Jan 12, 2013

Polaroid stories

For my birthday this summer, Mom and Dad bought me a Polaroid camera! I love how I can use it to capture and remember stories that I normally wouldn't. Like the first time we took a picture with it, I remember how the white film slid out and scared the dog, and we all stood around looking over each other's shoulders expectantly, and then suddenly a ghost of a picture appeared and darkened and we all oohed at the magic. 

Or the story about four fail photos I took with the camera, the flops needed to learn how the camera worked:

L: Summertime. Sun shines through the leaves rustling in the warm breeze, shadows dapple through the open windows, air breathes through the curtains, the sound of a cicada buzzes. The automatic flash washes out all the cool shadows and dappled light, but the feeling of summer remains in the photo regardless.

R: Early fall, Mom is making applesauce and the house smells of warm apples and cinnamon. The flash washes out the apples in the foreground and darkens mom in the back, but in memory the scent of autumn remains. 


L: Hot borscht soup, steaming in the autumn light, a good book lying to the side, a feeling of contentment. The camera doesn't pick up the steam and the background is too dark. 
But the moment is still quiet. 

R: 1940's ball. The dark sky is sparkling with brilliant stars. Laughter, music, and light swirl out of the building into the darkness, bringing a feeling of home. The camera picks up next to none of that light; it is but a black rectangle of memories. 


Those stories were about learning. Learning how the camera doesn't do well with crazy lighting or intricate subjects, light and shadows.

But ahhh, now the plot thickens! Because now I have learned the camera. And now not only does it capture memories, but beautiful photos as well! 

L: The boat skips and jounces across the water, wind whipping and drying lake water in my hair, and I realize I have missed the way the sun sparkles on the ripples. I learn how to water ski today - and only face plant twice, water up my nose and down my throat, coughs and splutters. And then after all the water and splashes and laughing with friends and sun in our eyes and screaming and skiing and tubing through the "circles of death", the sun sets hazy lavender and we take pictures on the dock, tiredness creeping behind our eyes. 
And then we climb into the boat, now hitched behind the car, and ride in the boat down the road and through the park.

R: I sit with Nicole next to the campfire in the backyard on a cold October evening. We wrap up in blankets and sip hot cider and then slowly, silently, it begins to snow and flakes catch in our hair and blow quietly under the street lamps. The next day the world is cozy, and white covers the warm fall colors. 


I'm knitting a cowl for my sister, and something suddenly possesses me. I shove the cowl onto my dad's head, the knitting needles still hanging off the back, and then I simply need to take a picture because he looks ridiculous. :)


L: Gianna visits for the weekend, and we go swing dancing and learn how to Charleston, and I introduce her to Les Miserables and the movie Pride and Prejudice, and she introduces me to Princess Bride, and we go for walks and play tag with random children on the playground, and she plays "cajoled" in scrabble for 74 points and we compose witty texts together and watch the Three Little Pigs - Shakespeare version and quote it hilariously over the rest of the weekend, and I open my birthday present 3 months late and we top off the weekend with Tutti Frutti and Polaroids!

R: The long wait is over. We are going on an adventure! The Hobbit has come to theaters! A friend comes along and everyone teases me when I claim the color of the theater walls look like "salmon sorbet", and the movie is magical and Bilbo is perfection and Ori doesn't like green food and my sis and I both notice that Gandalf is wearing contacts. :)


L: I'm exhausted. I stay home while the family goes out. I read and pray and drink tea and snuggle with the doggy and a blanket on the floor. Finally I stand up and when I come back I find Elssa still wrapped in the blanket, looking adorable enough for a picture. :)

R: Minnesota winters so cold that the dog and I have to share the heating vent. 

All these stories, developed and preserved before my eyes. Instant, tangible, fun, magical, colorful, nostalgic. Yep, I'm a fan. :)

Polaroid 300 Instant Camera
Takes 300 Instant Film and Fujifilm Instax Mini Film


  1. Ahhhh. I got a nice, long description. We did pack a lot of fun into that weekend, din't we? I still treasure my little Polaroid gift.

  2. Awesome. I love how shots like these always have stories to go along with them. It's one of the beautiful things about film, I think - less photos but so many more memories attached to them.
    (And The Hobbit was magical! Bilbo was incredible - Martin Freeman is pretty much the perfect actor to play him, in my opinion).

  3. Lovely, lovely. I like it a lot. Now I'm jealous and I want a Polaroid.

  4. I loooove these pictures. And of course the stories behind them. And haha, your dad with that cowl! He looks super funny :) I have a polaroid camera also, but we barely use it, since film is so expensive.. Such a shame, really.


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