When I was a kid, my dad worked as essentially a large scale repo man. He had one of those awesome Polaroid cameras for documenting the stuff to be repossessed. We, the kids, were not supposed to grab it and take pictures. With that said, Mr. B (for your privacy) if you are reading this, I apologize, I know that film cost money, but we couldn’t help it. I admit it. I also do not think we opened any new packs, if it helps, but thank you for making sure we could find your Polaroid. I’m sure you noticed a lot more than you let on.
My first camera was an analog camera, a great 110 that was Ninja Turtles themed! In fact, film was how I found out there was no Santa Clause. I was clicking away as we cleaned out a home for my disabled great aunt, with some film I had gotten for Christmas. My mom told me to stop, I said it was my film, she said she bought that film. Poof, delusion nailed out. In all honesty, I kind of figured, but I had a kid sister to act for, and it was still fun.
Seventeen years of Digital cameras later (minus me taking 35MM film on my trip to Germany) and the analog/instant photo is making a come back!
How many of you know someone with an instant camera? I bet most of you (self depracating joke would be to say both of you) know at least one person who has an instant camera, and it is probably some kind of Fuji Instax. This is my little red beast!
I have had it for a couple of years now, and it is showing its time in service. It has been dropped by me, and dropped and thrown by a toddler several times. It may be running out of time, and there are more advanced models out there, but for the price (between 60-70$) you cant beat this thing. Point, Click, Bam! Classic instant photos with that good old vintage look.
In fact, that is what I bought mine. I bought it for the point and click, capture a memory, not many second chances (and at around 1$ a shot retail be careful with the second chances) stick it in a journal and move on. Wow… today is that day where everything comes full circle. That was part of how I started this blog, I was putting our families journal online. My plans have changed some, I was learning as I went, but that was the idea take photos of our family and glue them in. Here’s a look back at the Savage past, the infant stages.
We have evolved since then. I do still stick the pictures into my journal, and wouldn’t ya know it, Midori and The Travelers Notebook have accessories for doing just that. I also have a few extras because I just enjoy them.
I have also gotten another camera, which is far less point and click, The Lomo Instant. Based off of a camera from the former Soviet Union, Lomography has made taking vintage and ruddy photos into an art form.
This one does have some lenses, and yes there is the ever nifty double exposure mode, but what it really has is a company with soul! Lomography Is a bit hipster up front, but you are going to get some of that when you bring back photos that cost money the moment you hear the click. They have a shop, you can join and share your photos with the comunity, which I will do when their platform gets a little more user friendly. Even better, they have the Ten Golden Rules. I have been trying to abide by the one that says take your camera everywhere, but that is harder than it seems when it is bulkier than a cell phone. However, we know what my rules are, and one of them is to have a bag. Now I have one to carry everywhere, and the camera too! Do not let those rules get you bogged down, use them for inspiration really. They will help you figure out how you want to embrace this resurrected tech.
I went through some experimanetal phases. I read about a man who took a Polaroid a day (yes it was most likely the actual Polaroid stuff, not just people using the term today) and they are all an album online. It was a really moving series, which I want to recreate myself. I started trying it out, and the result was the life in instant photo series posts you see on here. They did not work, but my desire to complete a Jamie Livingston type experiment lives on! I have a pretty good stock pile, I just have to figure out how to put them up. I will get back to formatting later. Anyhow, a word on the Lomo Instant. That thing is in no way user friendly. If you buy it, it will come with some little printed photo cards with printed suggestions, use them. If you do not you will end up with a lot of blacked out or whited out photos. You can learn all the ins and outs of this camera, but those cards help you not to waste film.
I took my camera to a Red Sox vs. Rangers game and when people realized what I was doing, they started offering to pay for a photo of them and their family that they could hold. They are great for more than just your journal, you can give them away, you can hand them out, you can start a conversation about something tangible in your hand that is imperfect. I went through my computer the about a month back. My hard drive was getting full. when my first son was born I bought a decent digital camera, DSLR, and went banana sand which taking photos for the next four years. I ended up deleting 30,000 photos. That number is not exaggerated, it is in fact rounded down. Let that sink in, 30,000 photos deleted. There are around 17,000 more. That is a decades worth of photos total, but man what was I ever going to do with all of them? They were not even separate photos, I would point the camera at my kid and hold the shutter down. It was like a stop motion film, but less fun. If nothing else, the cost of analog photography slows you down a little.
Don’t get me wrong, I have so many memories of my family preserved that did not eat up money or physical space, but at the same time, I almost stopped enjoying taking them. You have seen me say, do not let recording life stop you from living it.
I do not know about you, but there is something great about a simple photo, with little to no jargon involved, that looks like it came from the 80s, not taken on a smart phone, on real film. The ironic part is that you will still want to show it off, and that will require some very digital stuff. A scanner, or a smart phone with a scanner app. That is how I do it.
If you go down this self developing road, start with the Fuji Instax. I still have days where I want to throw the Lomo. Here are my tips:
- Order your film on Amazon, it comes out a little cheaper if you buy it in the three pack bundle.
- Never buy the Polaroid film (in mini 8) it is the same as the Fuji, and costs 16$ for ten shots, where as Fuji is 20$ (retail) for twenty shots.
- Get something to stick your photos in, they dislike pockets, a little tin or something will work.
- If you use the travelers notebook, embrace the analog photos
- Don’t wait, life isn’t getting longer.
This is my stash of film for while we are in New York, and there are already two packs in my kit bag! This is the wonder of Amazon, it makes the cost hurt sooo much less.
What is your favorite analog photo?