| Oct 15, 11:00 AM
Hi friends, and welcome back to 8 Exposures, our popular instant film Q&A series. This issue, we’re happy to bring you Oregon photographer Rich Burroughs…
1) What kind of Polaroid camera(s) do you use?
The main one is an Image 1200i, it’s one of the Spectra cameras with an LCD. I’m really enjoying the Spectra aspect ratio lately, it feels very cinematic, so that one is getting most of the work. I have a bunch of others though. A couple of SX-70s, a 180, some 600 cameras, a Clincher, and backs for my Hasselblad and Holga.
2) Why do you like instant photography?
It’s that magic of seeing the images develop. I work a lot with models and they really enjoy seeing the images come to life, it gives them a lot of confidence when they see that we nailed a shot. And it’s nice to be looking at a finished print. When I shoot digital, there are images that look great on the LCD but don’t work when I see them on my monitor.
3) What is your earliest memory of instant film?
We had Polaroids when I was a kid, my dad was into photography and they were so common. Polaroid and Kodak are the two brands that really dominated photography in my childhood. I never shot the cameras but I played with them as toys.
I bought an SX-70 Sonar about five years ago, and the first time I held the button down to do the sonar focusing I had this crazy visceral flashback. We must have owned one when I was growing up. I knew immediately that I’d had that same sensation many times before.
4) What’s your favorite Impossible film type?
I’ve been shooting a lot of the Image Softtone film over the last year and a half, but I’m starting to transition some into the Impossible films as I know the Softtone won’t be around forever. Right now it’s the PZ 680 that’s really grabbing me. The colors are really interesting and the film has such a dreamy look. I’ve gotten a lot of strong feedback from viewers about the images.
5) What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
Definitely models at this point, I do a combination of clothed and nude work with them. I think of my work as portraiture, the goal is to capture something honest about the subject.
I used to love taking my Polaroids out for walks in the neighborhood but I’ve had to pretty much cut that out. I shoot a lot of film in my work with the models and that’s all I can afford.
6) Tell us about a project you’re working on.
I’m currently shooting a series with models on the Image Softtone film that I hope will become my first book. They’re very minimal images shot in a bare room, just a bed with white sheets and some white walls. The idea is to put the focus on the subjects without a lot of distracting elements. I’m hoping the book will happen this year and that I can get the images exhibited in some galleries.
I have some ideas for other projects when that one is done. I’d like to shoot in some new locations, more outdoors.
7) Who are your favorite photographers, instant or otherwise?
Some of the better known photographers that have influenced me are Sally Mann, Diane Arbus, Stephen Shore, Larry Sultan and Todd Hido. Sometimes those influences aren’t very direct. I think my work comes from a very different place than Arbus’s did, for example, my work is more about beauty. But there’s such a strong voice behind her images, they’re so compelling. That’s something all of those photographers have in common, a strong voice and a passion for making images.
Of the people shooting instant film now my favorite is probably Neil Krug. His work is lovely. And I’m influenced by many photographers every day through Tumblr. I love Corwin Prescott’s work, and there’s a brilliant guy from Germany named Hannes Caspar, I found him on Flickr a few years ago. Seeing the new work those people put out constantly challenges me to keep growing and improving.
8) If you could take a photo of anyone or anything what would it be?
Right now models are the first people who come to mind. Lara Stone and Kate Moss are at the top of the dream list. In terms of a more realistic wish list, I’ve actually been very fortunate, I’ve been able to work with a lot of the art models that I admire. A lot of them really love working with instant film, that has definitely helped.
I’ve also met some pretty amazing painters who like my work, people like Audrey Kawasaki, Amy Sol, Mandy Tsung, Chamaine Olivia, and Joshua Petker. I really admire people who can draw or paint well, and I’ve wanted for a while to do some sort of a series of portraits of artists. So maybe I can make that happen in the future.
I’m from Portland, Oregon. I’ve been photographing models for three years, and other subjects before that. Besides instant film I shoot medium format film, sometimes with toy cameras, and some digital images. I’m very active on Instagram.
Thanks to Rich for taking part in 8 Exposures! You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram. His username for both is @richburroughs.