Tag Archives: portraiture

From Out of the Darkness

Recently, I began shooting the last of my Time-Zero.  Polaroid photographers know just what a painful statement that is to make.  The film is rapidly becoming degraded, though, and any effort to save it at this point is only an opportunity for loss.  The last pack I shot had an expiration date of December 2006, meaning it was a fairly new pack of Time-Zero, and I had arranged to film these shots during their developing process with a fellow artist.  The initial shots I got from it were quite black and rose, and those are the shots from the pack that I’m including here.

To shoot this pack of film, I visited the home of an artist who is a musician, painter, and actor, who is very photographable and who had agreed to help me film the Polaroids.  Chad is the upright bass player for a Twin Cities band Hot Rod Hearse, and the painting in the second portrait is his own.

a portrait of a musician

a portrait of a musician

portrait of an artist

portrait of an artist

It was enjoyable to photograph someone who was not part of my list of usual suspects for models (my daughter, my son, their playmates, or my friend Lindsay).  I liked the experience so much that I am thinking of beginning a project of photographing artists of all kinds in their natural environments.

Anyway, because we were filming the the Polaroids in their developing process, I wanted to do a few still life photos which would be simple and visually pleasing to watch develop.  We took a few objects from Chad’s shelves, beginning with a ballerina figuring presumably belonging to his wife and finishing up with an evil little gnome.

a dancer for sophie

a dancer for sophie

another little dancer

another little dancer

There were a few characteristically blue shots from this pack of Time-Zero, but I will include them in a separate blog entry, since they do not belong visually with these.

Thanks for Visiting,
Elinor
elinor@equivoquephoto.com
equivoquephoto
My Flickr Photostream

opalescence

I’ve been experimenting with ways to get color with which I can live from Artistic Time-Zero film.  Sometimes it takes more than just a little of this, that, or the other to get the Polas to develop into something I like.  This last batch of experiments rendered some results I love, in terms of color.

Here’s my favorite of the last set of experiments.  Traces from a past life…

Traces of a Past Life

Traces of a Past Life

A Phalaenopsis (moth orchid)…

Opalescence

Opalescence

Opalescence, 2

Opalescence, 2

Another portrait of my daughter…

Surfacing from Dreams

Surfacing from Dreams

Thanks for taking the time to look,
Elinor
www.equivoquephoto.com
equivoque.etsy.com

Addictions and Obsessions

This winter has been very long.   I had been leaving to work in utter darkness each morning and returning home to greet dusk, but, yes, there is finally daylight when I get home from work at the end of the day!  Winter has made it  difficult to find opportunities to shoot.  Recently,  however, I bought a Phalaenopsis (a moth orchid)  as a prop to phot0graph in the late afternoon light in the kitchen.  I also cracked open a Magic Pack of Time-Zero given to me by a special friend in addition to a pack of 100 Chocolate film that I bought from Polapremium.  Shooting both types of film definitely brought a bit of levity back to my life, and the Choco turned out to be something I love.

The Chocolate Addiction: Composing with the Land camera, especially with a closeup attachment (as was done here) is not an easy thing.  There is a lot of parallex error, and it takes time and a considerable wastage of film to learn to compose with the mind’s eye rather than with the viewfinder.  Anyway, this 100 Chocolate film, with its rich contrast and lovely crackelure, has earned my affection along with my other favorite film types, Neopan and Time-Zero.  My newly acquired love of chocolate.

Child of Mine

Child of Mine

The Obsession: I’ve been inclined towards nurturing my own obsessions throughout the course of my life.  I used to have a wild passion for orchids and owned and cared for hundreds of them!  Now they find their place in my life as occasional props for Polaroid photography.   Time-Zero film has been been the object of my affection for a long time now, though.  I hope I’m not like the fellow in Adaptation who says, “Fuck fish“.  I probably am, just a little, but I think my passion for photography is going to stick.

Sea Butterfly

Sea Butterfly

Sea Butterflies

Sea Butterflies

Obsession

Obsession

Thanks for looking at my photographs,
Elinor

elinor@equivoquephoto.com
equivoquephoto
my etsy shop

Things Get Strange: for the love of distortion & blur

Here is the continued story of the world as seen through plastic lenses…

Multiple exposures with the malfunctioning shutter of a Diana camera can render interesting results.

things get strange

things get strange

More from the Diana camera…

floating venus

floating venus

Vintage signage from Mankato, MN.   Holga with Ilford Delta 3200…

BOWL

BOWL

Diana camera shot of a mausoleum door in the cemetery next door to the Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, MN.

the unknown

the unknown

Diana camera shots from South Shore of Lake Superior in Wisconsin…

earth times three

earth times three

holding up half the sky

holding up half the sky

No gratuitous umbrella shots here… It was raining, and my daughter was carrying her Hello Kitty umbrella with her.

a girl with her umbrella

a girl with her umbrella

Holga, Ilford Delta 32oo, and blizzard…

last days

last days

Finally, through January 6th, if you buy one regularly priced item from my Etsy Shop, you’ll receive a gift print.  (This excludes the items in the New Year Specials section of my shop.)

Portrait of a Polaroid: Memento

Whenever a photographer uses expired film, surprise will be an element of the result.  While the photographer cannot place all his or her hope in interesting effects, however, he or she cannot count on entirely controlling the result either.  Before I began this little series on working with Time-Zero film (both fresh and expired), I had written an entry about a very special pack of Time-Zero that I received from a friend, for after I shot the pack, I found myself craving its magic again and again.   Though I will not repeat the photos from that entry here, I would like to conclude this series with photos from the black magic pack because they illustrate more than any of my Polaroids how rewarding working with expired film can be.

This is my personal favorite from my own portfolio… Polaroid and otherwise.  The deep roses, blacks, and blues that the magic pack of film yielded worked beautifully with this model’s skin.  This little objet d’art remains my memento of something treasured that cannot be duplicated ever again.

memento from the underworld

memento from the underworld

I was playing with the length of the exposure time in the following shot.  In this case, I used the SX-70’s dial to “overexpose” the shot.  The other blog entry features some of the darker versions of the still life.

decay and melancholy

decay and melancholy

In conclusion, then, it is certain that I’ll not have a chance to shoot non-expired Time-Zero film in all its glory again, it is highly unlikely that I will have the the opportunity to have in my possession something like the black magic pack again, but I have about 92 shots of expired Time-Zero film in its various stages of blossoming and decay waiting for me in the refrigerator.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to shoot something worthy of the film with it.  Thank you for taking the time to look at my Polaroids.

The fourth and last in a series chronicling the transitions and decline of an aristocrat of film types, Polaroid Time-Zero film… Polaroids by Elinor Scott-Sutter.

Portrait of a Polaroid
Painted Light
Fire & Ice
The Blues

Memento

Portrait of a Polaroid: Fire & Ice

Not too long ago, an online friend of mine said facetiously, while defending his choice to use toy cameras and expired film, “It’s just a matter of praying as hard as you can for the end result not to be crap.”  Of course, the opposite of that statement is true.  If you want your end results “not to be crap” when working with toy cameras or expired film, you must work hard, as you would with any other tools, and pay attention to what you are doing.  Possibly even more attention than when working with ordinary equipment and media.

I learned as much when I found myself in the unenviable predicament of being required to work with expired film if I wanted to continue to work with my preferred film and camera combination.  Of course, there wasn’t really a choice.  It’s not that I wanted to continue to work with Time-Zero film in my SX-70.  I had to.  I had spent a lot of time observing my camera’s behavior in different situations, but with the high cost of even expired film, it became more necessary than ever to quickly discover the limitations and features of an expired pack to best incorporate the attributes of the film into the photos.  Each pack is unique, making the task even tougher.  I miss my non-expired Time-Zero film, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some of the results I’ve had from my expired film.

Here’s one of my favorite models again.  She is also a photographer, and we were shooting together on the ice of Lake Superior.

The Fire in Her Eye

The Fire in Her Eye

From the same day on the ice…

Aurora Borealis

Aurora Borealis

Sometimes the results can be singular…

Singular

Singular

Sometimes the additions to what the photo might be are like gold…

passage

passage

My hipster daughter…

Old School

Old School

The reds from expired Time-Zero can burn red if the light is warm enough, as is the case here.

the light of sweet remembrance

the light of sweet remembrance

While the welcome accidents certainly play their role in shooting expired film, planning goes a long way to ensure the judicious use of precious film.  I will keep shooting till the money runs out.

The second in a series chronicling the transitions and decline of an aristocrat of film types, Polaroid Time-Zero film… Polaroids by Elinor Scott-Sutter.

Portrait of a Polaroid
Painted Light
Fire & Ice
The Blues

Memento

A Portrait of a Polaroid: Painted Light

Most people know by now that Polaroid recently stopped manufacturing film cameras and all the Polaroid film types.   I don’t think the general public was really prepared in advance for the loss of an American institution such as Polaroid instant photography, but we who love Polaroid photography got our first taste of what can only be described as panic when we began to see seemingly innocuous notices such as this one, announcing the end of manufacture of Time-Zero film, on Polaroid’s website.   The author wrote in a cordial understatement, “We realise that this is disappointing news for our loyal SX-70 users and we would like to underline that, although the circumstances made it inevitable, it was not an easy decision…  We are very sorry for the inconvenience.”  If by inconvenience the writer meant the first time in the history of photography that an entire medium would be taken away from the photographers who loved and used it, then it was a convenience.

For me, though, it was much, much more than an inconvenience.  I was one of the many artists who had come to rely almost solely on Polaroid film types to express my passion for instances of light.  Since I have only 82 shots left of my favorite film, which is Time-Zero film, I have devised ways to work with and view my Time-Zero Polas without having to use more of the film just yet.  It was when I began sorting my Polas into categories according to the degree to which the film was or was not expired that a story emerged.  I was surprised to see how the story of my development as a photographer paralleled the story of the decline of the excellent film; my style was growing a little more “esoteric” to match the effects I was getting from the expired film.  Even the beginning of the story is a bit sad, because there will never be fresh Time-Zero film again.  Everything that remains is expired, but there was once the film that I affectionately call Painted Light.

The dreamlike and painterly qualities of Time-Zero film are really accentuated by the use of a camera such as the Pronto! B, which lacks the ability to accurately focus on an image.  Instead, the photographer estimates the distance of the subject and sets a dial accordingly.

Painted Light

Painted Light

A 1960s wedding gown makes the perfect nostalgic subject for a Polaroid.  This is my mother’s 1962 wedding gown.  The camera was the Pronto! B.  The model, once again, is Lindsay.  The girlfriend of my oldest son, she is one of my favorite models.  The light becomes her, and she becomes light…

Becoming Light

Becoming Light

The image of this peony in evening light was taken with my favorite camera, the Polaroid SX-70 Model 2.  Because the SX-70 (aperture range f/8- f/22) determines how wide its aperture will be based on the available light, the photographer has very little control over the depth of field, except to choose the lighting that will result in the desired aperture width.  I’ve gotten to know my SX-70 quite well, how it will behave under different lighting conditions, and so forth.  I actually gravitate towards lower light settings for the SX-70.  The aperture opens up nice and wide, which really yields some dreamlike results with Time-Zero film.  This simple peony appears almost painted.  It is the color of dreaming…

The Color of Dreaming

The next photo is one of my favorite portraits of my daughter…  It isn’t a surprise to those of us who know and love her that, when she finds a piece of wood on the beach, she picks it up, draws a face on it, and names it…  In this case, she named it Chunky.

“Some ideas arrive in the form of a dream…”
–The Log Lady in David Lynch’s and Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks

In the Form of a Dream

In the Form of a Dream

Time-Zero interprets light with grace and perhaps a bit of magic…

Of Light and Magic

Of Light and Magic

A detail from vintage signage that is still in use in Grand Marais, MN:

RIG

RIG

Late summer…  How can a body be so filled with possibility (of love and of drenching the senses with sensations from an almost autumn afternoon) that really it is too much for the senses?

The Stars of Summer

The Stars of Summer

Finally, here is a loose quote in Time-Zero of a portrait of O’Keeffe by Stieglitz.

Morning Song

Morning Song

Time-Zero film, whose sad disappearance was a result of a series of complicated and unforunate events, is an exquisite and extraordinary film type, and its beauty and elegance is painfully underscored by the stranger and darker iterations resulting from its aging.  I wish future photographers would be fortunate enough to have the opportunity and pleasure of working with it, but they will only be able to enjoy its finery by looking at the Polaroids of others.  The blog is the first in a series chronicling the film in its transition from painted light to its bittersweet decline.

The first in a series chronicling the transitions and decline of an aristocrat of film types, Polaroid Time-Zero film… Polaroids by Elinor Scott-Sutter.

Portrait of a Polaroid
Painted Light
Fire & Ice
The Blues

Memento