Along with a few other artefacts harbouring the shelves of my room, is a Polaroid Sun Autofocus 600 camera. Not too far from it sits Diana, a toy-looking camera I came across a year ago, during one of my compulsive shopping sprees at Urban Outfitters, where I want everything but can’t afford most!!! As soon as I saw its beautiful light-hospital-green body color, beige plastic strap, I knew I wanted one. According to the box, it was going to give me the perfect ‘old-style’ pictures, square framed, “soft and dreamy images, super-saturated colors, unpredictable blurring, and random contrast”….so many of my favourite words in the same sentence!!
The prologue of the book, as I’m reading it for the first time says it all: “So there you are. And here we stand-with arms open and hearts in eager anticipation of YOUR divine encounters with the heavenly Diana & Diana+”.
I was in love!
So, I bought the expensive 120 mm films, and started shooting the 12 or 16 shots per film. I rushed to Lozeau to get my films developed and came back a few days later to find a set of low-contrasted or completely blurry images, not to mention the pictures that came out blank because I didn’t roll the film properly, and exposed the whole roll to light. I was a little disappointed but was still convinced that I, one day, will reach the full potential of this used-to-be 1 dollar camera (sold for 80$ at Urban’s). Here are the best results I got so far:
|Accidental head chopping!||Tighter than what I framed in viewfinder|
|Notice the double exposure|
A couple of months later, I fall on this sidewalk sale, one of the many happening in the Mile-end on sunny Saturdays, and stumble upon an old Polaroid camera. I asked how much, hiding my excitement in hope to get it for cheap, and the woman says 5 bucks! SOLD!!! Only to find out the week after, no one makes Polaroid paper anymore! I’d have to find them on internet, e-bay more specifically, if only I knew how to use e-bay!!!
So, here I am a couple of other months later, with both cameras on my shelf, with the same deep hunger for shooting Polaroid pictures…
Today, I came across Poladroid, the greatest, or not-so-greatest discovery of all. An application that fakes the Polaroid effect!!! Will I become a fake photographer? I was anti-Photoshop only a few months ago, claiming it wasn’t “real” photography anymore, and granted all the merit to film photographers, like Sally Mann, my ultimate hero. But today, I might change my mind. Just for a little.
These are some digital shots I took lately, and virtually scanned through Poladroid, which, by the way, imitates the slow development of the picture in front of yours eyes….MAGICAL!
And my favorite!
Enthusiastic to share my discovery with my mom today, I show her the few pictures I processed through Poladroid. Unexpectedly, she stays quite silent which I understand to be an honest reaction of dislike. I insist with “cool no?”….and she replies “beh, quand tu vois la qualité des photos qu’ils font maintenant” which translates into “well, when you see the quality of the pictures they do these days!”
Interesting to find out what seems like an improvement for me, is really a regression for others of a different generation. I strive to imitate the old fashion, vintage feel of Polaroids, because I find them more “real”, when really I could or should be appreciating the crisp, glossy product of digital cameras today. Huh.
A few related links
- Pootzy is an Israeli photographer, the sister of a good friend whose work I admire. She masters the use of the Holga, considered the successor of the Diana.
And also uses the Yashica 6×6 to produce beautiful portraits
- David Burnett: One of the artists who won numerous awards using the Holga to capture a different kind of shot
A quote of the author: “Equipment geeks please take note: This is an exquisite refutation of the idea that your photography will improve if only you spent another couple of thousand on the latest hyper-automated camera.”