Good morning, all!
Yesterday, when I was staging the photographs of my Paper Smooches cards, I decided to haul out my old photography backpack. It is full of camera backs, lenses, filters, a light meter, cleaning cloth and a whole bunch of memories. 15 years ago I ventured into the field with my new Pentax and lenses, a 1980’s Polaroid Sun 660 that captured so many of my childhood moments, my uncle’s Polaroid EE100 and his Pearl River TLR, a cheap knock-off of the Rollei. I grew up in the town that spawned Kodak, and visited the Eastman Kodak house throughout my life in Rochester. My uncle taught me how to use a darkroom at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and encouraged my exploration. I loved photography, and was consumed by the work of Andreas Gursky, Cindy Sherman, Mary Ellen Mark, but it didn’t come naturally to me.
Through the early 2000’s, I dabbled in the medium, enjoying in particular Polaroid work and emulsion transfers. My cameras accompanied me on trips to Chicago and twice cross-country. Over the years, though, as a poor graduate student, then a poorer post-grad student waiting tables and teaching to pay down my debts from 3 years of study, the cameras became more like museum pieces adorning shelves than working tools. Investing in film was an expensive venture and I couldn’t justify the cost simply for the sake of experimentation and play.
And then, I watched as camera shop after camera shop shuttered its windows and it became more difficult to easily find film and quality developers. I remember in 2009 wanting to bring the Pearl River with us for our trip to the Olympic Peninsula, and checking into the last convenient downtown camera store for 120 film only to be met with a raised eyebrow and pitying laugh. They hadn’t sold that film in years. And upon closer inspection of the ghostly shop, I found only a few boxes of Kodak film hanging from a wall display. That shop closed a few years ago. Polaroid had stopped production in 2008; my last pack of the fun I-zone film came up blanks when, for the final time, I used that toy-like camera. I kept four shots of film in my EE100 for sentimental reasons, I guess. And as I read through a list of Polaroid films and their approaching expiration dates, which I had found online, I momentarily mourned the end of an era not only in photography, but in my own life. And while Polaroid didn’t officially die–the Impossible Project and Fuji are making some types of instant film, and even Polaroid itself seems to be attempting a revival– I had stepped out of the shot so to speak, packed up my gear, and hadn’t look back except for the occasional shuffle through the stacks of photographs.
But this morning, I felt that little tug of excitement that accompanies the discovery of something long forgotten. As I looked over the Pearl River, I noticed that there was still film inside! Three shots. I have no idea when I loaded the film or what might be trapped within the remaining 13 frames, but I am thrilled to find out. Haphazardly and a bit impulsively, I fumbled around with the aperture and lens, stared down into the milky viewfinder (which seemed like looking back into time itself) and took the remaining shots of my cat Atticus.
What could be waiting within?
Here’s a shot of the old Pearl River.
Now for some shots of my cards which were created using Paper Smooches stamps and some of their dies!
This card uses “We Totally Click” stamp set and Borders 2 die. The image above captures the embossing and sheen of the inks–Brilliance in Silver used for the sentiment and Rocket Red Gold used for the hearts. I Copic colored the camera (whew, alliteration!) with R01, R12, R15, C00, C2 & C4. The paper onto which I stamped the polaroid is My Mind’s Eye Polaroid paper. The striped paper is Crate Paper’s DIY Shop, which I intentionally tried to ruffle up at the top. Arrow is from the Lil’ Inkers set of stitched hearts and dies. I colored my clothespin with the Brilliance ink and heat set it.
I masked the hearts so that they would appear to be slipping from the lips of the camera– my stamping is a bit off on the one to the right! For the inside, below, I used the DIY Shop paper, die cutting the top with the Paper Smooches Borders 1 die upside down.
Next up, Camera Whimsy!
This card definitely turned out more whimsical than I had initially envisioned! I stamped the Paper Smooches camera onto woodgrain paper, and then again onto striped and ivory papers, fussy cut and assembled.
I made my little frame with basic rectangle dies; the inside is some awesome scrap Valentines paper I had from a random assortment. But I used the photograph acetate cover to add some character to my “polaroid”. I cannot recall who manufactures these films–they are designed to look like slide film and even have a realistic film border. However, I threw away the packaging!
The back uses some coordinating aqua and pink washi. I used Lil Inkers dies for the background panel and arrow. I love how the Studio Calico heart is shaped like the Paper Smooches heart in the We Totally Click set. The clothespin is from Paper Source.
Hope you enjoyed my musings on a medium that might be a little lost amid the ease and instantaneity of the digital age, but is not forgotten! These little cards are an ode to the film camera and the love they inspired!
Check back for my next post and contribution to the Paper Smooches Guest Designer challenge!
Wilco’s “Kamera” for you listening enjoyment!