Saving a badly-exposed Polaroid-a good thing.

I hardly ever do it, and I don't even really agree with it, unless I'm feeling frustrated with my Polaroid. It happens. Bad shot after bad shot, money going down the drain, it happens. Sad, but true. I am definitely not a film/analog elitist, (I don't think I'm an elitist anything) and far from a digi-hater. I actually like Photoshop. There. I said it. I try very hard not to use it though, as I feel really awesome when photos are great SOC (straight-out-of camera), whether analog or digital.

I love using the manual setting with my digital (Olympus PEN E-PL1). It's super-fun, seriously, but these are not digital shots, these are Polaroids. (Were Polaroids) I saved them from nothingness, from being dismissed by me and the viewer, aka you. Whether an exposure issue, or a composition issue, I believe it's all good to use whatever means necessary to make an image special.

That said, it's never, ever okay to try to fool others about process, in my humble opinion. Meaning it's not cool to be dishonest and pretend that any particular photo just came out that way if it didn't. I don't understand why anyone would want to be dishonest about their art anyway. Aren't we all searching for truth to some extent? Process is such an important part of creating an image, might as well own up to it, that's what I say.

Photoshopped Polaroid print (Fujifilm FP-100b)


Photoshopped Polaroid print, (Fujifilm FP-100c)



  1. I love the fixed up profile portrait. The one of Bee's feet on the wall is cute and I like both the original and the fixed up one.

    I agree with your sentiments - what's the point in being dishonest about the process? But I don't know that it's really important to talk much about the process either, is it?

    In the normal case, the result is all that matters. How one gets there is secondary, if even that. I guess the exception to all this is that by saying something is a polaroid, by displaying it as such, you are inherently, implicitly declaring the process (since most everyone knows what that means). And here, after you've scanned, you've had to do some photoshop "fix ups" because the film's output was so poor. That makes sense. And I agree that declaring it is a good thing. Though I really don't think one needs to make a big deal out of it, or apologize either.

    I wonder though. If your scanner had an "auto adjust" feature and if it was enabled (maybe by default?) and this feature did most of what you've done, would you feel you needed to declare it was enabled? ;)

    This kind of harks back to comments I've made elsewhere (not to you, I think) ... is it more "pure" (or whatever) if one applies "art" filters in a camera verses doing the same work on the computer with PS?


  2. I went to bed thinking about that, too, Larry...about the flip side-just not saying anything at all...leaving an image without explanation-it is what it is. I think it's just really relative. I know of several artists/photographers who do not share exif data, or any other info on technique, and I respect that as well.

    I mean, amongst peers, why state the obvious, anyway. Discussions about technique can be made via direct enquiries. Yeah. I am one of those people who is fascinated by process, especially regarding the psychological aspects of things-what makes an artist make this decision or that-and it spills over to the technical side.

    Being in art school makes me want to talk about process...all the critiques, ect...sometimes the process is more interesting than the final image, and sometimes knowing more information about a pieces development makes it more interesting, too.

    Yes, it's all just relative. :)