The Power of the Polaroid (and photos in general)
By Steve Huff
I have been home for 3-4 days and am STILL going through my e-mails so sorry if you wrote and did not get a reply just yet. One of the emails included a link to a story with some pretty powerful images. All shot with a Polaroid…
I remember seeing this story a while ago and I may have even posted a link to a story about it but once I started digging into the images I realized this should have it’s own post.
This story is about a man named Jamie Livingston who for 18 years, took a Polaroid photograph every day. From 1979 to 1997 he documented his life up until it’s short end at 41 years old when he died of Cancer. It is a tragic story and being a sensitive guy, one that brought a tear to my eye as I browsed through all of his images. You can see them all HERE, and believe me, I sat here for hours looking at all of them. I am still jet lagged so my sleep schedule is all over the place right now :)
From 1995, Jamie even shot a few intimate moments at times..
Two weeks before his death he married his girlfriend, who can be seen in many of the previous shots he took
The last Polaroid. We do not know who shot it but it shows him just before his death in 1997. Age 41. My age.
Again, you can see the whole collection HERE and it is worth taking a look at when you have some time. As I browsed through them I was reminded of the power of photography. The power of life, love, friends and family. Those we spend time with while on this rather short journey we all have on this planet. There have been a couple of events in my life that made me take a step back and realize I have to live life like every day is the last, because ANY day could be my last.
Photography, wether shooting stills or video/film is the one medium that will record our lives for our kids and their kids to see. Magic. Sometimes the stories will be happy, sometimes they will be sad. There will be challenges and there will be triumphs. But to remember all of these times we should all be snapping away every day! If you are reading this I KNOW you have the gear to do so!
I just created a folder on my desktop called “daily” and while I may not take a shot every single day, I am going to try and snap a shot of what is going on in my life at least every other day. I will use my Iphone and Hipstamatic and hopefully I will live at least another 20 years so I can look back at my life with a smile, some tears and even some laughter.
This story also was relevant to me because just recently I toured the Leica Shop in Vienna and was amazed to see the Polaroid Impossible exhibit. Getting to see Ansel Adams ORIGINAL Polaroid of his self portrait..how cool is that? When I was there with Seal he picked up a couple of really cool SX-70 cameras. I am kicking myself for not buying one myself but I may buy one online here really soon. The new films are pretty special but my fave is the black frame B&W.
You just gotta love Polaroids. My 1st camera was a Polaroid back when I was a kid and I LOVED that camera but the damn film was so expensive it was a rare treat when I was able to get a new pack of the magical instantly developing goodness. I used to burn through that film like mad, irritating everyone in my path. I think I have some of those Polaroids somewhere and will dig them up one day but in all reality, most of the photography in my youth was shot with a cheap 110 film camera :)
It’s funny, I always disliked when photos were shot of me so I would do silly things when my Mother or Father would snap one of me..
I have a bunch of photos from my teen years in boxes. Maybe one day I will scan a few and share them with you…some funny stuff. That is another magical part of photography. SHARING. We all love to shoot and share which is what really makes this hobby special. Facebook, Flickr, forums…these days PHOTOS ARE EVERYWHERE. I love it.
So the moral of the story? Memories are priceless…shoot whenever you can. Shoot life. Shoot love. Shoot YOU. Until next time…
My only two looks. Mean or Goofy :)