600 On A 600: Joann Edmonds

Right before we left on our trip to New York, I received an email notifying me that we had received another round of 600 On A 600 images. The artist and camera this go round were Joann Edmonds from Seattle, Washington and she was shooting on Camera 2. All the her shots were taken at or along the perimeter of a park near her house on Impossible Project PX680 Color Protection film.  Joann approached the project with an experiment in mind and even took some behind the scenes shots. I think we will post those with a little write up in our How To area in a future post.

Please take the time to check out Joanns work at the following links.

Website | Flickr | Twitter

From Joann:

I thought a lot about a project to do with the 600 On A 600 camera before it arrived at my doorstep and even tested out some ideas on my own One Step 600. I ended up doing an experiment I’ve been wanting to try for some time: using fishing line in front of the lens to get interesting light flares. The concept isn’t new, search online for “fishing line flares,” but I wanted to see what would happen using it with instant film. I was thinking of it as possibly yet another way to paint with light.

The idea is simple enough. String clear nylon fishing line, usually a single piece held taunt in some way, across the front of the lens. When a light source shines at it, you get a beautiful, long, straight light flare.

However, I wanted something a bit more random and messy. I taped lots of pieces of fishing line onto one side of a step-up ring I had laying around, spaced the pieces roughly an eighth to a fourth of an inch apart and left the ends free to curl in random directions. I then taped the step-up ring in front of the lens and shot through the crisscrossing jumble of fishing line. This being a light hungry 600 camera, the sun was my flare light source. I had to make sure my shots would be at a close angle to the sun in order to get the light to flare on the fishing line.

Of course, this being an experiment, I ran into some mishaps along the way.

Since the 600 camera doesn’t have a through-the-lens viewfinder, I couldn’t see the flares in the shot before I took it. I’d move the step-up ring in front of the viewfinder to make sure my shots would get flares, but then move it back in front of the lens to take the shot. Where the flares happened and how much it flared was completely random. Sometimes it worked out great. Other times the flares blew out the shot (see #5). But the surprise of not knowing how it’d turn out was part of the fun!

Then I ran into a bigger problem. Because I had the camera open much of the time with the fishing line contraption taped on the front, and since the 600 cameras use the film cartridge battery to charge up the flash anytime the camera is open, I inadvertently ran the battery down. That apparently caused the shutter to stay open and I got a couple of completely white shots. For the first white shot (#6) it also didn’t completely eject. I got a nice abstract blue band where it got stuck in the rollers.

After that, I closed the camera down for a while and thought it’d be good for the last couple of shots in the film pack as long as I kept it closed most of the time. Wrong. For the next shot (#7) the shutter seemed to fire correctly and it ejected fine but when it developed, nada.

I will admit, I panicked at this point. Luckily a changing bag and an old empty film cartridge with a fresher battery saved my last shot. I had to transfer the unexposed film to the empty cartridge along with a dark slide on top. With the “new” cartridge in the camera, I took the last shot and held my breath until I saw an image developing. Phew! This was the first time I’d ever transferred unexposed instant film to another cartridge. Nothing like learning by fire.

As it turns out, I think the last shot might be my favorite of the bunch. The flares actually added a whole extraterrestrial visitation to the composition!

All in all, although I’m disappointed I lost two shots, I learned more than I expected and that’s always a good thing. At least that’s what I’ve been telling myself. I can’t wait to experiment more with this technique, but perhaps on my SX-70 where I can see the flares through the lens and don’t have to worry about the flash running the battery down.

Thanks to the Snap It, See It gang for this awesome project that’s giving lots of folks the world over the opportunity to experiment and play with instant film!


We’d like to thank Joann 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.


  1. Interesting concept! I’ve never tried the fishing wire, but when I had very long hair it used to blow in front of my lens every now and again with similar effects haha I’ll have to give the fishing wire a try some time!

  2. That’s interesting about the hair. I suppose if you don’t have fishing line around, hair could do. Good luck with your experiments!

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