Sunday, February 10, 2008

the beauty of the polaroid

You might be asking yourself "why should an illustrator care about a camera?"

That's a good question, I asked myself the same thing when I picked up my polaroid camera the other day and spent $12 on film for 20 shots. I've known for a while that I wanted to use photography in my illustration work but I hadn't fine tuned the approach to the point where I felt comfortable putting some work out into the world. As a former fine art photographer I knew that I didn't want my shots to have too much realism and I certainly didn't want the perfection of a digital camera. On a recent trip to pick up coffee at my favorite coffee shop, I drove out to Old Town Leesburg (in Virginia) and figured I'd snap a few instant pics while I was out there...just to see what happens. I left the town with about 8 shots, about half of which had nice compositions and the best lighting/contrast that could be expected. For those of you that have ever shot with a polaroid instant camera, you know how difficult it is to crop in camera and obtain reasonable lighting conditions! But that's why I chose a polaroid camera instead of a digital camera; the slightly out of focus image, the slightly desaturated subject, the expected and unexpected imperfections.

In addition to my Leesburg shots, I took some shots around my apartment and then got to work on fine tuning my illustration approach using photography. Of course, I ruined half of the photos and left a few teetering on the fence between perfect and "headed for the trash" but there were a few that made it to final artwork status.

Having said that, here are two pieces that I consider to be finished...

subject/concept: "what's missing?..."
materials: pen and prismacolor marker on polaroid film

subject/concept: "it's still winter"
materials: pen and prismacolor marker on polaroid film

I have about six others that I'm still working on so I'll post those when they're complete.

© 2008 joe blend. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

Heather said...


What type of polaroid is it? if you can find a cheap one - get an sx70 some film (i'll have to look it up and post again for you) for it. when the image starts to "develop" you can take a semi shape object - like a stylus and move the icky stuff under it around warping the image...and then imagine what you could create with your pen and prisma markers after that!

Heather Whiting