Whether you think it’s hipster or not–let’s be frank, instant film cameras are cool. Who cares if they’re hipster? There are ways that you can make them seem much less so. But even if you have that stigma, the cameras are still capable of producing beautiful work that editors, models, and people in general love. Heck, an entire app was created to emulate the looks of these cameras!
Picking the right one though isn’t so simple. There are many options available both old and new–and you really just need to get the right one for you. That’s much easier said than done though.
Here’s our Guide to Instant Film Cameras and picking the right one for you.
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Over the next few months the Impossible Project will be going though some big changes. Firstly, the company will move its headquarters and retail space to a new location in Brooklyn since opening shop in on Broadway and Canal in Manhattan four years ago. But more importantly Impossible is also laying off half of its US-based staff as a major downscale of its national customer service, warehousing, fulfillment, camera refurbishment, and repair services.
The effects of this restructuring won’t be limited to the United States, Impossible is also closing its offices in Japan and China. Impossible CEO Creed O’Hanlon claims the company has to shift resources to its film research and development programs as well as the design and development of a new camera it will launch in 2015.
“Impossible is becoming much leaner, but more efficient,” O’Hanlon wrote in a release. “We are returning to the basics of a smaller, more communal and manageable scale of a start-up.”
Moving forward Impossible plans to focus on film development and production at its plants in Monheim, Germany and Enschede, Netherlands. Impossible also recently hired on Stephen Herchen, former Chief Technology Officer for Polaroid. With Herchen as Impossible Project’s new Chief Operating Officer the company hopes it be able to develop film that surpasses the beauty, stability, and instantaneity of Polaroid.
All images by Jeremy Scurto. Used with permission.
Most photographers know that shooting Polaroids and instant film is very slow and exacting process when you’re using true medium format cameras and not the ones actually made by Polaroid themselves. But somehow or another photographer Jeremy Scurto was able to figure out a way to capture an entire skateboard sequence on Polaroid film. And the way that he did it is incredibly clever. Jeremy started taking Polaroid photography seriously at the start of this year. “I had always messed around with digital and 35mm but this form really stuck with me.” says Jeremy. “I use a range of different Polaroids now from the RZ to the 600SE and even a few land cameras I have as daily point-and-shoots.”
To get the image above and the ones you’ll see after the jump, Jeremy loaded three Mamiya RZ67s and 50mm f4.6 lenses with Fujifilm FP-3000B and used three different shutter releases. By placing them all in the exact right location and firing the shutters off in the correct sequence, he was able to capture these scenes in unison. “The way we got the three RZ’s to fire off in sequence was to have them all set up with shutter release cables. I held the cables in my left hand with the mirrors locked up ready to fire. I then rolled my right palm over them, bang bang bang, that’s all she wrote.”
In our eyes, it’s pretty clever and incredibly beautiful. The other images are after the jump.
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All images by Justin Aversano. Used with permission.
Photographer Justin Aversano is Brooklyn based photographer that has worked on and completed what could be one of the most daunting 365 projects ever. For one year, he searched for people with a birthday on that date, conversed with them and asked them for their photograph. If that isn’t tough enough, he did the entire project with Polaroid film–which presents its own technical issues to begin with.
“Initially what inspired this project was that I was experimenting with Polaroids a week before I started the project. I was sitting with a group of friends late at night exploring our consciousness and we heard a knock on the door. It was a friend from school Brian and a few of his friends from New Jersey; he thought we were throwing a party that night, but we were not, though I invited him in regardless.” says Justin on the start of how all this happened.
“I was sitting in a chair awaiting our visitors to my surprise that it was one of Brian’s friends birthday; after saying happy birthday and greeted our guests I then looked down and saw the Polaroid camera.” For Mr. Aversano, this is the moment where it all came together.
To start, Justin did what every other photographer does: begins with family and friends. But it eventually became more challenging and he realized that in order to do the project, he would need to venture out further into the community. So to do this he travelled to other states outside of New York and found parties. He even went to the West Coast.
“To overcome initial nervousness is through self discipline, though there were a lot of doubts if one may or may not find someone whose birthday it is that day is quite a nervous thought, but when one embarks on an art project with their deepest passion and willpower then all is able.”
Justin attributes making great use of Facebook to find folks who had a birthday. But of course, that didn’t always work out–so he walked around the streets everyday with a sign that said, “Is it your birthday today?” until he found the right people.
Some of Justin’s work is after the jump.
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The Polaroid Spectra (also known as the Image in some markets), introduced in 1986, is somewhat of an oddball among the other popular Polaroid cameras, in that it used a unique rectangular film format instead of the more common square format of the 600- and SX-series cameras. Apart from its different form factor, the Spectra film was almost identical to the 600 film, though, including its ISO rating and development method.
Of course, as with all things Polaroid, the era of the Spectra eventually came to end, leaving many a camera out of use for the lack of film supplies. That changed when The Impossible Project began its mission of reviving Polaroid instant photography and started manufacturing and selling instant film for numerous Polaroid systems again. While both a color emulsion and a black-and-white film for Spectra cameras were in Impossible’s portfolio, the latter was withdrawn about a year ago.
In the meantime, the film has been completely re-worked, and it’s now back again as a pre-release for pre-order. According to the Impossible website, the new Spectra black-and-white film is “better than any of its predecessors, with improved tonal range and contrast and a fast development time.” Currently available only in an unbranded, plain-white box, an 8-exposure pack can be ordered online for US-$ 16.50, with a twin-pack coming it at $30.
For those who have been eagerly waiting for the return of black-and-white Spectra film, this should be great news. To everyone else who once owned such a camera or might still have one collecting dust in the attic, why not order a pack of film and see if the old lady is still working? Not only will your purchase help the Impossible Project continue their work, it can also be great fun to turn back in time and do photography “the old way” again for a change.