No. 513

8 Exposures...with Steve Maniscalco

Patrick Tobin, | Jul 23, 12:00 PM

Greetings, instanteers! Welcome back to 8 Exposures, our instant film Q&A series. This week, we bring you Arizona’s own Steve Maniscalco

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

I won’t try to get an accurate count…something like 4 SX-70 Alphas, 2 autofocus Model 2 cameras, and 2 SLR 680s. Two of my SX-70 alphas have been converted to shoot 600 film by modifying the auto exposure circuitry. I have several Spectra cameras, including a Macro 5 SLR. Also, 2 Land 250s, a 195, a 180 and a 430. Oh, and a pack film back for a home-made pinhole camera.

2) Why do you like instant photography?

I tell people I haven’t got enough patience to wait for digital, and immediacy is certainly part of the equation. I love being able to share the results right away. I often take multiple shots so I can give away one. Putting a physical picture in a child’s hands and watching the reaction is priceless.

Instant photography feels very honest to me. When the picture is taken, you’re done. You can scan it and alter it if you like. You can share the altered version on line or in print…but somewhere, hidden in your attic perhaps, is the true image. That image is cropped the way you shot it, exposed the way you chose and is the product of your decisions at the instant of exposure.

3) What is your earliest memory of instant film?

My father owned a Land 100 camera. He used the rangefinder as an opportunity for a math lesson.

4) What’s your favorite Impossible Project film type?

The newest PX-70 is incredible. From where I am, only an improved opacity layer is between it and perfect.

5) What are your favorite subjects to photograph?

For the most part, I’m an opportunistic shooter. I keep cameras available and I keep my eyes open. If I’m camping, you’ll see landscapes. As I travel, you’ll see small town Arizona. When I have dedicated photography time on my hands, you’ll likely see urban bits and pieces. Rarely, I’ll work up the nerve to shoot people.

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

I’ve been going through my instant shots and I think it’s time I make prints of many of them. Enough prints, perhaps, for a show. The challenge being, of course, to find some place to hang it. If I do find that place, I plan on hanging the original instant right next to the print, keeping me honest.

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

Landscapes were my first love, so I can’t go without mentioning Ansel Adams. I would also count Gustave Baumann, a woodcut printer, as a major influence, perhaps more even than St. Ansel. I love Paul Strand and Alfred Stieglitz and find their work amazing. Honestly though, I spend less time looking at work by “famous dead people” and far more time with the great stuff being done right now by people I “know” online. I’m confident that some of those folks will be the new “famous dead people” in a couple of generations.

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

I’m completely enamored with an Australian singer named Sia. I’d like to follow her around for a week or so with a Pentax 6×7 and hope to capture some of the personality that comes out in her performances.

To see more of Steve’s photography, visit his Flickr photostream. You can also follow him on Twitter at @SteveMPhotog.

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