The Spring 2020 Polaroid Week went down, as usual (I think), in the last week of April, and I started a day or two late and ended up rushing through most of every pack on the last day… Now, two weeks later, I still haven’t scanned everything, but I’m itching to share some photographs for a change, so let’s go!

I shot four different instant media in four different cameras during Polaroid Week: Polaroid Originals 600 in the Polaroid Impulse SE; Instax Mini Monochrome in the LC-Anstax; Instax Wide in the Fuji Instax Wide 300; and… that last one will be a surprise at some future point, once I get the photos scanned and some other things taken care of.

All cameras performed as expected, more or less; and I was once again partly disappointed with the Polaroid Originals and LC-Anstax. I store Polaroid Originals film in the fridge, often for a few months before I shoot it, and lately I’ve been getting these lines across some or all frames. I suspect it’s something to do with the refrigeration, but don’t know. And the LC-Anstax exposure has been off lately. I took the instant back off and loaded a roll of film into the LC-A and it seems to be exposing properly so far (at least the shutter sounds about right), and probably won’t be messing with the LC-Anstax again, not unless or until I pick up a new Chinese-made LC-A+. Similarly, once I get through the four packs of Polaroid I have in the fridge, I’ll probably be buying packs only as I need them and mostly shooting Instax Wide instead. The LC-Wide is just that good.

I mean, I really love the Impulse SE and the square Polaroid format, but I really can’t stand the strange results I get. Maybe it’s not storage… maybe there’s something up with the rollers? I’ll give them a clean again and see. Maybe shoot a pack in the OneStep and see if it has similar issues.

Honestly, shooting these felt like a chore. I haven’t been feeling the photography much for the past year or so. I sometimes start rolls all gung ho, and then they languish in the camera for weeks or months. My FP4+Party roll in the Zero Image 6 x 9 is sitting on frame 10 now, many weeks in. smh. I loaded a roll of 220 into the 6×7 back and started shooting selfies with the 4×5 back in 2018 and I’m maybe halfway through the roll. And the more I do this, the worse I feel about photography; and the worse I feel about photography, the more I do this. I should probably talk to somebody; this is probably evidence of some depression. But I won’t.

I just hope to dig myself out of all this funk sometime. Clearing my debts helped a ton, like a huge amount, and I thought I glimpsed the sunshine for a moment… then I was reminded of my darling, adorable wife’s student loans, and, well, I still owe a few thousand on my car. So the clouds are still dark; I can no longer see the sky.

Alhamdulillah. I did get a pretty good picture of my darling wife. And Alhamdulillah my debt is not huge, I’m still employed with no change at all due to the present (as of May 2020) Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak and quarantine, and I’m healthy enough of body and mind to continue, however haltingly, to shoot and write, and may Allah keep me that way.

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  1. A few things. First, I suspect the banding on your Polaroid print is due to some roller malfunction, not the film itself. Just a hunch based on my experience with similar banding in Instax prints. Speaking of, please ditch all the Polaroid/Impossible stuff already and switch to Instax which superior in every way. Not sure why Polaroid even bothers anymore or what the attraction to it is. But anyway, as long as you’re switching over to Instax, and feeling stuck in a photo rut, I suggest trying out the little Macro attachment which comes with the camera. It’s a TON of fun. Leave it on your camera for a week and see what happens. Just an idea, no promises, but maybe worth a shot. Or 50 or 100 shots.

    1. You’re absolutely right about the banding, Blake and thanks! I cleaned the rollers and all is well with the world.

      As far as Impossible/Polaroid Originals/Polaroid goes, I shot original Polaroid in the 1990s and 00s, and was sad when it went away. When my mom purged some photo stuff, I ended up with a nice Impulse SE and after reading all the bad reviews, shot a few packs of Impossible Project, but only years after they got going, after they poisoned most everyone’s opinion with the Fade to Black and other garbage. I’ve never had anything but good luck with the film, really.

      Sure, I don’t clean the rollers often enough and am quick to blame Impossible/Polaroid Originals/Polaroid, but really the film is fine. It’s not good old Polaroid, but it’s been stable and reasonably dependable for several years now. It has problems, sure, but it’s not the garbage fire it used to be. I keep shooting it now partly because I really like the camera and partly out of nostalgia. The Impulse line just feels right to me in a way that the Instax Wide 300 doesn’t.

      And speaking of Instax, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with the Instant Back for my LC-A: love it when I expose it properly, but I so rarely am able to. I hated the Lomo’Instant Square, or, hate is a strong word, really didn’t get along with it at all and the Instax Square format just makes me want to shoot Polaroid. And I unquestionably love the Fuji Instax Wide 300 and the Wide format itself. I had some fun with the close-up lens, but sorta forgot about it until you mentioned it. Thanks!

      I think going forward, it will be Instax Wide for me first, with a bit of Polaroid on the side, at least until I shoot through the 3.9 packs I have on hand.

      Thanks so much for reading and giving your thoughts!