| Nov 11, 11:05 AM
Welcome back to 8 Exposures! This week, we talked with LA photographer/sweetheart Jessica Reinhardt…
1) Q: What kind of polaroid camera(s) do you use?
A: I consider myself extremely fortunate when it comes to my cameras. I have four Polaroid cameras that I use all the time…as well as an ever growing collection of wayward cameras rescued from various states of neglect. I have two Land Cameras…a 360 that belonged to my father. He won it as a college student—-a top of the line set with filters, self-timer, cable release, and portrait lens—-the works. When I was in college he had it reconditioned and gave it to me as a birthday gift. It was the camera that really solidified my love affair with Instant Film. My other Land Camera is a 320 I found languishing in the supply closet at work. It had not been touched pretty much since it was purchased. My boss was impressed with what the camera could do with a fresh battery and some film. My Polaroid cameras that I don’t leave home without are two original model SX-70s. My first SX-70 was a Swap Meet find, complete with a carrying case and manual. It was meant to be. I was also very fortunate to be given a mint SX-70 that had been sitting in a co-worker’s garage. I invested in an accessory kit for the SX-70’s and use the tripod holder and cable release often. I feel very lucky and honored when someone gives me a camera and shares a Polaroid-related story.
2) Q: Why do you like instant photography?
A: I love Instant Photography for many reasons—-for one, it makes you work to become a better photographer. It might seem counter-intuitive, but this little box with no manual exposure control will make you aware of so many elements of photography taken for granted in the digital world. To do everything “in camera” and be able to see it transform-it will always be magic. Instant Film makes you a creative problem solver. Impossible Film makes you think on your feet. There are so many conditions like temperature, location, time of day that completely change the character of the film. When I make an Instant Image I’m proud of—it is a combination of skill and a little luck. There’s usually a little dance involved when the image turns out well.
3) Q: What is your earliest memory of instant film?
A: I thought about this one a lot…and I think my very first memory of Instant Film would have to be going to see Santa Claus at the Mall. I remember those elves sure knew how to work a Sun 600!
4) Q: What’s your favorite impossible film type?
A: Trying to name a favorite Impossible Film is like trying to pick a favorite Beatles record! It really depends on what type of mood I am in. I tend to find that I order and shoot in patterns—-an order of Black and White, an order of Color. I rarely shoot Black and White and Color on the same day. If a new batch or flavor of film comes out—-I want to try it out immediately. My current obsession is the Ace Hotel edition of PX-600 UV+. The tones are insane. Deep dark black and silvers that glow.
5) Q: What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
A: My friends and family might tell you all I shoot are wild weeds growing on the side of the road…but what draws my attention are places that others might ignore, or if I shoot a sweeping vista, I try to capture a unique light, or use the properties of the film to transform the place. I live in California, and I find that while I am surrounded by amazing vistas and golden light, people here often take it for granted. I love it when I’m photographing something most people don’t notice. A doorway, irrigation pipes, a rusty sign. If you look at my Flickr stream, you’ll see I love to shoot instant whenever I am traveling.
People must think it’s my first time flying, because I’m so fascinated with the graphical elements of airports—-and I can’t live without the window seat. I’m still chasing the perfect aerial shot. I love to take Instant Shots at night as well, because it requires a totally different mindset and garners some pretty stunning results. I started The Impossible Night group on Flickr, and the caliber of work from folks like Toby Hancock, Rommel, and JL Pictures is amazing. I learn something every time I see their work.
6) Q: Tell us about a project you’re working on
A: I am currently working on a couple of different projects. I have participated in several group shows over the past couple of years; it has been an honor and a great learning opportunity. As I work on direction and process, I would love to curate a show in the next year or so. I have been working on a body of work called “Goodbye Americana” that examines American Iconography in various stages of life. I hope to be able to present it in the near future.
7) Q: Who are your favorite photographers, instant or otherwise?
A: I have so many favorite photographers—-paring it down makes this one of the more difficult questions. As far as the Instant Community goes—-I feel like I learn something every day from the folks on Flickr and Polanoid. The sheer quality of work from people like The Gentleman Amateur, Toby Hancock, Rhiannon Adam, Adam Goldberg, Azuree Wiitala, Jake Messenger, Nick Leonard, Anne Bowerman, Rommel, Pat Tobin, Rich Burroughs, and Frank Love…I could go on and on. We have some seriously talented people among us. As far as High Art goes, Mary Ellen Mark makes some of the most fascinating portraits with Instant Film. Also, studying Andre Kertesz “The Polaroids” is a must. Phillip-Lorca diCorcia’s “Thousand” is an interesting glimpse into Polaroid as it once was—-walking a line between intimate moments and test shots. The scope and scale is mind blowing. No matter how busy I am, I try to make it a point to look at new work every day. If only I were as disciplined at scanning…
8) Q: If you could take a photo of anyone or anything what would it be?
A: If I could photograph anyone—-my top two picks would be David Bowie (those eyes!) and President Obama. (With the 20×24 camera) If I could transport anywhere with my SX-70 it would be Antarctica. Icebergs and Penguins on Instant Film? Yes, please!
Thank you, Jessica, for taking part! To see more of Jessica’s work, visit her Flickr Photostream
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