Artist Spotlight: Lisa Toboz

feature_ltobozWe are back on the blog with another Artist Spotlight. If you are new to the blog, this is a weekly feature, where we spotlight photographers and artist that are inspiring others with there instant film work.

This week, the spotlight is on Pittsburgh based photographer Lisa Toboz. We have been following Lisa’s work on Instagram and Flickr for some time now. I always look forward to the images she produces on her walks through the city.  To see more of Lisa’s work, please visit the following links.

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Flickr

How did you get into instant photography?

In 2010, photographer Juli Werner encouraged me to shoot Polaroid after we connected via flickr, and was very kind to give me my first Spectra camera with a pack of early Impossible film. My husband Jeff was super encouraging in those early stages too, buying me film, picking up cameras for me at flea markets, and now, stopping the car on long drives so I can get that one shot. Prior to instant photography, I was shooting 35 mm, then digital for a few years. Instant film bridges analog with the immediacy of digital, so it felt like a natural next step in my photographic voice.

What is your favorite camera used for instant photography?

My Spectra System – nothing beats the rich colors it captures and the timer – and my SLR680.

What instant camera have you not shot with, but would love to try?

The Polaroid Pathfinder 110A.

What’s your favorite Impossible film or pack film type?

The latest Spectra/Image film has the most amazing color and detail. I also love the 600 silver and gold frames.

How have you incorporated instant film into your regular workflow?

Lately, instant photography is my primary workflow. Aside from a wedding ceremony I shot in January, I haven’t used my digital camera (I did sneak in an instant shot though, despite the cold!).

How would you describe your voice or vision with instant photography? (Does it differ from your other work?)

Instant film has made me a more careful photographer. With only eight or 10 frames a pack, it forces me to be more efficient, to compose with consideration. I am more in tune with temperature and weather conditions, which can affect the film. I am constantly chasing light. I love the timelessness that instant film lends to images. I treat each frame as a film still, and I often shoot a pack as a contained series or project.

Any personal projects we should know about?

I’m working on Letters from the Rust Belt, a self-published photo book, and recently, Jeff and I collaborated on a sound, text, and Polaroid project about Homestead, Pennsylvania for Contraphonic Sound Series, which will be out later this year.

What other photographers do you look up too?

I love Duane Michals’s photo sequences; Bertien Van Manen’s intimate portraits of friends and family; Corinne May Botz’s Haunted Houses; and Rinko Kauwachi for making the ordinary extraordinary.

What advice would you give to someone just getting into instant photography?

Have patience: the best lighting times to shoot Impossible film is early morning or late afternoon. Save all your mistakes: I often go back to my crappy shots and use them as teaching tools. Take time to stop in your day and capture that image you may have been putting off: you never know what story will emerge.

Where does your inspiration come from? Do you seek it out or wait till it finds you?

I find inspiration in my vintage photography collection, 70s movies, the road trips we take, and Jeff’s surreal, haunting paintings. Pittsburgh drives the narrative in my work. I love taking walks around my neighborhood and throughout the city, finding ghost signs, crumbling factories, or old houses I never noticed before, so I can capture them all on instant film – the closest thing to time travel.


  1. I love the images she chose for this and feel lucky that I get to see all of the others as they develop. I’m always amazed at how she captures The Pittsburgh areas, making them feel like timeless stills from other countries and other worlds.

  2. These are fabulous! I love that I can see her personality and the things she finds inspiring right there in her work. One of my fav spotlights yet. Cheers!

  3. I love how Lisa is able to capture beauty in the parts of the city that most people overlook or even discard. She has a great eye.

Speak Your Mind