| Nov 12, 11:00 AM
Hello, friends, and welcome back to 8 Exposures, our popular instant film Q&A series. This week, we are happy to bring you Rhode Island artist and photographer Gregory Geiger…
1) What kind of Polaroid camera(s) do you use?
Other than a few button pushes when I was very young, I started my own instant film aventure with a Polaroid Joy Cam. I got frustrated with the strange form-factor, even though I loved the ease of multiple exposures. After that my constant companion, for about two years, was an i-Zone camera. I loved the ease of use and the size of the camera, but when I got frustrated with the ultra tiny images, I transitioned to a Polaroid One. I used that grey box cam until I ran out of the original Polaroid film. I finally gave that camera away, which was a sad day indeed.
When Impossible Project started making film, I was a little bit hesitant. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be the real thing or how long it was going to last, so I picked up a Green One Step Express from the NYC store. I fell in love with the First Flush film, fell in love with the Impossible Project itself, and three months later got the SX-70 Alpha One that I am madly in love with and literally carry with me everywhere.
2) Why do you like instant photography?
Instant film is a unique piece of art. It’s not a negative or one of an infinite number of prints, it’s a (nearly) instant tangible picture of that moment frozen in time. It is an image that has captured the actual light from that place.
There is also something about the medium that makes me slow down. I spend so much more time composing the shot; more than I do with my roll film cameras, and WAY more than I ever do with my DSLR. I know that all of the extra time I spend with my subject makes those shots better in every way.
One other thing is that you also get people who see the camera or the picture and are automatically transported to a distant time and place. It’s a 3×4 piece of nostalgia. No one who has ever seen one of my Polaroid shots or even just my SX-70 walks away without a smile on their face.
I love instant photography.
3) What is your earliest memory of instant film?
I remember being on my grandparents’ porch, at around 4 years old, and my mom taking a picture of me with a black box that made a lot of noise. She handed me the little square of plastic and told me to shake it until a picture appeared. That was pure magic. I walked around and showed everyone with wide-eyed amazement.
4) What’s your favorite Impossible film type?
I still have a weakness for the PX 100 UV+ FILM. That has got to be my favorite film so far. The images that I have been able to pull with that film are some of my best shots. The blacks are really great and you get a hint of sepia in the whites and greys. I also have a lot of romantic memories of the PX 70 PUSH film and some of the color that I have been getting out of the new COOL film is just so beautiful.
5) What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
I find that what I am trying to capture is that fleeting feeling of a moment. A cup of coffee with your gal, or sitting in the park during the farmers market, or the way that the sunlight burns shadows into the side of a building.
But when I think about the shots that I want to take, the ones that I am really drawn to shoot, are portraits. I want to shoot people in natural lighting, with shallow depth of field, and unposed. I want to try to capture the real person behind the smile, or the unwavering gaze. I think there are elements of a person that can be more easily revealed through the lens.
6) Tell us about a project you’re working on.
I want to do a full portrait series based on the experience that I had with my Farewell Portraits. I want to get as many people as I can in front of the camera in a single evening and see what comes out of it, to then take the 80+ black and white shots and get them all up on a wall one week, month, or year later.
If the sky is the limit, I would also love to do a shoot of all the Richard Serra pieces that I could possibly find. The work that he does and how it captures physical space, form, and light is absolutely photo worthy. To shoot a bunch of those and blow them up to 5’ x 5’…it would be dreamy.
7) Who are your favorite photographers, instant or otherwise?
The stuff that Grant Hamilton does with Polaroids completely floors me every single time I see his work. Each shot is more beautiful than the next. I also love some of the early work of Jean Loup Sieff, his portraits are amazing and his shot of Alfred Hithcock is one of my favorites of all time. But when asked this question, I always have to point Harry Callahan, not only for his photographic work (tone, shadow, composition) but also for his work that he did with his constant model.
8) If you could take a photo of anyone or anything what would it be?
My first response is that I would love to do a shot of Edwin Land, but my girlfriend said that kind of answer sounds like I am pandering to the audience…So we will go with my second choice, I would love to do a full Polaroid shoot of Andy Warhol. That would be a completely mind-blowing experience. To work with him on capturing the perfect photo of him, nothing would be the same afterwards.
I am an old school geek and New England newbie, a budding pressman and leadtype lover. I am a painter, photographer, sculptor, designer, martial-artist, creative technologist, and comic-book fan. Yes, I really am all of these things. I recently moved from Northern California, with three cats, and a very lovely girlfriend; to a great apartment in Providence, Rhode Island. I pay for my instant film habit by working at a local university and helping teachers innovate uses of technology in the class room.