We are back on the blog with another Artist Spotlight. If you are new to the blog, this is a feature, where we spotlight photographers and artist that are inspiring others with there instant film work. We try to provide our readers with a new spotlight each week, but we apologize that we have missed a few. Believe us, we have interviews out, but it’s a busy time of year for a lot of people and getting them back can take time. If you would like to be featured or know of someone you would like to see on the blog, drop us a line. We love putting people in the spotlight!
This week, the spotlight is on California photographer, Cromwell Schubarth. We found Cromwell through our Instagram feed and Flickr. We loved the images he is posting with instant film and we have featured his work in our Featured Friday post. His Flickr and Instagram feeds are amazing and full of inspiration. Please take a moment and check out his feeds on social media and show him some love.
• A little about yourself. Where you are from and what you do.
At work I am a digital shooter and on my own time I am mostly analog.
How did you get into instant photography?
Like I said I grew up with instant cameras. My dad started at Polaroid in the early 1960s in their copy department and I remember him being at work almost constantly from sometime in October until into December because that is when all the orders for Polaroid Christmas cards would come in. There are, of course, annual shots of me and my sisters from those days in a box somewhere.
He then started traveling to wherever Polaroid was setting up a new copy service, making sure that went smoothly and finally shifted to quality control so that he could spend more time with his family. This is when I remember him bringing home all the new test cameras and films.
My first camera, I think, was the Swinger and I later had an SX 70 and a Reporter. But from sometime in the mid-1970s until just a few years ago all of my Polaroid cameras sat in the closet. I just got restarted with instant when I started playing with a Diana with an instant back about four years ago. I discovered what Impossible was doing and pulled one my long-dormant cameras off the shelf and fell in love again.
Ironically, my wife had been playing around with Polaroid transfers about 12 years ago and we had 15 or so expired pack films stored in our fridge that we even hauled across country with us. So I found a Polaroid 250 and started having fun with that.
What is your favorite camera used for instant photography?
It is very hard for me to say which is my favorite, but the ones I go back to most often are the 250, SLR 680 and lately the 670m.
What’s your favorite Impossible film or pack film type?
I love the expired peel apart films and can’t get enough of them. I have had relatively good luck, knock on wood, with buying them online and the ones we kept in the fridge all those years have been fine. Not knowing what is going to develop is part of the fun and I always try to peel these backwards to keep the interesting borders and chemicals in the shot.
I also love the soon-to-be expired FP3000B. I will miss being able to use that in low light and night shots when it goes.
With my Spectra, my favorite film is black frame B&W. The wide shot with all that black border just seems right.
I specially like the Giallo Duotone test film I shot recently with the 680 and hope Impossible makes that a permanent member of their film family. And while they are at it, how about a Chocolate clone?
How have you incorporated instant film into your regular workflow?
I was trying to capture the feel of snapshots from their era.
How would you describe your voice or vision with instant photography? (does it differ from your other work?)
I am discovering my “vision” as I go along, finding that some themes are starting to pile up as I go along.
What other photographers do you look up too?
There are too many on Flickr, Instagram and other online sites to mention, although I have said before that one who inspired me early on when I rediscovered instants was Penny Felts. I would put The Gentleman Amateur on Flickr in there, too, and am happy to see some new postings from him recently. I often go back to “The Polaroid Book” by Taschen for inspiration and I just recently got “The Polaroid Years” about experimentation done with Polaroids over the years. Bot provide lots of inspiration.
What advice would you give to someone just getting into instant photography?
My advice to anybody interested in instant photography is to just go out there and start shooting. Don’t worry too much about vision and inspiration. It will come the more you shoot.