Archive for January, 2009

Just testing blogging photos from my phone to opalfruits.net through flickr.

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This is the big pile of film I’ve accumulated from ebay to use with my new film cameras.

I don’t really do new year’s resolutions but this year I’ve decided I’d like to take more photos so I’ve bought a few film cameras (a polaroid and two 35mm) to mix things up a bit and I’ve set up a photoblog to encourage me to keep going with it. You can see the latest photo from the photoblog in the sidebar on the right and you can head over there to see how I’m getting on so far.

(Also using this to test blogging from my flickr account following the server move)

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Interesting (as usual) piece from George Monbiot in today’s Guardian about the whole “cash for laws” scandal…

So the circle is closed. The government that won a landslide in 1997 after Tory MPs were revealed to have taken cash for parliamentary questions now faces far graver allegations: cash for laws. Along the way, almost every policy that distinguished it from John Major’s corrupt and pointless regime has been abandoned.

Read more here…

Tony Blair was the Obama of his day when he was first elected, offering change from an unpopular government. Let’s hope the new President can leave a more popular legacy.

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Unicycling pandas? Whatever next?

Polar bears in the Thames, that’s what.

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My Polaroid one600 was delivered today (I’m sure if eBay died it would take Royal Mail with it). Here it is…

polaroid-one600

A few blemishes as you can see but it came loaded with a film pack that had one shot left in it so I used it to make sure it was working after its journey, the result of which you can see on my photo blog.

Coincidentally, Polaroid was in world news as well as Jon news today as a company in the Netherlands have bought one of Polaroids factories with all the contents, hired some ex-Polaroid employees and are hoping to restart production of integral film. Their website suggests that they won’t be manufacturing 600 film (probably the most used Polaroid film) but will be creating something new. Seems like a mistake to shun all the people who’ll be hoping to get fresh film for their old cameras but if they can create something good perhaps they can persuade that market to transfer over to their new integral film format (and sell them all new cameras while they’re at it).

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I bought a Polaroid 600 camera yesterday! I think I might be a little behind the times since they stopped making the film for it (the iconic square film with a white border) last year. Fortunately there’s still remainder stock available on ebay so I decided I’d get in at the end before the world says goodbye to Polaroids forever.

As photography options go Polaroids have been doomed for quite a while. The film cartridges themselves now cost around £15 each on eBay and can only produce 10 photos. The photos they produce are generally lacking in sharpness and contrast. All this makes for expensive, poor quality photos compared to digital (or even standard 35mm film). Unlike your standard camera, a Polaroid 600* camera doesn’t have it’s own battery and is instead powered from a battery within the film cartridge. This and the fact that the chemicals in the film dry out mean that there’s probably no use stockpiling the remaining stock as it will not survive in the same way that expired 35mm film can.

mondaine_pola_sm

All that said there is something brilliant about Polaroids which is worth celebrating and will be missed. You take a photo and 90 seconds later you are holding it in your hand. Even the top of the range digital SLRs can’t do that**!  And though objectively the quality is poor there’s something special about a Polaroid. We all recognise a Polaroid and the associated foibles and that photo taken in that moment is totally unique – you can’t reprint a Polaroid. That photo becomes part of the grand history of the Polaroid name such as Warhol’s celebrity portraits, Hockney’s composites, 18 years of one man’s life and special or random moments from the lives of  thousands of others. It’s a moment in time instantly and irreversably recorded, printed and preserved. It’s hard to get that enthusiastic about a digital photo which comes and goes at the press of a button.

Also I like the way it makes everything look like it’s in the seventies!

So this year is (probably) the last year of the Polaroid era and it’s the first and likely only year of my Polaroid era so I’ll be trying to capture some of this years’ significant events on instant film as well as digital. This is our last chance to appear in that lob-sided square frame.

* There are many Polaroid cameras with various brand names that all take 600 film – there is an interesting guide to them here.

** Unless you couple them with Polaroid’s attempt at staying afloat, the PoGo. Apparently Polaroid had plans to release a digital camera with the PoGo technology incorporated within it but that looks a bit unlikely now they’ve filed for bankruptcy (again). I imagine the proprietary printer paper for the PoGo will disappear soon too.

(Photo Note: that’s my arm and my lovely new watch that Helen gave me for Christmas but it’s not a real Polaroid)

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yesmanHelen and I went to see Yes Man on Saturday. I haven’t laughed in a film as much for quite a long time. It is a bit of a formulaic rom-com and it’s not really anything clever but it is good entertainment. The unusual pairing of Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel is very enjoyable and interesting to watch and the script is sharp and well-paced for the most part. The product placements got a little annoying early on in the film and the ending seemed quite rushed but overall it was a film that made me happy I’d seen it.

If you’re one of those people who still primarily associates Jim Carrey with The Mask and Ace Ventura, I suggest you watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind before you watch Yes Man. He’s not the one-trick-pony many of the critics paint him as.

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