Hello, friends. Welcome back to 8 Exposures, our instant film-themed Q&A series. This entry focuses on Italian photographer Gian Guido Zurli…
Q1) What kind of Polaroid camera(s) do you use?
A: I prefer mainly the SX-70 and the Automatic 100. I have a dozen Polaroid cameras. I recently bought a Graflex Crown Graphic that I would like to use with Polaroid backs.
Q2) Why do you like instant photography?
A: I like instant photography because it is pure poetry. Digital photography is too fast, you can see the result before taking a picture. How is that satisfying? This feature is killing true photography, especially fine-art photography. I’m always impatient. So I can’t wait to come back into the darkroom to see my pictures finished. Instant photography is for me the right balance between digital and analog. It’s almost fast as digital, but with the unique and romantic flavor of analogue.
Q3) What is your earliest memory of instant film?
A: Like all those born in the 70s, I received a Polaroid 600 camera as a gift. I took some pictures during carnival celebrations with other children. A few years later I found a Polaroid camera in the basement that belonged to my father. I think it was a model 340 but I’m not sure. I wanted to use it, but at that time all the dealers in the city told me that it was not possible to find the battery. Only many years later I realized that was not true and that I could use the camera with some wonderful films. Unfortunately at that time there was no internet. Both cameras have been lost when moving to other houses. Over the years I have bought them back.
Q4) What’s your favorite Impossible film type?
A: Between the Impossible films no longer in production, I loved the PX 680 Beta, the best integral instant film of all time. It’s hard to find a preference between it and the original Time Zero. My preferred film currently produced by Impossible is the PX 70 12/11 Pioneer test batch.
Q5) What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
A: I photographed for years abandoned places, with cameras of all types. Returning to photograph with a Polaroid and then Impossible, I continued to prefer architectural photography, but also to search for images from the flavor more romantic and less dramatic. I prefer to photograph buildings over people. My photographs of architecture tend to never include human presence. If you’ll find people, they are usually portrayed in the shoulders.
Q6) Tell us about a project you’re working on.
A: Definitely I’ll photograph objects and places. At the moment I’d like to photograph the enchanted garden of Bomarzo, near Rome or the Boboli in Florence. I’d also like to photograph Paris. Who knows… maybe one day I will also photograph people.
Q7) Who are your favorite photographers, instant or otherwise?
A: I started photographing seriously after discovering photographs by Simon Marsden (recently deceased). My early work was carried out with a SLR camera and Kodak HIE infrared film, like Marsden. His photos have been for me a real source of inspiration. My first photos were in black and white, then I discovered the color with the Polaroid.
Another photographer who inspires me that I follow is Maurizio Galimberti, the most famous Polaroid artist, I’ve the pleasure to know him personally.
Other great photographers that I appreciate are Alfred Stieglitz, Ansel Adams, Michael Kenna and Luigi Ghirri. But photography can not be defined with other arts such as painting, cinema and literature. To me they are equally important Giorgio De Chirico and other metaphysical painters, the Bauhaus, David Lynch and Dino Buzzati.
Q8) If you could take a photo of anyone or anything what would it be?
A: In my opinion, there are too many disturbing elements in the urban environment. I would not photograph parked cars or billboards. Sometimes even the presence of people can disturb the scene.
About Gian Guido
“I live in Parma, Italy where I work as photographer and video editor. I’ve published many books about Apple, digital photography and video editing software. I mainly work with digital, but my heart is 100% analog.”