April 5, 2013

Why Instant Film Matters

This is not the photograph I meant to take. It is not a great juxtaposition of these granite steps with the crisp, white Capitol dome. No Capitol dome at all, in fact. Too blown out to appear. Just a faint outline of the conservatory of the U.S. Botanical Garden which looked so striking in front of it.

And why couldn't I get my six-year-old out of the frame? (Because I was calling his name and waving, so he planted himself, faced the camera and smiled. duh...) And my sweet friend had no idea her shadow was in the frame when she leaned closer to see what I was looking at. Because this is instant film, by the time the print had developed in my pocket we were a block away. No second chance.

This is not the photograph I meant to take. It is the photograph I actually took. To me, a list of accidents. At first it was another Polaroid disappointment, but as it sat on my desk over the next few days, it began to grow on me. It became a photograph of my boy. A photograph of darks and lights. I love that he is a firmly planted on both of his little feet in the black shadow. I love the twin flag poles behind him for balance. And I particularly love that these darks emanate from a point nearly mid-frame.

It is not perfect, but I love it. And, that is why instant film matters. As it magically develops in your palm, you will have to reconcile what your eye saw with what the camera saw. They will never be the same, and they will teach you to see differently.

Fujifilm Instax Mini Instant Film
Fujifilm Instax Mini 50S Camera

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