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’m going for the “non-digital-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) 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)
      • BIG SHOT / The long, ungainly, weird-looking, fixed-focus, gray-green, boxy camera, with which Andy Warhol took his fabulous Polaroid portraits.
      • SPECTRA / Using the standard, SE, and Pro versions of this high-quality, late-vintage model, using wide (non-square) format Spectra-only film.
      • 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.
      • 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 Originals (new, formerly called “Impossible Project”)
      • One-Step+ / i-Type Camera – uses Polaroid 600-sized 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 Originals – color and monochrome 600 (square, with battery), 600 i-Type (no battery), and Spectra (wide, with battery) films.
    • 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. 🙂

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!

And on the film side, a company in Vienna named SuperSense (launched by an Impossible Project alum and his pals) is promising to launch a new “peel-apart pack film” product/technology to enable all kinds of old and new cameras to once-again to produce high-quality instant photography — up to 8×10 and bigger! Maybe Fujifilm will expand their lineup of films, into additional sizes and camera-cartridge formats? We shall see…

Thanks for visiting! If you want to return and see my new instant-photography work, just go to www.polaproject.com and you’ll land on this page. Or you can check out my regular and instant-photography-focused social media:

Instagram @remages — personal, art, Hipstamatic (iPhone camera-edit app)
Instagram @polaprojects — instant photography from me and my insta-friends!
Twitter @polaprojects — instant-photography focused (pun intended).
Tumblr @polaprojects — instant photography focused; submissions, questions, interactions, and collaborations encouraged!
Pinterest — @russmurray — an instant-focused board on my personal profile.

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

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


All content of this blog/website is ©www.polaprojects.com ©www.remages.com ©www.russmurray.com and/or ©Russell E. Murray 1961–2019, all rights reserved.