No. 222

Viewfinder: Nick Leonard

Patrick Tobin, | Nov 30, 05:00 PM

The title of “Impossible King of Las Vegas” belongs to Nick Leonard. His shots of the strip are stunning and beautifully capture the city’s long history. As Nick has been compiling photos of hotels and motels all over the Southwest for some time now, we thought he’d make for a great Viewfinder feature:

“I live in Las Vegas, NV and I am 18 years old (19 in Jan.). I began taking photographs in 2006 with a little point & shoot and progressed to a Nikon D40 that my mom bought me for Christmas. Soon after acquiring the Nikon, I found myself shooting lots of concerts for a local rock magazine. In my downtime, I also explored around town and shot whatever caught my interest.

One day while browsing through Flickr, I ran across many Polaroid-related groups and discussions with people stressing over Polaroid closing their film division. It’s unfortunate that such negative news spiked my interest in instant photography! After acquiring my first Sun 600 (another x-mas gift), I was hooked. The Polaroid bug bit me hard and I have a crazy range of instant cameras varying from many integral film cameras to pack film cameras. Finding the Impossible Project on the web and the variety of film they offer truly fanned the flames, not only for me but also my beloved Polaroid cameras, and I really appreciate their loyalty in keeping instant film alive.

My main interest lies in documenting vintage signage in the southwest. To me, I feel an old sign looks best on film, specifically instant or expired because it totally fits the era of the signage therefore making the image look true. No phone apps here! My ongoing project since finding my place in instant photography is to capture enough signage for a book. To acquire these shots, I’ve racked up tons of miles riding the local bus to sketchy but intriguing parts of town. A few roadtrips I’ve taken to Northern Nevada, California and Arizona have produced some excellent shots. I am not sure if I will be focusing just on signs throughout the state of Nevada or the entire southwest. My book will include all formats and brands of instant film such as Impossible, Polaroid, and Fujifilm.

It’s been a joy using all the choices of film Impossible provides. I’ve really become extremely fond of PZ 680 for Spectra cameras and the PX 600 for my SX-70s.

Thanks to everyone at Impossible for what you do and the opportunity to take part in the “Viewfinder” series. On to the next motel for me… Long live instant film!”

To see more of Nick’s photography, visit his Flickr photo stream

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