The most popular question in the on-going "8 exposures" feature on our blog is, "Why do you like instant photography?" Presented below, the answers from 8 of the talented photographers we've profiled recently and one of their favorite Impossible photographs.
"I think the main reason is the fact that every Impossible is one of a kind. There is just that special quality to the pictures that no other medium has. Not 35mm or digital, the pictures just have that "magical" color. And the fact that the pictures are instantly pushed in your hands. The sound of the motor, the picture coming out and the development. The thing with Impossible film is that you can’t predict what the picture will turn out like. With old fashioned Polaroid film, you could see the the picture develop before your eyes.
That's so special about the Impossible films: you put them in your pocket, wait ten minutes (for color) and than there is the excitement if your picture turned out right.
I just love to go shooting in nature, because there is so much too see. I look through my eyes, and see what could fit for the image area of the SX-70 or Spectra. The trees, lakes and flowers, they are just very special to me. I usually also take my tripod to the fields, to take pictures of us all together as a family, which I love to photograph.
Impossible pictures are Impossible to recreate again, so that’s why I’m shooting them. To have my life documented on Impossible pictures for later."
"Can I give a dissertation? In all seriousness, instant photography breathes creativity. For me it provides an avenue for creativity that I would have never been exposed to otherwise. I believe the addictive quality induced from instant photography is best explained by truly understanding the magnitude of what happens the moment you press the shutter. It could be everything or nothing that you imagined. The 35-year-old camera could false shoot and you may end up transferring the pack to another camera, just to harvest the image. There is a delightful quality to the possibility of failure and the subsequent pursuit of a single image that is worth the time to stop, breath, see and hold."
"What I love about instant photography is its completely unpredictable character, the whimsical suprises it creates whenever you click the button. I also love the fact that development takes place before your eyes and you can even influence it once you know the film. As the awesome 101 Impossible Ways Project shows, instant photography leaves infinite room for experimentation and creativity – before, while and after the picture is taken : you can decide to double-expose, use special filters, put your picture in the fridge, in the oven, write, draw, paint, stick stuff on it, create artifacts with it – I actually feel a bit like a craftswoman when I fiddle with my pictures, which is a great source of joy. But what I love above all in instant photography is the instant film itself : its colour, depth, painterly texture, its retro feel – it alters reality in a way that is surreal, dreamy and poetical to me. Somehow, it’s perfect in its many imperfections."
"I love the 'thingness' of instant: how you compose your picture, take it, and within a few minutes you have the physical object in your hand. While I love all kinds of image-making, the immediacy of instant is just magical. I love the fact that the film is its own darkroom, that once the image is there, that’s it – there are no processing decisions to be made.
I also love how it slows me down and makes me think more about which pictures I want to take. If I walk about with my digital SLR I may easily take hundreds of pictures, whereas with my instant shots I’m aware that each picture has more value (in terms of cost, and as an object), so I’m more deliberate. Where with digital I would take a picture for the sake of it, with instant I will more often than not move on and save that frame for later.
And finally, I love the community that has grown up online around the end of Polaroid film and the birth of The Impossible Project. Through Flickr and Twitter there are so many passionate, interesting, generous, talented people, all coming together to share images and ideas. The annual 'Roid Week' festival on Flickr is such a great way to see the work of so many instant film lovers."
"I love the moment just before, the one where I hold my breath, waiting for the film to develop. I love the imperfections and inconsistencies of instant film, which seems relevant to the constant fluctuations and vulnerabilities that occur in life. Experimental films, expired films, a scratched camera lens or vintage, barely working, taped together cameras all invite moments of exploration of space, color, time or the material composition of the film itself."
"Instant Photography is just magical to me. I love that the photo is tangible like a small treasure. The element of surprise is fun, too. You never know exactly what to expect because forces out of your control are at play. All of these aspects create a special experience, and beautiful photographs."
"Because it’s magic. It captures a moment in time like no other medium. And it brings joy to so many people, myself included. Instant film always makes me feel better. If I am down or having a bad day, shooting a few shots seems to turn things around. Magic!
I also love the imperfections of instant film. I tend to be a perfectionist, but instant film forces me to let go and be open to anything that happens. I find that I eventually fall in love with most of my instant shots, even the ones that I initially cast aside as mistakes. I even love the film jams that occasionally happen. The color changes that some of the Impossible films go through are incredible. I am so grateful that The Impossible Project took on the task of reinventing instant film because I don’t know what I would do without it."
"I like the artistic outlet instant photography provides. The nuances of each type of film and camera allows for so many creative options. I know some people would just give up on a film like Push!, but personally, taking the mundane and transforming it to something else is what makes it fun. I like Jack White’s quote regarding his guitars, 'I wanna work and battle it and conquer it and make it express whatever attitude I have at that moment. I want it to be a struggle.'"
One of Andy's favorite films:
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We want to know why YOU like instant photography. Send an email with your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org and you could see your answer published on the Impossible blog!