Back in March of 2014, I got a Fuji Instax 90 Neo Classic (http://instax.com/mini90/en/). It’s an instant camera in the Polaroid vein. The photos are 2″x3″ and take a good 3-5minutes to become fully realized pictures (And they’ll keep developing for the next 24hours or so as the colors set and become richer).
I got it for 2 simple reasons (maybe 7). The first is that I’m a gadget whore. I love new toys. And I’ve wanted a retro-style camera for a while. I’ve wanted to go back to shooting film, but have neither the darkroom nor funds to set up for 35mm processing. I found out that the retailer I work for carries the film for this camera and that I got a pretty good employee price on it.
The other reason I got it is because I was going to spend a weekend up at Put In Bay and I didn’t want to take my $2000 kit with me because, well-let’s face it-I was going up there to party. Alcohol and gear I can’t afford to replace equals a bad combo. And I didn’t want to just take my point and shoot. Everyone would have one.
Reason 3…I wanted to be different. To stand out. To march to the beat of my own drummer. This camera certainly allows for that.
It brings back the nostalgia. The joy of being able to hand someone a pic.
I got the camera nearly 10 months ago. To date I have taken over 1000 pictures with it. With the pictures I’ve given away, that number is closer to 1200.
That’s the best part for me. The smile that someone has when they hold that picture and watch it develop.
Life is kind of like that, isn’t it? You focus on something…you take a shot. You wait to see what develops. If it’s not exactly what you want, you try again. Eventually you get that magic shot.
And to be completely honest…it’s saved my photography. At $0.60/print, I can’t shoot 15 shots of something and pick out the best. I have to be intentionally in my shot. I have to consider composition. I have to consider that the viewfinder isn’t perfectly lined up with the lens, so I’ll have to shift. I have to consider the lighting. All of this comes in to play before I take the shot. This intentionality is becoming second nature. So much so that when I pick up my D300, those things are ingrained and I find myself shooting less ‘safety’ shots.
And because I’m shooting less, I’m able to get right back in to the moment and enjoy the event. I’m curbing my urge to visually document every event and practice more of being in the moment. It’s a small, but oh so powerful shift.
It’s starting to bleed over in to everything. Just the other day I almost left my phone at home on purpose. I’ve done it before, and it’s weird. It freaks people out. And yet, it’s something that I intend to do more of. If I’m not always checking my phone, I have an easier time living in the now.
Small lessons from an instant camera boasting the latest in 1960’s technology with a new-modern twist.
Life is good.
Take a shot, see what develops.