600 On A 600: Dr. J Caldwell

We have another installment of the 600 On A 600 project. This time camera was in the hands of Dr. J Caldwell, from Durham, NC. J took a great approach to breaking up his time into multiple shoots. Here is what he had to say about his shots and time he spent with the camera.

I started working on this project well before the Polaroid onestep 600 arrived at my door. I knew that photographers after me would each gain a little bit more insight and inspiration from the ones before and I wanted to make sure that even if the images I produced were mediocre that those that followed me would at least benefit from technical advice.

I struck a deal with myself, try to be technical for four exposures and experimental with the other four; to test lighting and to incorporate a theme of the four elements earth, fire, water, wind. In the end it was a single pack of PX 680 Gold Frame from The Impossible Project shot over four days with three different people at different times of day under different lighting conditions. Oh and there were scissors, duct tape, lighters, hair spray, jars, boiling water and bamboo too.
Technical advice

First and foremost, if you shoot this film with this camera have A LOT of light (I had the selector on all the way lighten the entire time). Some of these were shot on overcast days, some during rain, some at night. I don’t think it’s too difficult to figure out which ones were shot during a nice sunny winter day in Durham, North Carolina. Also, the close up setting for the camera is your best friend if it’s cloudy/dark outside. I regret not being able to bounce the built-in flash to studio strobes, but 8 exposures is 8 exposures.

Day 1: Wind

I had no idea how I was going to represent wind. “Luckily” Judy was a smoker and I managed to catch the plume as it came out of her mouth. That image was shot at night with close up and flash. The other image of Judy is her in front of my bamboo forest on a cloudy day. From that distance the built-in flash could completely not overcome the cloudy conditions. Lesson learned, TIP hasn’t quite got the color film speed down like Polaroid 600 or Spectra.

Day 2: Fire

A sunny day! I duct taped my spectra triple splitter to the front of the camera to get the repeated pop-art version of Brennan. The sun was hitting her directly. I took a similar one of her knowing I was going to repurpose it. I hair sprayed the face of the exposure and then lit it on fire. Hair spray’s flame is relatively tame so you get a caramelization of the frame without charring. I repeated this a few time and then broke off the center of the frame and repositioned it until I thought it was aesthetically pleasing.

Day 3: N/A

A cold and sunny day, but my subject had to cancel. Bummer. It happens.

Day 4: Earth and Water

Rain. Dominique and I shot fast. It was cold, almost icing. We shot in my darkroom to test what complete darkness would do (shooting blind/folded). The second exposure was a little NSFW so I framed it with bamboo that I had drying. We shot in my carriage house for a muted daylight experiment. The film does behave well under these conditions with close-up. The second exposure I used for an emulsion lift, pictured here floating in a jar of water.

Some of these photos I love, others I could take or leave, but, like Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, it wasn’t so much about the destination, but the journey that made these images significant for me. Stepping back, I am honored to be part of larger journey as this camera is passed from hand to hand.

j caldwell
photographer/editor in chief at fixation magazine

We’d like to thank J again for being a part of this cameras amazing journey. Also, thanks again to The Impossible Project for helping us make this whole project happen. Please check out their shop for cameras and film to make your own instant memories.

 

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