| Aug 20, 11:00 AM
Welcome back to 8 Exposures, our instant film Q&A series. This week, we’re happy to bring you Texas photog Troy Bradford…
1) What kind of Polaroid camera(s) do you use?
I have three working SX-70s, one 250 pack film camera, one modified 250 pack film camera with a Rodenstock 127mm lens added, one 100 pack film camera, two Spectra cameras, one 600 One Step Closeup and a 104 pack film camera converted to a pinhole camera.
2) Why do you like instant photography?
As most people will say, I like the fact that you get to hold the image immediately. In addition to that, I also like the fact that you get to watch the image come to life. The thrill of this process takes me back to my days in high school when I had my own darkroom and was able to watch film images develop before my eyes in the chemical bath. So that takes care of touch and sight, but I also like the smell of the peel-apart films. It is not like the smell is a pleasant one, it is just the fact that you can relate this smell to a developing picture…Now if you separate out just Impossible film and ask the same question, I would say that holding an Impossible image is like instantly holding a small piece of artwork.
3) What is your earliest memory of instant film?
Growing up in the 70s, I remember getting packs of instant film on Christmas morning. We would take pictures of everything and everyone. Not the most creative way to go thru a pack of Polaroid, but it was always fun! I still have many family memories that were captured on some form of Polaroid film.
4) What’s your favorite Impossible film type?
5) What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
By far my favorite thing is people. And even more specific than that is family. I have had to branch out because my family has got to a point where they dread it when I pull a camera out. That drove me to find another avenue. I started taking a camera with me on all of my business trips. If at all possible, I would try to schedule in an hour or an afternoon/morning to go find something to photograph. I still prefer having people in the picture, however that is not always possible, depending on where you are photographing. My favorite style of photography on travel is Street Photography. Originally, this grew out of using a Leica M8 camera, but now I use my SX-70 camera just as much. My approach has mostly been trying for individual portraits. This allows me to stop someone with the intention of having a conversation and getting a portrait of them. Works most of the time, but you have to be ready to take a “no” with a little grace. Hard for me to understand, but I have had to realize that not everyone likes having their picture taken by a stranger.
6) Tell us about a project you’re working on.
My “project” has always been my blog. I have four blogs that all started because of a style of photography that I became interested in. My latest, that started in January of this year, is solely dedicated to instant photos. It has become the blog that I spend most of my time keeping current. I try and link all of the sites that I find interesting and relevant to the style of photography on the particular blog on each of the sites. Ultimately my blogs were created and I maintain them for my family, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that it sure is rewarding when others visit and comment.
7) Who are your favorite photographers, instant or otherwise?
Most of the instant photographers that are my favorite have become so by following them via Twitter and watching their film libraries grow on their blog or on Flickr. I would say that I spend a whole lot more time viewing and getting motivation from their photos than I ever have a “famous” photographer. To name any one particular photographer from the Twitter world would do all of the others a disservice (and potentially even make them unfollow me :) ). However, as far as famous or published photographers go, I have been inspired by the likes of Magnum Photographers Elliott Erwitt and Bruce Gilden or established photographers like Helen Levitt, John Cohen and David Lykes Keenan (an Austin photographer). I couldn’t let this opportunity pass without also mentioning Tyler Tyndell as the creative genius behind a lot of what I do with instant photography. If it wasn’t for his creativity spilling over, then I would still be stuck only taking “clinically correct” images with a digital camera. I really owe it to him for re-introducing me to instant photography.
8) If you could take a photo of anyone or anything what would it be?
Without a doubt, the photo would be a portrait of Ed Dobson. He is a former pastor from Grand Rapids, MI who was diagnosed over 10 years ago with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). His face speaks volumes! He is a constant inspiration to me through his videos “Ed’s Story”.
I live in Greenville, Texas and work as a Project Engineer at an aerospace company.