Can you please tell us something about you in 6 words?
Hi! Sure… I’m tiny, dual heritage and passionate!
When did you start shooting on Polaroid? What triggered you to go into instant photography?
I’ve been into film photography for years and have a huge collection of film cameras. I often take a peek in charity/second hand shops to see if they have any interesting cameras in stock and some time in 2015, I found a Polaroid P Cam. I wasn’t even sure I could still get film for it, but bought it anyway, then discovered the Impossible Project and their film for polaroid cameras. I bought some and first used the camera on a trip to the Yorkshire coast. I was instantly hooked! I later upgraded to an SX-70 and completely fell in love with it. I haven’t looked back and my life now revolves around funding my next film pack, ha ha!
I found a Polaroid P Cam. I wasn’t even sure I could still get film for it, but bought it anyway.
How do you get these lovely images with flowers on the instant film? They look like they’re actual paintings, or even as if they are preserved in resin?
Whilst I adore my SX-70, I wanted to be able to experiment more with instant film, so I borrowed an Instant Lab from my friend Claire, aka Wozzdog, to play around with.
I realised that instead of using a phone to expose a digital image as it’s designed for, I could use the lab as an analogue camera by laying a piece of glass over the exposure area and placing my subject on the glass and exposing it to light.
I use a speedlight flash to expose the image, sometimes with colour gels to tint the light. It’s trial and error, as the required exposure varies depending on the subject and various other factors. But I love the results… I think it’s because the light is passing through the subject, not just reflecting off it… you just get all these details that you don’t normally capture. I ended up buying an instant lab for myself so I could keep experimenting! I love that with it I can create images that are just not possible with my SX-70.
What interests you most to put into an instant photograph? Do you choose your subjects carefully or just go with the flow?
My favourite subjects… it changes periodically. At the minute, I love capturing flowers and leaves with my instant lab. I especially like it when they’ve started wilting and dying; they seem more beautiful somehow; so fragile and delicate. The images I create with them mean that they live on after they’ve fully decayed, preserved in a different form. I also like photographing my hubby, my cats and my travels. I photograph whatever catches my eye really, but I always take my time to compose and think about what I’m doing. It’s one of the things I enjoy about film photography – slowing down and being in the moment.
Do you think that instant photography will survive over the next decade? Do you think that people will still be interested in shooting with a polaroid camera?
Yes! I think we live in an interesting time… the digital age has revolutionised the way we consume media, music, art and literature. But I think this has led to us missing the tactile feel of real things… this is why people are returning to things such as vinyl records, at least to compliment their use of digital products. Digital photography is great, but there is nothing like the magic of seeing an instant photo appear right before your eyes. Then you have a real, ready framed, one of a kind image. There are people getting into instant photography who have never known anything other than digital too, because it’s a novelty to them and it’s fun and different. It’s a tangible version of the phone application that they love. There have been loads of new instant film cameras released recently too, so it looks like the demand is growing, rather than waning. The only prohibitive thing is the cost of film.
If you had the last pack of Polaroid film and the last Polaroid camera in the world, how would you use it? Where? And what would you photograph?
I’m a big zombie nerd… I watch a lot of zombie films and often think about what would be in my survival kit and what I’d want to be wearing when the apocalypse hits (jeans, calf-high Doc Marten boots and my leather biker jacket, in case you’re wondering)! So if I have the last camera and pack of film in the world, I’m assuming it’s in an apocalypse situation. So clearly, I’d be photographing the demise of humanity! The abandoned buildings and the traces of the lives lived there previously, the survivors and our new lives and of course the zombies! What better way to document the end of the world than on Polaroid?
I watch a lot of zombie films and often think about what would be in my survival kit and what I’d want to be wearing when the apocalypse hits.