I seriously miss Polaroid film. The instant film specifically. It was such a wonderful invention and it still saddens me that they stopped producing this amazing film. I am pretty sure that digital photography is the reason why they just could not make any money off of the film anymore.
The main thing we used Polaroid for was to test the lighting before loading the real film in the camera. But sometimes the test shot would wind up being so much cooler than what the rest of the images would be. The reason some of these shots were better is because nobody expected them to be good ones. They were not meant to be a part of the editorial or for the magazine so models would pose in a silly way or more provocatively and the photographer would also shoot a little differently.
There are some great Polaroid images from Helmut Newton’s work. It is like being able to see into his mind of what he wanted to create with film. It is that little sneak peek and instant gratification in an age where we would have to wait hours or even days to see our film developed.
Polaroid also brought dirty pictures into our homes. Okay, maybe not intentionally, but they played a huge part in this. Back in the 50’s and (if I am correct) even into the 70’s some states did not allow nudity in photographs and it was required by law for labs to report people who brought in film to be developed which had any nudity, especially female genitalia! That was a big no-no back in the day.
But with the invention of Polaroid film people could now take dirty pictures at home and no get busted by the labs! You could go to the store and buy your film, take your photos at home and enjoy them instantly. Polaroid introduced a whole new form of foreplay!
Of course photographers were using Polaroid film too. Right before they stopped production of the film there was a huge insurgence of photographers who were shooting instant film. I was one of them. Even though I had been using Polaroid for years I suddenly wanted to start using it for entire shoots. This is where my “Polaroid Smut” project started.
I had found a place online which still had a huge supply of expired film so I started buying it 20 packs at a time. I wanted to shoot images which told a story, and kind of had a striptease feel to them. This was my way of shooting “dirty” pictures in a way I imagined people did back when it was still illegal. Plus I love the way expired film looks! Now you just get on the internet and hire a nude model, it is so much easier today.
I have shot so many themes with Polaroid and continue to do so with Fuji Instax film. At first I was hesitant to use the Fuji film, but it has grown on me. I will most likely be putting more instant film images up for sale soon. I have sold several sets already, I just find it hard to let some of them go. They are one of a kind prints, and even though I have digital copies, I love displaying them in my home office. I will figure it out soon, I’m sure I have some I would be willing to sell for the right price. 😉
The photos in today’s post are of Alex. All images from this shoot (more than just Polaroid images) have been added to The Archives.