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Watch a Polaroid Camera Modified for 4×5 Shoot Instant Film

by Chris Gampat on 05/20/2014

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 7.45.15 AM

All images by Alastair Bird. Used with permission.

While old school instant film cameras are pretty readily available, finding one that works flawlessly is like getting your hands on a unicorn sometimes. Photographer Alastair Bird got his hands on a modified Polaroid camera. It was modified to shoot 4×5 film. Due to the fact that that film can still be acquired (though it’s largely discontinued) in the form of Fujifilm Instant emulsions, Bird decided to shoot the film in a studio with strobes, a light meter and the like.

“Using the camera was quite a challenge–if you notice at one point I’m shooting and the dark slide is in – whoops.” says Bird. “Those shots didn’t turn out too well. But what I find is that when I really challenge myself with my equipment, it’s always amazing what I get and it is worth the effort.” Bird continued to say that it’s totally possible that he could have achieved the same results with the digital cameras, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun. “Using the camera requires your FULL concentration. Darkslide, lens cocked, aperture and shutter speed set; focus; direct talent; click.. Hope it’s in focus or properly(ish) exposed. Then do it again.”
Alastair likes shooting with instant film. He got the pack that he was working with as a gift from a friend. The pack was a bit expired, hence the magenta tones.
“I was shooting for the thrill of peeling the film back and seeing what is there. I love peeling a little corner of the film and seeing if there is anything there and then going for the full reveal. It’s like opening a present, but you only have to wait 90 seconds rather than for Christmas or your birthday.”
The video and some of Alastair’s photos are after the jump.

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