1/11/22 (Analogue Wonderland Part 3)

I was being reminded while I started to write this post about how wonderful analogue is because I was trying to get my silly computer to download the photos that I want to use for this blog post from the cloud, but it thinks it’s smarter than me and thinks I’ll want to (and be able to) re-download every damn thing every time I want to do any work. hmph.

This story is that like many objects that find themselves with me, it came via a charity shop. My early 2000s era polaroid came from Oxfam a few months ago, and I was almost as excited as when I found a Gameboy colour for a pound at a jumble sale. Almost.

I once dreamed of having a polaroid camera of my very own, back when it was a lot cheaper to purchase the films; I remember vaguely that one of the teachers at my primary school had one, and it was magic. Unlike the technologies that were appearing while I was at school (DVDs, camera phones etc), these things had been around for a while, and were clearly made with witchcraft.

It feels fitting that rather than getting my hands on a polaroid that looks like it’s from the 70s or 80s, I got the “let’s make everything look new and spaceshippy” version from 2001. Remember when everything made of plastic was sprayed with silver paint? It reminds me of the ‘robot dogs’ and the dinosaur and furbies and other junk.

I took it and the single packet of exposures that came wrapped up with it and the instruction booklet out with me on the day I went to film the August section of my ongoing project that I’ve been calling Portrait Landscape. When I reached the first tree, an old, curvy willow on its side near the entrance of the woods, I pulled the lever, the device whirrs, and the photo is ejected. I shake it (I know I shouldn’t now, and promise I won’t with my new exposures), hold it up to my phone, recording the act, hoping to film the image developing. 
It does not develop.
I label it anyway, and file it between the pages of my notebook, hoping that the next one might not have suffered so much over the last 21 years.
It had.

So I made a film about it, and resolved to come back with some new film, that’s not out of date and might provide an image of the woods. You can see the film below, it’s 3 minutes long, because I had in mind an open call for short film works from the Scottish Society of Artists. They didn’t select it.

I did a lot of deliberating on what to do next with my camera. A single exposure costs just over £2 (depending on whether you buy in bulk or not), which doesn’t seem too expensive until I know I want to use it to document the 40 or so trees that I’ve been following throughout the year, and then I start to sweat a bit. I’d considered, and still might, running a small crowdfunding campaign to cover the costs of getting hold of enough film to do what I really want to with the project. Something simple, like or a pledge of £10, you get a nice (instant) picture of a tree, signed, dated, and labelled correctly (this is very important). 

So, as a bit of a celebration about being hired for a new job (will post it on my social media things about it soooooon!) I forked out nearly £50 for two boxes of film. That’s 16 colour exposures, and 8 black and white ones. Someone please tell me I’m not throwing money away.

I’m going to head out to the woods, today or tomorrow, or probably both and many more days after that to take some snaps, some test shots, some solidification of these ideas, and some proof that I can take a nice picture for my potential backers! Check back in here, or more likely, on my Instagram very very soon for some very instant pictures of trees.

(I run a post-it system to keep track of projects, whereby an imposing yellow square with the ‘title’ of a project looms at me until I finish the thing and am allowed to tidy it up into a notebook and put it on the website properly.)

Read an article here about how polaroid cameras work
And about the history of instant cameras and why the film is so darn expensive here

And of course don’t forget that if you’d like to support my ongoing projects around this ancient, damaged woodland, please do click the ‘buy me a coffee’ link to send some money. It’ll go straight towards things like more film, paying to keep adverts off this website, and yet more notebooks.