July 2007

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I have been observing the amounts of Polaroid people shoot on various Polaroid host sites – like Flickr and Polanoid.net and I have been adding up some numbers. There are people with online portfolios costing easily in the region of over a thousand or more dollars or pounds. For many, these portfolios simply do nothing extra curricular but be online, self initiated exhibits.

The source of their dedicated artworks is a company which is slowly dissolving their product line despite a growing number of individuals who enjoy using it. The reason for this from my perspective is obvious — the professional world who would have in the past shot through thousands of dollars in Polaroid in month now have the laptop as their mainstay. As for most professional job use, and I am talking bread and butter work like editorial — from the 35mm Nikon with a Polaroid back to the 4×5 Polaroid processor —the film has slowly become extinct.

From Polaroid’s perspective I am sure they are watching with a keen eye as to what they should do next. Private individuals are a cottage industry and cannot, unless the numbers are incredibly significant, replace the profit margin Polaroid lost due to the digital territorial dominance in the battle of the instant image.

But when looking at this cottage industry, a Polaroid revival to say the least, I am left wondering what is the motivation behind each work. From the highly manipulated square little art works to the bleached out, hardly noticeable documenting shots of the urban vernacular, there is this movement which is willing to pay quite considerable fees and time in order to practise their own art although there is a knowledge that the film could soon disappear. There is a connection to the medium that I am curious about. I question what are peoples motivation behind it.

If you could leave me a comment as to how/when you came across Polaroid, why use it, and why it is so important to yourself I’d be much obliged.

Thank you.


I struggle with this. I really do. I struggle with the politics of photography. And when it comes to evaluating wedding photography/ photographers I seem to have the most struggle.

I was shooting a wedding a few months ago when a car advertising photographer came up to me and said – “You know, I was supposed to be photographing this wedding. The couple are friends of mine but I just couldn’t do it…. way to stressful… I’d never shoot a wedding” …

“But you are car advertising photographer”, I said, “this should be easy for you!”

“One chance and that’s all you’ve got — too stressful for me” he said.

Ever since then I have been thinking about the value of wedding photography, and how in the past, from within the industry of photography, that to mention you shoot weddings is like the kiss of death if you wish to obtain work in other markets.

I’ve never understood this. In fact I think its arrogant to think that wedding photographers are a lesser form of photographers. In fact, wedding photography is certainly a testing ground for the ability to match creative with interpersonal skills and problem solving techniques within an extremely limited time frame that is given to you only once. There is no reshoot or second chance, no “that looked good but can we do it better just this once more”… Nope… It’s fly by the seat of your pants or die (in respect to future business) trying.

I came across an amazing photographer in the States — John Dolan — and I have to admire him for his ability to be selling himself as an advertising, art and wedding photographer while participating at the higher end market on all fronts. He is up front and celebrates his ability to accomplish all lines of work — from a Lexus ad to a private wedding. And so it should be this way. Isn’t it in the end all photography and all creative solutions made to satisfy the different demands of the client. It shows a successful photographer — not one who is not “making the grade” because he shoots weddings.

There is such a fear factor here of admission to shooting weddings in the photographer community. I see it more in the UK than in the States. And an assistant of mine says its worse in Italy. Commercial photography/ editorial photographers think wedding photographers are the crows of photography.

The truth is – as far as I can piece it together – is that photographers participating in other markets participate in wedding photography but under another name. This way they hide themselves from the “judges that be”. A web designer friend of mine told me she sees ad/ stock and magazine photographers coming to her saying “I need a wedding website but I need to have it under a different name”. While it can certainly be a business choice most do it to protect themselves from having a label placed on them and this costing them future work. Silly. Really. I mean because you lecture in photography does that make you less a photographer too?

In my opinion if your practicing photography in any form than you are a photographer and are learning and honing your skills. Balancing it in a way that you can promote a style which transcends throughout the markets you pursue is the secret. This certainly has been John Dolan’s strength and success.



Walking along a path in the woods I came across a series of items which startled me. Awakened me. Their relation to the environment, the abstraction or intersection of context left me feeling slight uneasy. I often retreat into the woods for solice and release. But on this day I entered a space unsettled.  Simple items dislodged from my context. It made me recognise and consider how effective context can sway our appreciation or experience of an item or moment. How important context is to our belief, our idea of self and the surrounds of self.




Horizon 1

Horizon 1

Souvenir 1


Materials: Polaroid SX70 film.