Many years ago, when film was just beginning to wane and digital was new, I scored a Mamiya Polaroid 600 camera, similar to this one. Completely manual — no light reading, no auto focus, even a manual shutter! This is a dream of a camera that shoots exclusively Polaroid smaller format film.
It’s heavy. It’s bulky. The film is expensive or hard to find. It’s time consuming. It’s messy.
In other words, it’s a throwback. And exactly what an artist needs in this world of fast, now, digtial.
As I packed and unpacked photo equipment for an upcoming shooting trip, my eyes kept returning to this Mamiya. I have too many cameras from which to choose — film and digital — but my everyday “go-to” is a full frame Nikon digital. I wish it were lighter, but it gives me everything I want…. until I want something else.
That “something else” generally is film. And my film of choice is Polaroid. I have entire body of art built entire body of art built on SX-70 filmon SX-70 film, which was discontinued in 2008. Yes, I know, there is new film for those cameras, but they don’t have the same artistic quality as the old film. Better to move on.
The new film for this Mamiya Polaroid camera is good. At the studio, I check the fridge for film…. How did I forget that I had six boxes of sepia film in there? How long ago did I buy them? Popped one in the camera… yep… Good as new. Sharp, rich browns. Good tone. White whites.
So the Mamiya Polaroid is making the trip. She’s so big that she displaces two other film cameras. I’ll make do.
The film made this decision for me: this trip will be about slowing down. Working in the field. Settting up the tripod and staying put until the film is processed… or transferred to watercolor paper … and new visions evolve.
This art is intended to reach beyond.