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Thursday, 14 February 2008


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Me too, in a small manner. In the mid '60's, I was the photographer for the high school newspaper. They furnished me with a large and cumbersome Polaroid to use so as to get instant feedback on the image. For my personal camera, at that time, I had an Instamatic which had replaced my original "toy" camera. BTW, the Instamatic was a huge comedown from my plastic toy camera which shot 120 film and was sharp as a tack!

My father was a painter and commercial artist. When I was a boy my Dad would have me pose for him in his studio at home. One of his clients was an underwear manufacturer so I would have to put on various styles and stand still while he drew pictures of me in different poses. I blessed the day he came home with a Polaroid camera. Suddenly great chunks of time wasted, for me at any rate, were reduced to mere minutes.

I (stupidly) put that old camera into a garage sale years ago.

Losing Polaroid film is a bummer. I shoot 4x5 and like to expose sheets of 54 and 55 before moving on to two sheets of TXP320. That gets me a print I can scan, a choice of negatives and my exposures are on the mark.

My only comment about any Polaroid film is "It was a blessing and a curse at the same time." May it rest in peace.
It's 2008; digital is here to stay; let's move on. Shooting thousands of Polaroids from 1960 to 2002, I never pulled two that ever looked the same. The one great product they made was the fixer swab, really put a great shine on those army boots and you prayed it didn't rain or they would turn a milky cream color.

I was a photographer in the army, 66-68, and digging through the equipment closet one day I found a Polaroid back for the 4x5 Speed Graphic that was my workhorse and boxes and boxes of 4x5 B&W Polaroid film. I remember that setup fondly; it was a lot of fun. Back then, though, I was not even close to technically literate in photography, having just taught myself how to take pictures, process and print them for the powers that were. I was tickled just to get hard copy out the door. The Polaroid back let me play with images and not worry about process. I felt some small twinges of guilt at burning so much film just enjoying the Polaroid experience, but filed it away under "gummint work".

For about 15 years I shot 809 by the case for my commercial work. Working with the inverted image under the dark cloth, checking critical focus with a loupe and hot light, calculating exposure and contrast range, and then handing the client a beautiful 8x10 proof. What a fabulous process. In many ways those proofs are as good or better than anything I've ever gotten from an Epson.

It was a great way to make dirty pictures before I had a darkroom.

A friend of mine took a SX-70 every day for 18 years until the day he died. I helped put together a show
"JAMIE LIVINGSTON. PHOTO OF THE DAY: 1979-1997, 6,697 Polaroids, dated in sequence" that when printed came out to be about 7 x 120 feet. You'd be amazed how hard it is to rephotograph and organize that many Polaroids. There is some information and pictures here
and a web site that I am working on where you can see all of them here

Hugh, WOW, dude,

That is some rich stuff and it begs to be a book.

I couldn't stop looking through those pics, SO much going on there, it's way the hell beyond a being just a document..stunning. Even without the story those images are compelling. absolute diamonds, as singular images, all over that piece.

There is no way that this collection of images could have been shot on anything but sx-70. Something about the sx-70, those little prints are like time cells with real people inside. That or candy.

Thanks for posting that.

I am definitely happy with digital and I'm looking forward to where it will lead. I never really got into using Polaroid, but I am mourning the loss. I think that just about anything that reduces the diversity in photography is a "bad" thing.

While I do think there is something important to what Ctein said about "not wasting photographs," I think that is more important early on in the learning process. Once you get to a certain point I think it becomes really important to start shooting almost everything that you can. I know that once I got to that point I was more discriminating because of the time it took to set up my camera on the tripod (which I always did because of slow film speed and small apertures) and I just didn't want to waste too much time. But once I went digital and also started using an image stabilizer lens I found myself shooting things (handheld) that I wouldn't have spent the time on before, and that has been a very good thing. I have gotten some really nice images that I wouldn't even have attempted before.

I am mourning the loss of photographic diversity.

Polaroid as well changed the way I shoot immensely. Gosh, how I will mourn the lost of Polaroids.

I use to shoot conceptual portraits which was a problem, because I was stuck on people.

Shooting with polaroids somehow made me appreciate other things more, more so the importance of light.

What pains me the most is that they decided to cut large format first before I could even try it yet.

Jamie's photos are simply amazing, so moving, so tender, so passionate about life. Just saw almost everyone, and I agree it asks for a book. Congratulations for doing the effort of putting together the site.

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