Polaroid emulsion

Light and my skin reflecting off the surface of an all-black Polaroid.

I call these photos Polaroid self-portraits.

Before my father died, he gave me the family camera – the first camera I ever used. It’s a Polaroid 360 Land Camera, bought in 1969, when I was 10 years old.

The flash unit had quit years before, but Dad was pretty sure the camera still worked. I bought a couple packs of Fuji film for the Polaroid – and then the whole project sat in my closet for almost four years.

 

Last week, inspired by some experimental photos that I saw online, I decided to dig out the camera. Loading it and getting the film to pull out without jamming took me awhile. Then the first six photos I took with the color film were solid black. I finally figured out how to change the battery controlling the electric eye, and got a few shots. Nothing worth posting here, yet.

But, in trying to remember what it is that makes Polaroids special, I studied the film emulsion on those all-black shots.

Light and my skin reflecting off the surface of an all-black Polaroid.

Light and my skin reflecting off the surface of an all-black Polaroid.

As I began to turn and fold the print, bent light caught my skin tones, the camera body, the overhead lamp … and creased them into abstract shapes.

I got out my Pentax K10D and started shooting.