shooting more film was on my goal list for this year. i bought a polaroid 440 land camera a few weeks ago along with 6 packs of polaroid film. i packed them all in my suitcase to palm springs not knowing if i’d actually pull it out and use it or not. i had used this camera a few times before the trip and none of the shots really turned out, so i wasn’t SUPER excited about the camera yet. but for some reason, i decided to pull it out and take a few shots with it at the airport on my first day. the results were awesome. i fell in love.
i shot around 60 polaroids on the duration of the trip. a few of them didn’t turn out. a bunch of them are slightly blurry. a lot of them got bent from throwing them in my purse after they turned out. but you know what? that’s what i loved about shooting polaroid film. it’s not perfect. even my scanning of them is not perfect. i think this is one of my sloppiest looking blog posts, but also one of my favorites. this whole series honestly changed me.
i’m kind of a perfectionist. the kind of perfectionist who procrastinates on doing something because i can’t do it perfect in that moment. this camera forced me to move away from that. i never knew what i was going to get with each shot i was taking. it was always a risk. i didn’t know if the exposure would be right or if it would be in focus or if i waited long enough for it to develop. it drove me a little crazy, but in a good way. i learned to trust myself and my judgement a lot more. it somehow gave me more confidence in my photos, both digital and film.
it also urged me to do other things that i’m not used to. i started asking strangers if i could take their photos. at first it became an aesthetic thing. i was simply interested in capturing the culture and life of southern california. i started to notice that i was really connecting to each person i asked to photograph. not only were they interested in what i was doing (as most people haven’t seen a camera like that before), but they were interested in sharing a part of their life with me. i talked for a long time with a good handful of people about where they were from, who they were, and what they did. i loved creating a small connection like that to people around me.
lately i’ve been struggling with having connections and relationships with others. i spend 5 or 6 days out of the week at home, by myself, editing and working. so i guess you could say that interaction with people lately has been very low. i have been wrestling with that for a while now, but after this trip i realized something very important. all you have to do is reach out. for a large part of my life, i have expected others to reach out to me and would get frustrated when no one started conversations with me or asked me to hang out, yet i was doing diddly squat. if i were to just reach out to someone…even by simply saying hello to a stranger, i could feel those little connections every single day.
so, while this post may look like a bunch of under exposed, messy polaroids, please know that it has changed me for the better.