From VSCO’s film emulation software to Instagram’s filter, there is a case to be made for the value of yesterday’s photography. There’s a certain appeal in the aesthetic that film photography affords in its various incarnations. One of the most popular incarnations was instant photography and the major player was Polaroid, a favorite of Andy Warhol and Giovanni Savino, the photographer featured above. Savino, an Italian photographer based in NYC, is holding a Polaroid BIG SHOT, a medium format behemoth with three aperture options and a plastic 220mm lens. In order to get a properly exposed image, you’d need a Magicube, but unfortunately for Savino, those flashes are increasingly more difficult and more expensive to acquire. With that in mind, he took it upon himself to hack it so that it will work with contemporary flashes.
The three aperture settings for the BIG SHOT are: left, right, and center. Left is darker at around f55, right is lighter at around f24, and center is balanced at around f36.7. The shutter speed range is between 1/52 sec and 1/43 sec. Light is necessary to get anything properly exposed, and that came in the form of a Magicube which is the only flash that will work with a BIG SHOT.
The Magicube is mechanically triggered by metal rod that pops up when you press the shutter. Savino’s research showed him the “National PW110 Adapter” turns the mechanical trigger into a PC flash sync pulse. It is also both rare and expensive. Rather than shell out more cash, than necessary, he decided to hack it the old fashioned way. Savino affixed the smallest flash trigger transmitter with velcro to the camera, stripped the wires, and used tape to hold down the exposed ends above the metal rod.
Savino’s ingenuity worked, and he was able to use a Nikon SB600 with the BIG SHOT. He notes that the exposure still needs some work, but at least he’s headed in the right direction.