In its heyday, the Polaroid was a staple of family travels, getaways near and far and countless road trips. So, it’s not surprising that today’s film photographers still bring Polaroid cameras — vintage or otherwise — to their scenic adventures.
Among them is Portland-based photographer and visual artist Brendon Burton, who documented a decade’s worth of travels in moody Polaroid snaps.
As a film photographer and instant photography fan, I was over the moon when I spotted this collection. I’ve always loved seeing various projects shot on Polaroid, and the travel aspect made it even more interesting for me. If you’re looking to capture your travel memories on instant film, I’m sure this body of work will give you ideas.
The road to the Polaroid experience
When it comes to nostalgic imagery, the look of film photography is hard to beat. This is likely became apparent to Burton early, as he started shooting film as a teenager growing up in an isolated town in Southern Oregon.
“I shot on 35mm film exclusively and mostly just photographed my friends in the strange places we would explore together, as there wasn’t much else to do in such a remote place.”
His instant photography adventure began before graduating from college, when he found a Polaroid 600 in a thrift store. Soon enough, he realized that he had to make something worthwhile with this medium. “They were expensive as Impossible Project had just started, so every photo had to be very worth it.”
Immortalizing memories in an instant
“I just always seemed to have a few with me, and it’s quite addicting to get such a result so quickly,” Burton said on how he ended up shooting 10 years’ worth of travel memories in Polaroid. To me, this summarizes the magic that Edwin Land envisioned when he came up with the idea for an instant camera — a medium ahead of its time and changed the way the world saw photography forever.
“It feels incredibly genuine to have a photo created entirely within the moment in which you take it.” he added There are no embellishments you can make after, it feels truly like the most pure way to capture a moment.”
Today, film photographers turn to Polaroid cameras for the unique mood it adds to a scenic view or a striking moment. For Burton, immortalizing his memories this way also allows him to bring an extra layer of creative mood for his work in general.
“I think it adds an element of stress at times as they are extremely sensitive to heat and cold but getting one that perfectly represents the feeling of the moment is always worth it. It’s more of an abstract-feeling image to pair with my starker work.”
All photos by Brendon Burton. Used with permission.