No. 520

8 Exposures...with Penny Felts

Patrick Tobin, | Jul 30, 12:00 PM

Photo by Zia Khan

Hello instanteers, and welcome back to 8 Exposures, our instant film Q&A series. This week, we’re happy to bring you Penny Felts, who has produced a series of diptychs, with each representing a different decade of the 20th century…

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

Most of the time I use SX-70s, an SLR 680, Land Camera 180 and a Holga with a Polaroid back. I also have a 600SE, Reporter, Polaroid Pinhole 80, Polaroid Pathfinder 110A and a Polaroid Big Shot that I use occasionally.

2) Why do you like instant photography?

What can I say, I love instant gratification with blur, softness, magic, and without pixels. It’s pure happiness.

3) What is your earliest memory of instant film?

When I was a kid, my parents bought one of the cheap plastic 600 model cameras, I’m not sure which one, but I remember the first time that I held a polaroid in my hand and watched it develop. I was hooked right then and there.

4) What’s your favorite Impossible film type?

Right now it is definitely the newest PX 70. I absolutely love the colors. It’s so versatile under different conditions. You can make them really bright, or soft and warm.

5) What are your favorite subjects to photograph?

I’m a corny photographer at heart. It’s not particularly a subject, it’s more of a daydream or a story that I’m going for. The model in these photos calls me a ‘concept photographer’.

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

Well, I just finished a project which you see here, where I collaborated with one model (Elle Long), to go through 8 decades of fashion and cameras.

I’m also starting a small personal project of portraits and stories of people who are 70+. The idea began when my son mentioned to me how much he enjoyed when my father tells him little stories of his life as a boy. I will be shooting the portraits on the new Impossible COOL films.

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

Of course there are far too many to list, but here are just a few: Famous ones that come to mind are Lillian Bassman, Edward Steichen, Clarence Sinclair Bull, Richard Avedon and Margaret Bourke White.

Other photographers who I look forward to seeing images from on a daily basis are: Philippe Bourgoin, Ludwig West, ‘The Gentleman Amateur’, Akshay Bhoan, ‘milkysoldier’, ‘carmendevos’ and ‘Bastiank80’ from Flickr. There are many, many more, but the last photographer whom I’ll list here is of course the most personally important to me, Zia, who mentors and inspires me everyday. I fell in love with his photography before I met him, and then I fell in love with him.

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

My mom in the 1950s.

About Penny

I am currently living in Nashville, working in the medical field so that I can make enough money to pay for my film addiction.

You can follow Penny on Twitter at @pennyfeltsnanni

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  1. Pure magic!

    said Meredith | 1517 days ago
  2. This was a very inspiring article. I love that you are photographing representations of different decades with different Polaroids. I also love how you said that you would photograph your mom in the 1950’s if you could photograph anything. This is something I have thought a lot about. One person I would love to photograph moved to Nashville a year ago. I used to photograph him in the band he was in in Ohio and my photography hasn’t been the same since he left. It pretty much broke my little photographer heart. So, if you run into a David Judy, just let him know how I feel :)

    said Amy Brannan Elsass | 1523 days ago