ArtistSpotlight: Maija Karisma

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 their instant film work. We try to provide our readers with a new spotlight each week, so 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 Finnish photographer, Maija Karisma. We came across Maija’s work in the Flickr pool and fell in love. Working mainly with expired Polaroid film, we just can’t get enough of  the cool tones of 669. As always, we wanted to know a little more about the person behind the camera.  Please take a moment and check out Maija’s other feeds on social media and show some love.

Flickr | Blog | Tumblr

Tell us a little about yourself. Where you are from and what you do. 


Hello All! Working under the pseudonym Maija Karisma, I’m self-taught photographer from Forssa, Finland. I have two sons, two cats and an awesome life partner with which it is wonderful to live. I work as an art teacher with children and young people.  When I take time for myself, I  like to do graffiti and street art, sometimes I juggle, and of course photography, particularly instant photography This is how I enjoy life. J


How did you get into instant photography?


I think I was about 15 years old when I saw for the first time an instant camera. That was in a movie, I do not remember what movie it was but the moment was magical. Seeing the instant camera and frame developing to a tangible image, it was an unforgettable moment. After ten years, I saw a camera shop that sold polaroid cameras. Immediately I bought my own magic box, it was Polaroid 636 close up. Thinking it was -95. I did not know at that time anything about instant cameras but an unforgettable, magical moment forced me to acquire own magic box and led me to the world of Polaroid.



What is your favorite camera used for instant photography?


I like many cameras, each have pros and cons. At the moment,  my favorites and most used are the SX 70, Graflex Grown Graphic, Polaroid 180 and Polaroid 100. Each of them uses a different format film and I like the different types of films because each film has its own unique flavor.



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


I can certainly say that it is any one of 8×10 and 20×24 camera.



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


It’s hard to say at the moment my favorite. I like them all. I use mainly outdated polaroid films and less Impossiple film, but that too more and more. Perhaps blue tinted films like 669, 108 and ID-UV are my favorite. If it would be possible I would like use a lot more time-Zero film.


How have you incorporated instant film into your regular workflow?

I’m trying to photograph a regular basis in particular instant film. I try at least once a week to the day taking photographs and whenever I can find the time and ideas, or situations arise.


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


Definitely different than my digital images or paintings. At the same time they also have similarities. I do not think about it very much I travel just with feelings, ideas and the surrounding world. Maybe I’m still searching the right voice and vision or I just don’t know how to express myself in words. Perhaps the other is easier to describe my work.


Any personal projects we should know about?


Shooting as much as possible and dreaming of my own exhibition and photo book. While it would be quite easy and possible to realize my dreams,  I’m not sure whether Finland feels the same way about the Polaroid photography culture than, say, Germany or France. People have perhaps too little interest in this matter. Let’s see what time brings. In any case, I enjoy using instant film and I will use it aslong as possible or interest is enough and it is suitable for my expression.



What other photographers do you look up too?


There are a lot of photographers who take great pictures. There are hundreds of whose work I look up to. So no need to mention names. Flickr,, Tumblr, Facebook, etc. are certainly places I find what to watch.



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


Just stop it! Stop it right now!!! Instant photography will take all your money and time! No, just kidding. 🙂 Read and learn as much as you can all about instant cameras and films. Then try different cameras and films, different techniques. Only that way you can know whether it is suitable for you form of expression. It is not the cheapest form of photography, so be prepared to spend a bit of money. Respect each shot you take. Plan your image, this is not a digital blasting. Every missed shot costs but misses happen. Keep shooting and enjoy.



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


It comes with everything that surrounds me. Movies, music, photos, environments, thoughts and feelings, other art forms etc. I think that little bit of both depending on the situation.

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