There’s no denying the effect Polaroid has had on the aesthetic and experience of today’s mobile phone photography (after all, it’s the Polaroid One Step which forms the basis of the Instagram logo). Today’s Camera Thursday post focuses on a classic instant shooter, the Polaroid Land Camera. The design spans two eras in photography. The bellows, which allow the photographer to focus the shot, had been a mainstay in classic camera design for decades (and would soon disappear from the consumer market). But the peel apart film, that was all about a more instant future.
Camera: Polaroid Land Camera 215
Employee: Mark (follow @shrader on Instagram)
Job: Customer Support
“I picked this up at a yard sale for $5! It wasn’t working at the time so it sat in my room for a few months. I love the shape of the camera, especially the accordion bellows, so I didn’t mind that it just sat on my bookshelf as decoration. I finally got around to fixing it (it only needed a new battery) and got some film and it’s been really fun to shoot with. The whole process is so much more involved than shooting digital. You have to take the front case off, expand the bellows, cock the film, focus the lens, take the shot, pull the film, wait minutes for it to develop, peel back the sheet covering the photo, and then – this is the hardest part – when you’re shooting outside, and want to keep shooting, you have to wait minutes for the photo to dry. It’s immensely satisfying, seeing your creation appear on paper, and creating this tangible artifact, but it can also be very frustrating. More often than not the shot turns out differently from what I saw in my mind, or the ink gets smeared while developing it, or after, when it’s stored in my pocket, it’ll get lint on it. But, I think that is all part of the process. There’s an element of wabi-sabi; seeing the blemishes as part of the photo’s beauty. Anyway, at $1.50 a shot, that seems to be a necessary philosophy to adopt.”
Here are photos from Mark’s Polaroid Land Camera 215: