No. 531

8 Exposures...with Thomas Böttcher

Patrick Tobin, | Aug 10, 12:00 PM

Welcome back to 8 Exposures, our instant film Q&A series. This week, we bring you German wonder Thomas Böttcher

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

I have got three SX-70s (all without autofocus), a Spectra, several 600 cameras, two Landcameras: 320 and 330, and one 4×5 Polaback for my Sinar F 2. My favorite camera however is my SX-70 because it allows more room for creative work. I especially appreciate the aspect of the selective focus and the vintage charm of these cameras.

2) Why do you like instant photography?

Most people like instant photography because each photo is unique and can be looked at in a relatively short time. These are certainly also important aspects of instant photography for me, but I value even more the unique charm of the instant photography. It lives partly through its technical deficiency, its not being one hundred per cent perfect. A lot of photos today are defined exclusively through their technical perfection, so that the message of a picture often recedes into the background. In my opinion, the importance of megapixels and speed are often overestimated today. I personally don’t want to submit to either the stress of the latest technical progress or speed.

3) What is your earliest memory of instant film?

This is difficult to say because it dates back quite some years. I bought my first 600, and to be quite frank I was a bit disappointed because I could not vary the range of focus. You press the release, hear the buzzing of the camera and the photo is delivered. I inquired about the different types the Polaroid company produced and discovered that the SX-70 is just the right thing for me – I love it.

4) What’s your favorite Impossible film type?

PX 70 12/11 batch & PX 70 Cool and PX 100.

5) What are your favorite subjects to photograph?

I’d rather not commit myself to any special subject. It always depends on what I feel like doing or how I personally feel.
Since 2011, I’ve very much been interested in taking photos of people. This is not an easy subject because portrait photography is very popular. Nowadays it is more important for a lot of photographers to show people the way they might look rather than to show them the way they really are. I want to show people without using Photoshop, a studio, extensive flash equipment or a team of makeup artists – simply genuine and natural!

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

At first I want to continue taking portraits. Besides this I have three other subjects in mind. Among others I’d like to go on with the series of the diver. The other two subjects are still at a very early stage so that I’d rather not talk about them yet. I still need some more time.

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

Because of my love for the dark room and monochrome photography there is a very special name for me: Jeanloup Sieff.

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

I’d love to take the portrait of a famous person and try to show this person as natural as possible, not the typical, artificial high-gloss photos we see in the magazines every day. Some months ago I wrote to the management of the German actor Mario Adorf to take some pictures of him but I didn’t get an answer!

To see more of Thomas’ work, please visit his Flickr photostream.

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  1. Isn’t this actually 9 exposures?

    said Michael | 1509 days ago
  2. Thank you for the Interview.

    For my full photostream you can also visit my website.

    Best Thomas

    said Thomas Böttcher | 1511 days ago
  3. Great blog. Love reading it. Keep writing and keep us inform.

    said Prateek Gupta | 1511 days ago