It isn’t every day that a new, true Polaroid-format instant camera is born. To celebrate the launch of the I-1 Instant Analog Camera, and eight years of work since purchasing a Polaroid facility, the The Impossible Project launched a three-tiered artistic onslaught. First, they equipped a series of well-known creators with the I-1. Second, they debuted the world’s largest photo swap and invited the general public to participate. And third, they’re presenting the Impossible Project 8 in Berlin. The latter, an exhibition of instant photography sometimes blown to larger-than-life-size, sees the likes of Sigur Ros, Alison Mosshart, photographer Piotr Zbierski and more showcase work they’ve produced on the I-1. Together, the works are a clear reminder of the magnificent nature of the format.
The Project 8 exhibition touches upon the notion of “untold instant stories.” A goal for all the makers was to demonstrate why the medium continues to matter, and how diverse the tales it tells can be. Portraits abut landscapes. Soft focus tingles in opposition to the brutal crispness of other imagery. Photographer Emily Soto captures the feminine form and whimsical architecture. The Sigur Ros image defies space and time. The entries are as varied as the creators themselves.
Previous Impossible makers showing at the exhibition include Jack White (whose ghostly, yellow-tinged images are below) and acclaimed fashion photographer and director Ellen Von Unwerth (whose work appears above). The entire list of featured artists and their contributions are visible online, accompanied by the brief (if any) that they received. These briefs ranged from “This no longer exists” to “A beautiful thing I saw today.” A primary takeaway: these aren’t nostalgic pieces. In fact, the medium updates itself with present day exploration, even in the case of anachronism-dodging set-ups.
It’s worth talking further about the I-1 camera which retails for $350 and comes complete with three packs of Impossible I-type film. It’s also compatible with 600 type film. Yes, at the core, this is a point-and-click instant camera, but there’s also a diffused light flash ring (which Impossible suggests is good for portraiture). Further, the I-1 sports a manual mode that lets users take control of shutter speed and aperture. And, being in the age of digital, it can also connect to the Impossible iOS or Android app. These accompanying apps allow for even more creative exploration—including double exposure and light painting. So, there’s really nothing quite like it.
“Project 8” is running now through 22 October at The Impossible Project Laboratory in Berlin. There’s more than art here, however: instant photography workshops will run throughout the exhibition.The physical photo swap portion of the event is now closed to entrants, but those who submitted work will receive their exchange in the weeks following the exhibition’s close.
Images courtesy of The Impossible Project