Whence, wherefore and whither PolaProjects?

Inspired recently by several artsy-creative-OCD friends and colleagues — including James Tinnelly and Alex Fourier — plus the discovery with my children of a big stack of old Polaroids of friends and family, I caught the Polaroid-Instant-photography bug! Oh, I’ve got it bad…

Sultan Russ (dad) and Lizard-Turtle-Dragon Max (son) Halloween 1995
Image: that’s me the Sultan, with my Lizard-Turtle-dragon son / Halloween 1995
Camera: probably a Polaroid Spectra (model unknown) guessing from the location (foot of the stairs in my first house) and the friend who likely took the pic…

Why instant-photography? Well, it’s definitely NOT because I want to harm the environment (I’ll recycle everything) and NOT because I’m turning away from digital photography. It’s just that Digital is more about making the “capture” and editing your images afterward, which is great for everyday snaps and street photography, or studio/commercial work. But I guess I love the “analog-one-chance-to-compose-and-crop-in-the-viewfinder” approach of instant photography, which is more a process of “making a picture” as Ansel Adams said, rather than just taking one. And, of course, I’m visually, artistically drawn to the Polaroid-instant-analog film look-and-feel, softness, vignetting, light-leaks, aberrations, and colors.

So, this page will provide updates about my personal Pola Projects and collaborations with other instant-photographers, plus links to blog posts with new instant photographs. My images will be taken on various vintage and new instant/Polaroid-type cameras, using various instant film formats, including:

  • Instant Cameras:
    • Polaroid (all vintage)
      • 195 Land Camera / IMHO the best of the pack-film series of Land Cameras starting with the 100. Completely manual, with a sharp, bright lens, shooting on expired, discontinued Fuji pack-film, and looking at the SuperSense pack-films when they become stable and more readily available…
      • BIG SHOT / The long, ungainly, weird-looking, fixed-focus, gray-green, boxy camera, with which Andy Warhol took his fabulous Polaroid portraits.
      • SLR680 / The 680 “SE” edition is regarded as the BEST SLR (evolving out of the SX-70 series) model Polaroid produced — auto-focus, through-the-lens focusing — to maximize image quality using Polaroid 600 film, which is more sensitive (higher ASA) than SX-70 film.
      • SX-70 / Using various versions of this amazing instant SLR, including the Sonar with auto-focus, and mods from MiNT, and various flash rigs to quench the light-thirsty SX-70 films from Polaroid.
      • SPECTRA / Using the standard, SE, and Pro versions of this high-quality, late-vintage model, using wide (non-square) format Spectra-only film. Sadly, new Spectra film production was halted in 2019, so I’ll burn through the last batches in stock, and be done…
      • Miscellaneous / When I hit the estate and yard sales, I always grab any Polaroid or other instant camera in decent condition, either for display (shelf-candy) or active use. Working models currently include: a Polaroid One-Step Flash and an Impulse.
    • Polaroid (formerly called “Polaroid Originals” and “Impossible Project” before that…)
      • One-Step+ / i-Type Camera – uses Polaroid 600-type film, without the battery in each cartridge.
    • FujiFilm (new)
      • Instax Wide 300 / clean, consistent results from a light, reliable camera with a wonky viewfinder that is maddeningly difficult to compose with.

[Picture of the current instant/Polaroid camera collection goes here — soon!]

  • Instant Films:
    • Polaroid – color and monochrome 600 (square, with battery), 600 i-Type (no battery), and Spectra (wide, with battery) films.
    • SuperSense – new peel-apart pack-films from these analog wizards were launched in a successful KickStarter campaign, and are now moving towards new production…
    • FujiFilm – the discontinued (2016) FP-100c and FP-3000b “pack film” until supplies run out (expensive as heck, and dwindling fast), Instax Wide film, for the Instax Wide 300 camera I have, and Instax Square or Instax Mini if I ever get a camera that uses it…
    • Expired Film – whatever I find unopened, between 3-19 years “old” and hopefully kept in a cool place, to see what strange (and hopefully wonderful) results I’ll get…

Future/fantasy Pola-gear: I’m currently lusting after, and perusing eBay for, a Polaroid 600SE medium-format camera — a manual, tripod-based beast, offering remarkable image quality — with both a 120/220 roll-film back, and a custom, 3D-printed 4×5 sheet-film back. That camera and the film it takes (plus development) should keep me busy, and broke. Or maybe I’ll go for its doppelganger, the Mamiya Press Camera which is a little less. 🙂

It might also be fun to play with a new Leica Sofort instant camera, using Fujifilm’s Instax Mini film. And, I’m also considering the brand new camera from Mint (known for refurbished and enhanced vintage Polaroid SX-70’s) called the “InstantKon RF70” which offers great controls, image-quality, making great use of Instax Wide film. I’ve looked at the quirky cameras from Lomography but most use Instax films which other cameras do very well (better?), and I feel like they try a little too hard to be, well…quirky!

Thanks for visiting! Please bookmark www.polaprojects.com to see new images from existing projects, and new projects in the days ahead. Or you can check out my regular and instant-photography-focused social media:

Instagram @remages — personal digital work, art, nature, people, often using the Hipstamatic (iPhone camera-edit app), and moving to some film work…
Instagram @polaprojects — just my instant photography.
Instagram@camerasfilms — all kinds of vintage and new instant, film, and the occasional digital cameras we are using and/or selling.

Twitter @polaprojects — instant-photography focused (pun intended).
Tumblr @polaprojects — instant photography focused; submissions, questions, interactions, and collaborations encouraged!

Pinterest @CamerasAndFilms — the BIG profile with new and vintage cameras, films, accessories, and all things photography-related, including: items I use, items for sale, items I like and/or lust after, photos and photographers I admire, plus some of my instant “polaprojects”, film and digital work.
Pinterest @russmurray — the instant-photo board on my personal profile.

SHOP: launching soon — a web store to buy instant film, vintage and new instant cameras at — camerasandfilms.shop

Email rem@remages.com if you want to chat about instant, film, digital photography, or whatever!

remages / polaprojects

All content of this blog/website is ©www.polaprojects.com ©www.remages.com ©www.russmurray.com ©www.camerasandfilms.com and/or ©Russell E. Murray 1961–2020, all rights reserved. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.