In honor of ‘Roidweek 2014, we have a special Artist Spotlight for you today. You’ve all heard of the 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Well, if you are involved in the instant film community, chances are you have dealt with, been tweeted by, or seen work from Anne Bowerman/Polaroidgirl, or know someone who has. Anne is this communities Kevin Bacon. She is at the heart of it and has done more work promoting instant film on the daily than most people will do in a lifetime.
Working out of New York, Anne was one The Impossible Projects first US-based employees. I had the chance to meet her last October when I visited NYC and it was one of the highlights of my trip. Anne is an amazing person and we are so pleased to finally have her in the Spotlight. You can see more of her work and try to keep up with her on twitter at the following links.
• A little about yourself. Where you are from and what you do.
I grew up in Michigan but have lived in New York most of my life. I was one of the first US-based employees of Impossible and work there still! https://blog.the-
How did you get into instant photography?
I’d been noodling around with a Polaroid 600 camera but everything fell into place in 2006 when my friend Alison Garnett https://www.flickr.
What is your favorite camera used for instant photography?
My SX-70 (of course) followed closely by my 250 and my Colorpack. I also adore my Macro 5, my Dine 600 and my Instant Lab. My boyfriend and I have a pretty massive collection of cameras so I can always find something new to shoot with.
What instant camera have you not shot with, but would love to try?
Even though there’s an 8×10 camera in the Impossible office I’ve yet to shoot with it. I need to fix that soon!
What’s your favorite Impossible film or pack film type?
I have many favorites:
- The “magic batch” of PX70 film from December of 2011.
- NIGO PX-70 color frame film.
- PX600 Poor Pod film.
- American Woods film
- Pigeonhole film
- CHOCOLATE packfilm!
- Polaroid ID-UV film
- Polaroid 689 film
- TZ Artistic and Fade-to-Black
How have you incorporated instant film into your regular workflow?
Working for the company that produces instant film means I pretty much eat, sleep and breathe instant film!
How would you describe your voice or vision with instant photography? (does it differ from your other work?)
Even before I started working for Impossible instant film was my medium of choice. There’s something about the deliberate slowness that appeals to me. I think there’s a sense of melancholy in a lot of my photos that wouldn’t feel the same if I captured the same image digitally.
Any personal projects we should know about?
Two long-time projects are winding down simply because there’s not much left to photograph, Coney Island (I don’t like the new, sanitized version that exists today) and New York’s Flower District (most of the florists have been forced to move out of the city.)
Flower District https://www.flickr.
I recently purchased close to 200 “pin-up” slides from the 1940s and am using my macro lens to zoom in on details and deliberately distort parts of the image. I then use the instant lab to create an entirely new photo. I’ve also fallen in love with a photo app called Mextures http://www.mextures.
I’m also really into destroying my photos lately, I’ve been boiling, gluing and tearing them apart and I find it a most satisfying exercise. I’m not sure what that says about me 😉
What other photographers do you look up too?
Oh God, so many! Every day I’m lucky enough to spend time looking at amazing photos taken by photographers all over the world.
What advice would you give to someone just getting into instant photography?
Slow down, embrace the unexpected and don’t beat yourself up if your photos don’t look the way you think they should. There is such an amazing community of instant photographers and most of them are more than willing to answer questions and share their own experiences. While I’m partial to Impossible film I can’t recommend picking up a cheap, plastic packfilm camera as well. And finally, have fun! If your photo doesn’t look the way you like try creating a transparency or an emulsion lift with it instead.
Where does your inspiration come from? Do you seek it out or wait till it finds you?
I dream about photographs and techniques a lot and I’m trying to be better about writing them down and actually acting on them. I’m a voracious reader and I frequently find myself thinking about characters or passages from books when I’m taking photos. I collect found photographs and slides and make up stories about the subjects in each photo and those sometimes spin off into my own work.
I love wandering around the city very early in the morning, the quiet, empty streets allow me to focus on details that I would ordinarily miss later in the day. I have a collection of old, battered (some would say creepy) toys that I love photographing. Old buildings and run-down parts of the city make my camera much happier than nature photos.