No. 180

8 Exposures...with His & Hers.

Patrick Tobin, | Oct 28, 12:10 PM

Welcome to another thrilling episode of 8 Exposures, our new interview series highlighting interesting people using Impossible film. This week we talked with Oregon-based instant film magicians His & Hers (Dave Tuttle and Whitney Johnson)…

1) What kind of Polaroid camera(s) do you use?

Hers: Between the two of us, we have a lot of cameras. We actually have an entire closet devoted to cameras, accessories and film.

His: The cameras are in various working conditions, of course. I think we probably have only 30-40 total. There are more than a few that could probably stand to be donated for parts.

Hers: Ha! Only 30 or 40.

His: Yeah, it is a bit ridiculous considering we really only use the same ones over and over again.

Hers: I love my SLR 680. It has a tiny hole in the bellows that I have to tape every few months, a burn mark on the sonar from where I attempted to dislodge a piece of stuck straw with a lighter (note to others: this is not a good idea) and the entire top cover melted off on a Caribbean cruise (seriously), but it still works like a champ. It is the best $75 I’ve ever spent.

His: And I primarily use one of the first SX-70s I ever picked up. All of my other ones have died in fiery crashes. While saving puppies.

2) Why do you like instant photography?

His: For me, it has to do with watching the image develop. Holding it in your hand and watching the image appear is magic. I also really like all of those picky imperfections that come with instant film – like pola dots and time zero fire, those “mushrooms” and undeveloped spots that sometimes occur. Nothing’s perfect. And that makes me happy.

Hers: From the minute I took my first shot in 2004, I was hooked. Each shot is unique and unpredictable. I love the graininess of the film, the distorted colors and the fact that there is no deleting and retaking; every shot is one of a kind. It makes each photograph more meditated and important.

3) What is your earliest memory of instant film?

His: I have a terrible memory, so I’ll let her tell this one.

Hers: Our first collaboration together was for fall ‘Roid Week in 2009 (Not that I keep track of those things, but it was actually two years ago this weekend). We snuck into a mausoleum and took a bunch of polaroids together. It was all very spooky and awesome. But His & Hers as it’s now known came around several months later on a camping trip at the coast.

His: She took this great shot holding a feather in her hand and I matched it by holding up a fern and taking my own shot. We put them together and boom…

Hers: His & Hers was born.

4) What’s your favorite Impossible film type?

His: I’m really loving the PX 70 for the SX-70 camera and the PZ 680 for the Spectra. The PZ 600 UV+ was the film that really caught my attention and pushed me to shoot more Spectra. I’m just starting to get used to the Spectra, learning its limits and boundaries. It sometimes still hates me though.

Hers: I’ve been enjoying the PZ 600 UV+ for Spectra cameras, too. The tones in that film are superb.

5) What are your favorite subjects to photograph?

His: Everyday life. Each other (obviously). Little moments that catch our eye. We always have ideas that we try to capture too.

Hers: We try not to plan it out too much though. Things seem to go better when we don’t force it.

6) Tell us about a project you’re working on.

Hers: I think we’re always going to be working on building our series of His &Hers diptychs.

His: We really need to do more of them. If you look through our stream you will notice that we don’t post terribly often. We need to fix that.

Hers: We also just finished two other projects – we made an Etsy shop to sell our prints and we made a rainbow wall in our bedroom with 150 Polaroid and Impossible film photos. We did a time lapse video documenting it.

7) Who are your favorite photographers, instant or otherwise?

His: I personally love Saul Leiter and Gary Winogrand for their street scenes. There are so many amazing instant photographers that I follow: Chloe Aftel, The Gentleman Amateur, Brandon Long. Brian Ferry’s work is always inspiring. It’s really hard to name just a few. There is some real talent out there.

Hers: This is always a difficult question for me to answer. I can’t say that I have a favorite, but I love that I’m constantly learning and finding inspiration from all the wonderful people I’ve met via the internet. So I guess the internet is my favorite.

8) If you could take a photo of anyone or anything, what would it be?

His: I’ve always wanted to do a cross-country road trip. A trunk full of instant film, a bag full of cameras. A map and a bag of Cheetos. That would be awesome.

Hers: I love reflecting back on all the moments in my life I’ve captured via instant film and the stories behind them – the day I met Dave (my first photo of him was a Polaroid, yesss), my grandma on her 90th birthday, standing under the Eiffel Tower with my mom, holding my best friend’s newborn son in my arms. So to answer the question, I can’t wait to photograph all the things awaiting me in my future – my wedding day, my future children, the people I will meet, the places I will go and everything in between. All those stories waiting to be documented. I can’t wait.

His: Your wedding day and future children, huh?

Hers: I’m just saying… (wink wink)

Thanks to His & Hers for taking part! Be sure to follow their updates on www.hisampersandhers.com and their Flickr stream.

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