“A story can happen in a split second, or over the course of time. This collection of images is a col-lection of short stories. Each image contains it’s own sense of narrative rather then telling a story through the entire collection itself. They all contain a deeper meaning to myself, and are some-what cathartic, but I love it when the viewer makes their own conclusions. I am powerfully influ-enced by storytelling, through all mediums, and drawn to expressing stories of melancholy, nos-talgia, memories and deep connections both to the earth and each other as human beings. Using instant film is perfect to capture these little stories, as the flawed and unpredictable nature of the film enhances a sense of nostalgia and ‘other worldliness’.”
INSTANTION is a section dedicated to instant analog photography. The name of this section combines the words instant and station, or as we call it, a place for instant photography. Instant photography refers to any photographic process that allows photo development without the darkroom. Instant photography was developed in the 1930s by Edwin Land, founder of the Polaroid Corporation. Because of its popularity, most of the photographers in this section use Polaroid film, but artists using Impossible or Fuji instant film are certainly welcome.
“Instant photography” (or “Polaroid photography”, a term often used as a synonym, after the company that commercially manufactured the instant photography materials and cameras) refers to photographic process invented by Edwin H. Land (1909-1991), which was able to “… produce a finished positive print, directly from camera, immediately after exposure.” In 1947, Edwin Land demonstrated his one-step instant camera and film at a meeting of the Optical Society of America. Less than two years later, in November 1948, the Polaroid Camera Model 95 and Type 40 Land film were on sale in USA, as the first commercially produced instant photography system. The real innovation of Land’s system was that it represented the first entirely contained self-processing system. As the exposed Land film was pulled from the camera, it was pressed between a pair of steel rollers. The rollers ruptured a ‘‘reagent pod’’ of developing chemicals and spread them between the negative and positive layers. This initiated a diffusion transfer process (developing both negative and positive images simultaneously) and stabilized the image. In less than one minute the negative layer could be peeled away and discarded leaving a richly detailed finished positive print.The first Polaroid instant film materials were black and white, and during the 1950s, the Polaroid company developed faster versions of black-and-white films, positive-negative and high-contrast films for professional use, and transparencies. In 1963, however, they introduced Polacolor instant color films, and in 1972 came another breakthrough: a true “absolute one-step photography” with the Polaroid SX-70 camera and its integral instant film in the 3¼” × 4¼” format, which is nowadays almost a synonym for instant photography, particularly in its creative and artistic applications. The Polaroid SX-70 camera was a technological breakthrough in its own right: it remains a unique design to this day, and a later model (SX-70 Sonar OneStep, 1978) was also the first autofocus SLR camera, using the Polaroid Sonar AF system. Polaroid instant film was manufactured by Kodak from 1963 to 1969, when Polaroid started making its own film. After the success of Polaroid’s SX-70 camera and its integral film, Kodak launched its own version in 1976, but was sued by Polaroid for patent infringement, and had to stop its instant film production in 1986. Another instant film manufacturer is Fujifilm: unlike Polaroid and Kodak, at the time of this writing (2011), it still makes instant film materials in the form of pack film in various formats and integral films (Instax series and ACE series materials). After the closing of the Polaroid film factories in 2008, Florian Kaps, an Austrian entrepreneur and Polaroid enthusiast, and André Bosman, until then the engineering manager of the Polaroid plant in Enschede, The Netherlands, decided to find a way to bring back the Polaroid photography. They started the Impossible Project with the goal of continuing the production of instant film. In 2010 the Impossible Project introduced its first new instant films: first black and white, and then a new color materal. Nowadays the only available instant film material comes from Fujifilm, and, to a much lesser degree, from Impossible Project. However, a group called New55project annunced in 2010 that it will try to produce a high quality instant material in 4×5 and 8×10 sizes, similar to Polaroid’s long discontinued Type 55 P/N film.
 Land, Edwin H. “A New One-step Photographic Process”, Journal of the Optical Society of America, 37, no. 2 (1947).
 Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Photography, Lynne Warren Ed., New York, Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group, (2006).
“To be clear, this body of work is in no way an attempt to explain any aspect of Buddhism. There would be so much more to say and too many things left out. Today’s Buddhist practices have evolved in many different schools of thought, and if my pictures would spark a doctrinal discussion about Buddhist beliefs, I would welcome that, but my initial intentions have been far less serious than that. This is the telling of a personal story about the surprise and culture shock I went through finding myself thrown into a completely unexpected, surreal world that recreates a fantastical journey into the unknown spheres of possible or impossible afterlife.”
“Aus der Nacht tiefdunklem Schatten“ - “Out of the Deep and Dark Shadows of the Night” is a work about sequences of dreams, distant realities, and memories of them. With the visualization of these thoughts, I immerse into a world that seems to be far away from our reality. Each of the original Polaroid prints is only visible for a very short moment before they slowly disappear more and more—similar to our dreams and thoughts. I tried to fix this short moment with all its irregularities, to create a space for my imaginations."
“A final chapter is her Pola-Vision Series, Weitz has been working with the last of her expired Polaroid Time-Zero film, nearly a decade old, to capture images of today that conjure her vanishing past. The film on hand ceased manufacture and expired in 2006. She shoots the Time-Zero with vintage SX-70 cameras—the resulting images often fighting to the surface with failing chemistry, reminding us our present becomes past in the time it takes to press a shutter.”
“La Montagne Noire” is a series of landscape photographs made with instant black and white film. Dark environments and bold frames tend to evoke the surreal world of film; however, the subjects are familiar places next to where we sometimes go in a distracted way, without suspecting what they may conceal."
“Over the course of two weeks in 2014, I explored Iceland through the Ring Road, which connects, from one settlement the next, the entirety of the Nordic country. I traveled alone with a 4x4, and would often wake up in the morning to surroundings that, due to the immensely diverse microclimates, looked and felt unrecognizable from the day before. ”
“Safe Distance explores the intimate relationship between photographer and sitter. This relationship is as much about the process of making the images as the final photograph. The slow, tenuous practice of creating large format photographs invites the sitter to orchestrate his or her own composition.”
“Facing Destiny is an opening of temporal spaces, material and imagined. There is the material present: the space of the image and the figures represented. And the imagined future: a space not-yet-here that exists somewhere between the gaze of the individuals depicted, the lens, and the viewer. Predictions are produced by the subjects, which in their bodily presentness, are always unfolding and projecting towards a time in the horizon. In this series the figure is not represented as situated in the flow of time, but is the flow of time itself.”
“I began shooting large format in 2002, and this is when I first began to use Polaroid Type-55 film. This film has characteristics that are interesting to me. One of these characteristics being the positive’s delicate and transient nature. I found that if I did not coat the resulting positive with hardening fixer, it would decompose in completely unpredictable ways."
“It was difficult to understand the contradiction between the harsh ideas Americans had of Russia and the whimsical nature of what I was seeing on television. I now satisfy my curiosity by traveling there, and capture these dramatic scenes with the same feeling of wide-eyed wonderment I had felt as a youth, mimicking the visions of my earliest ideas of Russia.”
"Today the action of man is felt everywhere. I choose to take a different look at my surroundings daily. By taking pictures of the trivial, I wish to show that our impact on what’s around us has become commonplace. We no longer pay attention to it. Through construction or destruction, calculated actions or unwitting influences, these pictures are the results of this acknowledgment. The use of a Polaroid camera adds a dimension of instantaneity and proof to the pictures."
This editorial was produced for Swiss KINKI magazine in collaboration with New York-based stylist Travis Steele Sisk. We worked in a hotel room on the Lower East Side Manhattan. My work is always inspired by the absurdity of beauty and the fantastic magic of the human body. I love to create new unsettled but aesthetic creatures acting in the farcical situations of daily life.
“My models, women most of the time, are my loved ones, my mom and friends. I like inventing stories, universes, and characters that inspire me. When the Polaroid is finished, I like stressing its surrealist dimension by working again it with a double-exposure manipulation or by adding some nail polish on top, which gives it a plastic art effect."
“I have always found instant film fascinating, and when Polaroid stopped production of all instant films, I genuinely felt a little scared, thinking that I may never be able to shoot it again! Luckily, there is still the odd pack of Polaroid film floating around out there, and with the new film being produced by the Impossible Project, I can carry on my experimentation with this amazing medium."
"Surely it’s the fact that you have pastel colors, a bit in contrast with the sharpness of the digital photography so fashionable now. This gives instant photos a retro, dreamy look that fascinates me so much. It also helps to create the atmosphere I’m after in my pictures. Magic! Even now, it still amazes me when the picture develops in my hand—simply magic!"
“The most artistic aspect is that Polaroids develop on their own, and I immediately can see the results and how the material surprises me again and again. Especially when I take a few hours’ trip, it would be really unpleasant without this kind of photography. I try to capture the beauty on this special material, and this connection is art. It seems like the expired films take you and your photos to another world. Take a Polaroid picture and you will know what I mean!"
“I shoot exclusively women, first of all, because I think they are more photogenic, they have a better aesthetic knowledge of their body, and also because I like to work with women more because they bring a different vision to the photographic project than my masculine one. I’m not very directorial to my models, so I need to get them to understand the idea of the shoot and to bring their own brick to the wall."
“Lately, I’ve been in this sort of instant film microcosm, where from the inside it feels as though there is this great momentum welling, and that we and it will have this triumphant renaissance. Adam Goldberg”
"As he describes himself on his official website, Adam Goldberg is an American ‘actor, filmmaker, photographer, musician, Lamaze coach, and purveyor of fine meats.’ Few people could hold true to mastering every single item on that list and earn the right to be described as a modern renaissance man, but Adam is certainly one of them. There's not a single thing on his personal skill list one could not admire, but here we take a closer look at his relationship to instant photography, as well as his recent involvement in the Polaroid renaissance. Jennifer Rumbach"
„Basically, I think anything can become fascinating when captured on Polaroid film because Polaroid film takes every subject into another dimension: that of nostalgia, of dreams, of memory – maybe of the unconscious. What you shoot on Polaroid film just doesn’t look ordinary or “real” anymore, and that’s what fascinates me.“
„I’m trying to freeze a world that I feel I belong in myself, a dreamy melancholic feeling, where my mind often ends up. I return a lot to my roots, and many of my pictures are from journeys I took as a child; from the blue of Sweden, to the black and white desert landscapes of Israel. My pictures are, for me, a reflection on the human need for silence and reflection. Far away are the quick impressions and the daily stress of everyday life, leaving only our original values, roots, and tranquility. What is more elementary then the sea, the mountains, and the earth?“
"I’m fascinated with instant films because I believe they are closest to paint in many ways. They are more than a traditional film because they are unique. They also have a “soul,” delivering immediate emotion. It’s also a physical thing—you can smell and touch them. It’s really quite different."
"To my mind one of the greatest advantages of Polaroid photography is the fact that the technique is reduced to the absolute minimum which brings the motive and the topic right in the centre of attention." Jennifer Rumbac
"I also am attracted to the small, “human” size of the images, a stubborn product in today’s world, where everyone wants it bigger and louder. With these Polaroids, I feel like I create a world of intimacy, imploring one to step closer and contemplate the delicate details often missed when viewing from afar." Ildiko Voros
"Alexey Kurbatov is a 24 years old self-taught photographer from Russia. Although a graduate from Technical University, Alexey dedicated himself completely to photography. His first works were for local magazines and sites, events, concerts. At one point he fell in love with analog photography and after an experimenting period and a long search for ‘his’ camera, he sta¬rted using Polaroid, Holga, Leica M6 and Pinhole camera. Alexey is not focused on creating photo series or projects; he perceives each of his photographs as a project on its own which makes it cha¬llenging for him to set up a thematic exhibition."
"The vagiaries of polaroid are never more apparant than images created through the SX-70. When I shot my first SX-70 films in Florence I knew ‘instantly’ that this was the future of my photography, even though the camera failed after only 4 sheets. Shooting Polaroid requires me to think about planning and achieving, but without the assurance that it will actutally happen and that is very exciting. Having taken the shot, I am forced to rely on the ecentric mechanics of a 40-year old camera spitting out an equally ecentric cocktail of paper and chemicals .… it’s a total lottery, and I love it. More and more I find myself shooting the Pola, putting it away immediately, before it has even processed, and not looking at it many hours later, by which time it is far too late to re-shoot. It is all part of placing your trust in something that is totally out of your control, and adds the the sense of anticipation that cannot be replicated in any other form of photography."
I’m a person that like to see fast results, sometimes I even don’t have patience. I prefer to make food, that doesn’t take too much time, but good quality.
The instant photography meets the needs of me. I love the quality of the print, the colors and the nostalgic look. But my favorite part in instant photography is the 3 minutes it takes to develop, I love the waiting, the changes it goes trough, this is the peak moment for me. Off course I can’t ignore the fact that it is sweet and sexy.
Polaroid takes me back to the classic painting, because of the colors but also because it is one of a kind, not like a film that you can make copies, Polaroid naturally is a one limited edition.
THE IMPOSSIBLE COLLECTION
With the availabilty of the first new Impossible Instant Film, Impossible is now in the honorable position to support and cooperate with all the contemporary photographers and artists whose work is based on the magic of analog Instant Photography.
Starting with the very first packs of testfilm of the new PX Silver Shade material, Impossible invited several carefully selected photographers and artists worldwide to utilize the new materials and to discover its potential and capabilities - and to therewith start building The Impossible Collection: a new archive of contemporary Instant Photography artworks.
So far the following artists provided their work and carefully interpreted the new Impossible materials, building the base of THE IMPOSSIBLE COLLECTION:
Alison Garnett (CAN)
Ani Asvazadurian (AT)
Aurélien Dumont (FRA)
Beppe Bolchi (ITA)
Boris Zuliani (Frau)
Brian Henry (USA)
Chloe Aftel (USA)
Claire B. (FRA)
Dan Ryan (UK)
Danny Clinch (USA)
Didier Le Pecheur (Frau)
Emilie Le Fellic (FRA)
Filippo Centenari (ITA)
Grant Hamilton (USA)
Heather Champ (USA)
Holger Homann (GER)
Jake Chessum (USA)
Jeff Hutton (USA)
Jeff Sutter (USA)
Jennifer Rumbach (GER)
Jeremy Kost (USA)
Jessica Hibbard (USA)
Josh Goleman (USA)
Justin Craigen (USA)
Laura A. Watt (USA)
Leah Reich (USA)
Lia Sáile (GER)
Lindsay Josal (USA)
Nancy L. Stockdale (USA)
Philippe Garcia (FRA)
Pino Valgimigli (ITA)
Rebecca Rust (CH)
Sean Tubridy (USA)
Simone Frignani (ITA)
Steph Parke (USA)
Rhiannon Adam (UK)
Richard Bevan (UK)
Zora Strangefields (GER)
Furthermore, the supporters of The Impossible Project recently placed a binding offer to purchase the International Polaroid Collection, located in the Musée de l‘Elysée, Lausanne. Impossible‘s intention is not only to preserve and protect this unique collection from being sold in parts, but also to re-open and expand it by providing the new Impossible film materials to contemporary artists.
Paul Giambarba is a famous and indeed a very interesting name in the world of design and product branding. When I started exploring his work, I contacted him via e-mail and, by coincidence, on his 81st birthday. Moreover, he revealed some more interesting things. His daughter-in-law, and therefore his grandchildren, have Croatian origins, while the Giambarbas come from a small town near Termoli in Italy. Our correspondence turned out to be very interesting and inspirational, which made me suggest that we show overview of his Polaroid related work that he explained in details on his blog. He even let me use photographs of his design work.
Polaroid in Female Hands |Isidora Vujosevic
Polaroids provoke special feelings in people while looking at them. And what are women without emotions? They are fish without water. So we asked Fernanda what kind of emotions she tries to provoke.
- I am interested in telling stories and expressing myself through visuals. Polaroid and its dreamy, blurred quality is the perfect means for me to do that. Intense and intimate, I cannot think of a better way to communicate my feelings than to let these precious little squares do the talking... –this Uruguay-British artist says.
It is time for a new beginning | Damir Sirola
Why do we love children’s drawings? I would compare most Polaroids exactly with children’s drawings, containing a component of fantasy that kids ‘squeeze’ into reality and consider this to be normal, the same fantasy that usually limits photographic media. Each photographer that is fond of Polaroid should be asked how he or she felt at the fist moment of using this instant technique? Why exactly this imperfect Polaroid, among millions of pixels or perfectly corrected lenses? Is there any more space in our brains for functioning as children’s, on a level that does not separate fantasy from reality? Is there better media to transfer these waves than Polaroid? Probably not.
Who is we?
That’s me, my partner André Bosman, former production manager of Polaroid and now executive director for development and production, Marwan Saba, non-executive director of finance & legal - and most important our team of the most experienced Integral Film experts worldwide. 9 former workers of Polaroid in Enschede (NL) are developing the new film with us.
For further information related to the ‘Impossible Project,’ please visit the official web page:
Polaroids | Mare Milin
When I think about it, I know that is one of the best photo things that ever happened to me. From the moment when, with a specific buzz, it finds its way through the tiny passage in the camera, which kind of spits it on my palm, and I watch it as some kind of miracle, fading in gently. And I admire it for being so beautiful at all stages of the development, changing its density, colors and contrasts and then becomes something else. So human-like. Polaroid is being born, it comes to be, it fades, it dies.
History of the Polaroid | Ivan Zidar
His three year old daughter Jennifer asked why she could not see the photograph just after being taken. Land decided to please children’s curiosity and started considering many options while walking for an hour in Santa Fe.
Memory keepers | Isidora Vujošević
Hazy veil spread over Polaroid images captures the moment. It seems that memories are stronger with Polaroids.
POLAROID PORTOFOLIO |Ivan Zidar
Ivan Zidar was born in Pula, Croatia, in 1978. During high school he volunteered in production of Radio Pula programme. Between 1996 and 1998, he worked for Croatian TV studio in Pula and, since 2001, he has been in new media production. He is the owner of an agency for video production, graphic design and event management. During the last couple of years he produced numerous documentaries, promotional or experimental movies out of which the most recent one was shown in 18th Croatian Film Days. He mostly explores photography using Polaroid lenses.