The Instant Film Society is at it again this weekend, converging at the oldest zoo in Texas with analog cameras and film in hand for another rain-or-shine "#Polawalk." After shooting the State Fair of Texas on opening weekend (in spite of the wind and pouring rain) the rag-tag band of photographers are meeting up at the Fort Worth Zoo, to wander around, shoot the sights, animals, and yeah, probably each other on instant film.
According to the group's website, the Instant Film Society formed earlier this year "to increase awareness, accessibility & understanding of analog instant photography." Polaroid collectors, and those looking to get involved with the PolaWalk, can scoop up cameras at thrift stores, garage sales and eBay. Also, they can buy film from Urban Outfitters, Amazon.com or straight from The Impossible Project, the only company still producing integral film for vintage cameras.
We reached out to Justin Goode, one of the group's founding members, to find out more about Saturday's PolaWalk, the Instant Film Society and The Impossible Project.
First, what is a PolaWalk?
It's a public get-together with photographers, students and amateurs who support the use of analog instant film. These walks are an opportunity for supporters to "spread the love" of instant photography to others. We hit the streets with vintage Polaroid cameras, explore the city and teach others about the medium. I mean, why not right? There really is nothing like shooting instant film. You snap the shutter, the camera ejects a frame and magically, an image materializes in your hand. It's not stuck on your DSLR or on your phone. The tangibility of it is something we all love.
How did the PolaWalk at the State Fair of Texas go?
Well, it was opening weekend of the State Fair of Texas, and it ended up raining on us all day, which amazingly enough, did not dampen our spirits. In fact, it was really cool because the fair wasn't very crowded, and the fair-goers who were there were wearing galoshes and parkas, most had umbrellas. Just a great opportunity for interesting photos. We had just over a dozen people join us who were all really happy to meet like-minded individuals. This meet up was also the inaugural event for the Instant Film Society, which is an organization I'm starting to help promote the use of analog instant cameras and films.
What would you tell someone who wanted to get involved and go along on the PolaWalk at the Fort Worth Worth Zoo?
Find an old Polaroid camera (600 series, SX-70s or Spectra), pick up some film and bring it. We'd love to have you along. There are a variety of instant camera and film options. If you have a camera, film is available at Urban Outfitters locations, Amazon.com and from Impossible Project's website. If you need help choosing the right kind of camera, just message the Instant Film Society for help.
Where should they shop for cameras?
There are a few routes you can take to source a camera. You can find used Polaroids on Craigslist, eBay, in garage or estate sales and possibly even in your grandparent's attic. If you would like a newer instant camera, Urban Outfitters carries Fuji Instax cameras, which are the quickest and easiest ones to source on a short notice. If you email me, email@example.com, I'll be happy to help steer you in the right direction for cameras or film.
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When did you start using instant film?
I started using instant film a couple of years ago, but really got into it this past Spring. I had picked up a SX-70 from Craigslist for $20, and decided to order some film from The Impossible Project. I had heard about their films, but had never made the jump. From the first images I took, I noticed that there was something really different about this medium. They have natural qualities that are unparalleled in the world of photography. The analog images that materialize right before your eyes are fascinatingly unique and classic.
Are there any other plans for the Instant Film Society?
Promoting the use of instant film and teaching newcomers about it is at the top of the list - for now. Film is a special medium, which unfortunately, has been pushed out of the scene since digital came around. There are only two companies still manufacturing analog instant films. One of which has only been in business for about three years. Supporting them and introducing more people to their products are going to help ensure that it's around for the next generation. Our next PolaWalk will be in Sundance Square on Saturday, December 15, just in time for the holidays.