the camera can lead to some surprising and unexpected results. These techniques are limited only by the imagination and experimental ingenuity of the photographer. However some tried-and-true techniques include allowing the sun to shine on a developing photograph, grabbing the face of a print as it ejects, or manipulating the exposure settings. Even manufacturing incongruities, such as that the viewfinder image does not adjust with the focal settings, can lead to completely unusual, and equally remarkable images. This ability to play with and manipulate images carries a sense of childlike joy that is unparalleled through digital mediums.
These elements lend themselves to the unmistakable character of the Polaroid photo.
3. Framed Images. The Polaroid’s self-framing prints are both a trademark of the brand and a charming aesthetic element all on their own. The ability to creatively caption these images, and the range of frames available offer an undeniable appeal.
4. Softer image. DSLRs, with their massive sensors, allow for an amazing clarity of vision and detail. However, the resulting images are often overly brutal, and unflattering. This can be particularly problematic in portrait photographs. I cannot tell you how many times friends of mine have asked to have photos removed from Facebook due to this very problem.
The Polaroid’s charming soft focus look occurs because the Polaroid mechanism is essentially a compromise between light and film speed. This softer aesthetic is what makes the Polaroid image so appealing. It gives us a nostalgic recollection of a time when everything wasn’t under such harsh scrutiny. We could capture an image, and accept it for what is was, and were able to apply our own imagination to fill in the gaps, without the need for cold, uncanny likeness.
5. Keeping the past alive. Most people don’t realize that you can still get film for old cameras, and that film is still a viable option in the modern day. When you use a Polaroid, and buy Instant Film you are supporting a movement that respects and aims to perpetuate analogue and vintage traditions in photography, so they can be continued to be experienced by future generations. Supporting analogue techniques and culture is a direct counter-measure to the increasing wastefulness engendered through our throw-away society, where technology is built only to be replaced and forgotten a year later. Using Polaroid technology and other analogue allows one to work outside the mechanism of over-production and waste, and such usage promotes sustainability and the reusing and recycling of materials. It’s nice to be part of a community with a real sense of purpose.
Here at Film Never Die we are very much concerned with keeping film alive, no matter if we are the last existing supplier. We want to continue to make these mediums available to our customers, and aspire to be a leading knowledge centre for this medium. We are interested in furthering our community, and assisting and encouraging all our customer’s forays into analogue.
You can view our current product list at our online store, <a href=” http://www.filmneverdie.com.au/gallery”>here.</a>. Here at Film Never Die we are dedicated to maintaining the lowest possible prices to ensure that this medium is an accessible and viable option for you.