No. 523

8 Exposures...with Sol Allen

Patrick Tobin, | Aug 3, 12:00 PM

Welcome back to 8 Exposures, our instant film Q&A series. This week, we are happy to present to you our good friend, Arizona wonder Sol Allen

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

Although it seems like a good amount of my cameras are in an inoperable state, I tend to lean on my Polaroid SX-70 that I got refurbished from Unsaleable (Impossible’s predecessor), Hasseblad 503cw, Polaroid 450, Polaroid Spectra Pro and an Agfa Viking. I’ll usually throw one or two other ancient cameras in the bag, depending on what the shoot/trip is.

2) Why do you like instant photography?

Primarily, because of the unexpectedness of the film, especially if it’s expired. Every type of film has a learning curve and that’s fascinating to me. It’s wonderful to want, or to be told by a client, to achieve a certain look and to know what combination of camera and film will be able to create it. Also, I’m probably impatient.

3) What is your earliest memory of instant film?

The Polaroid ultrasound above. Just kidding. I grew up as an army brat, moving around quite a bit. When I was in kindergarten, my mom would take lots of Polaroids of me and my friends and I started keeping a photo book. I feel that she was creating an importance of documenting a place, time and the people who are around. I’d also take the camera whenever I could and walk around the house and yard to take pictures of the cats (which, I’m thankful I still have).

4) What’s your favorite Impossible film type?

So far, it has got to be PZ 680. The colors are so soft and it even makes the desert look somewhat temperate. I haven’t felt an attraction to a film like I do the PZ 680 since cross-processed Agfa Portrait 160.

5) What are your favorite subjects to photograph?

In the last couple of years, I have only been interested in documenting landscape. I started a personal project back in ’06 of documenting Arizona mining towns and reservation villages and I only have two areas left. I still love taking portraits, but, I don’t feel the urge to do so. Not like the urge I have to get in my car and go exploring in especially rural areas.

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

Like I mentioned above, my Arizona project. I plan on moving soon and am trying to pick a new state that will keep me busy for a few years. The west intrigues me and I plan on staying on this side of the United States for a while. Other than that, I have been working on ways to mix my painting and drawing with my photography.

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

My all time favorite photographer is W. Eugene Smith. Old jazz and soul LP covers are always my inspiration for my concert and musician photography. There are countless photographers on Flickr that are incredible and I feel so fortunate for the platform. A few favorites I can think of off the top of my head are Peter Schön (S_Peter), Reuben Wu, Jan Scholz (micmojo), Shannon Richardson (e l e c t r o l i t e), Rom (llemor) and Vladimir Longauer ([vla:d]). There are many others, and I wish I had the kind of memory to mention them all. I’m constantly grateful for all the support I have received throughout the years from the incredibly kind and talented folk I’ve met on Flickr.

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

I like to think of bands that I would love to tour with if I got the chance. The Roots were definitely at the top of my hip hop list and I thank the stars everyday to have gotten that chance and to continue to work with them. I’d have to say that it would be incredible to tour with Radiohead and also, Björk. Also, Fela Kuti’s sons, Femi and Seun and their incredible bands. Otherwise, to go back to the landscape, I just wish I had the means to travel more. Everywhere.

About Sol

Photographer, music lover & a dog’s best friend

To see more of Sol’s work, please visit her Flickr photostream and her Etsy shop. You can also follow her on Twitter at @solexposure.

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