Polaroid Fever

90B35EA9-9BD2-4844-AC0C-FFBDE17CECA6.jpeg I’ll be the first to admit that I never owned a Polaroid OneStep or 600 camera before film went out of production. I never thought of it as a photographic tool. It was the camera phone equivalent of the day and film wasn’t cheap. When the impossible project started up I wasn’t all that excited about it. I thought it was hopeful but I was busy lamenting the loss of so many 35mm and 120 film stocks. I found a SX70 in an antique store, bought a $24 pack of film and was severely discouraged to find that it was broken.

When Polaroid Originals announced the new camera I preordered one at once. Inspired by my use of Fuji Instax I had grown to love instant film for candid photos. Only problem was the instax mini was too small and the instax wide was too hard to find film for and my camera was broken. While waiting for the new OneStep 2 I had come across some vintage 600 cameras and snatched them up. I was pleasantly surprised at the quality level of Polaroid Originals film stock. They’ve come a long way since the early impossible project days.

So I’m now practically a hoarder of Polaroid Cameras and buying film in bulk. Lately it’s the only photography outlet I’m practicing regularly. The limitations and character of the film are charming, and I’m loving the results. Sometimes I’m too busy to process and scan film and my photography gets put to the side. Now I’m shooting instant and really enjoying it. Will the fever last? Considering the cost of film pack5D161ACA-694E-4239-BE1B-2D0B0A522E10s it’s hard to say.

Why I quit using instagram (as my primary place to share my work)

I thought about deleting my Instagram account but I’m not ready to kill it yet.  I came to the realization that by constantly posting my photography on IG I am devaluing my efforts.  I do not mean in a monetary way since I am not actively selling my photography work at this time.  As a photographer on Instagram I get paid in likes.  My EGO receives the payment and it makes me feel validated for the life cycle of the photo.  Generally that’s about 4-6 hours and then it gets forgotten about.  Very rarely does anyone go back and review my feed or gallery.  Instagram has certainly launched careers for aspiring photographers and it’s gotten work out there that would otherwise languish in obscurity so I’m not saying it’s a bad thing overall, however, when it became a source of dopamine and I was constantly working specifically to have something new to post to my feed I lost the sense of why I even take photos.

Before I got hooked on IG I took photos for tangible projects.  I wanted to make prints, not to sell, but to display my work.  I wanted to make zines, again, not to get rich but to share my work with a living breathing audience.  I was posting on IG but it wasn’t my prime motivator.  It was just a way to gauge if my work had appeal.  I already know what appeals to me.  Once I started building a following on IG I got it into my head that I was going somewhere.  I wanted to be a populist.  I wanted photographers to say, yea, he’s a great photographer!  Maybe my work would get discovered and some gallery owner would insist that I have a solo show.  Maybe the MOMA would call (or at least DM me).  But that never happened.  The jolt of excitement started waning.  I realized I had a dedicated group of

“likers”but it wasn’t growing, and they were all people that I followed and also “liked”their work.  My likes were mostly genuine, but some I gave away for free because they don’t cost me anything.  I won’t even get into the follower/unfollower building an army of followers for commercial reasons contingent that’s out there.  The ones that like 5 of you photos and start following you but never actually look at your feed.  IG changed how you follow people, so now you can follow people and never actually even have to look at their work.

Someone, I’m not

sure who, brilliantly said that if you are using a product for free than you are the product.  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.  Social media in general.  It’s a partnership complete with a contract (user agreement).  I should probably include BLOG’s like the one I’m writing now into that fold as well.

While I can’t escape social media and hope to become relevant as a photographer outside of my own mind I can at least have some artistic control back as well as some of that time I’ve been spending constantly looking at my phone.  So I’m refocusing (unavoidable pun) on what I am doing as a photographer and how I utilize social media as a tool that works for me rather than me working as a tool for social media.

The streets of Norfolk, Virginia

The streets of downtown Norfolk are not very crowded.  Aside from a few blocks bustling with white collar types and the hand full of locals there’s not a lot going on.  Decisive moments are few and far between.  Norfolk wasn’t always like this but suburban sprawl, strip malls and a number of other factors have resulted in a downtown that doesn’t have a lot to offer outside of a few retail shops and restaurants.  And then there’s the mall.   The mall is climate controlled, has ample parking and pleasant music.  It’s a pleasant bubble of chain stores and plastic.


If you’re willing to venture a few blocks east, you’re greeted by the Cold War exterior of the Greyhound Station, a pawn shop, tattoo parlor and a bar, but what most people notice is the murals that adorn most of the walls of buildings, the biggest and most notable being the mammoth mural on the exterior of a gun shop.  This is the NEON (New Energy of Norfolk) arts district.  There’s a few art galleries and a lot of run down vacant buildings scattered in between.  In the epicenter is The Plot, an open community space on the foundation of a demolished building.