Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Trip to Amsterdam

My first trip outside the U. S. with my Polaroid camera was a week-long trip to Amsterdam. The trip was in November and the weather was a bit cooler than San Francisco. I was excited about the photo ops I'd find and I was traveling with a friend who was an amateur photographer. I find it's difficult to travel with someone who doesn't enjoy taking photographs along the way because we move at totally different paces—especially when I'm shooting with the Polaroid and having to manipulate the image immediately after I shoot. It's difficult for me because I feel rushed and it's hard for my companion because she's having to wait for me to finish what I'm doing.

While in Amsterdam, I learned that my SX-70 film wasn't as cooperative is it had been in San Francisco. The colder temperatures made my film set up more quickly and I wasn't able to move the emulsion around as easily. I found a German made hand warmer that solved my dilemma. It used small sticks of charcoal which would burn for about 2 hours. I would lite it first thing in the morning and put it into my coat pocket. When I would find a subject I wanted to photograph, I'd take the photo and immediately put the developing shot into my pocket to warm the chemistry between the mylar and film back. In a minute or two, it would be ready for me to "paint" on with my small sculpting tools, then I could move the emulsion around to get the desired effect. It was always magical for me to see how I could create a painting on this small photograph. People on the street would often stop to watch and ask me what I was doing. Great conversation starter!

Here are a few more fauxtographs of Amsterdam.

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