What: Type100 workshop
Who: Chris Holmquist
Where: @Polagraph gallery, Prague

November started off with a refreshing experience for Saturn9: the OneInstant workshop given by the extraordinarily visionaire Chris Holmquist (https://www.polagraph.cz/shop/workshop-chris-holmquist)

The workshop was carried out in a the minimalistic yet cozy setting of Polargraph gallery and shop in lower Žižkov and attended by a handful of followers of the technique and rookies (like us!). After a very useful introduction on the milestones of this project, that touched important names in the polaroid world: the Impossible project, mr. Florian Kaps and the type100 revival, amongst others, we were showed how a single pack film had been in the past manually crafted and the peel-apart film attached to it in order to be used.

Original polaroid cameras and 4 packages containing one single film sheet laid on a table to be shot- in the outdoor or indoor, thanks to the special studio lighting and a model prepared for our experiments.

Conversations sparked amongst the participants and our host patiently listened to each inquiry, suggestion and criticism.

Questions such as: “How is the exposure calculated?” – “How to correctly load and unload the film into the back of the camera?”; “How do I know that the chemistry is evenly spread on the sensitive paper when I pull it out the camera?” resonated in the studio, and curiosity for this technique led us to a higher level of audacity.

Admittedly this manual technique can be regarded as easy since the chemistry does not require a darkroom or any sort of safe light process, the cameras are bulky and heavy and although their functioning looks complex, there are only few settings and adjustments to be made in order to get them ready to shoot. The developing times are reduced to 1 or 2 minutes at most.

The whole idea behind this kind of photography is to enhance the instantaneity of the medium, in order to have a product which is ready at hand and which comes across as a hybrid between traditional chemical photography with a technically advanced chance to have the positive printed out of the camera.

Our overall impression – owning a much simpler Fuji Instax Wide – is that even if this technique comes up as fairly fool-proof, whenever there is a chemical process, the slightest changes can affect the results. The photos of all participants, already familiar with Polaroid, were spotless, clean, in focus, correctly exposed.

Our photos showed technical mistakes but we were not discouraged because whilst they might haven’t been perfect, they were our first attempts at peel-apart films and Polaroid, and the expression of them was more important than the final results.

a burning witch; the texture of an oak; a decadent backyard; a partial selfie

What do you think of instant photography?