Lucie Loves... Lifestyle // Reigniting my love of instant photography at the Instax SQ6 London launch event
This post makes me feel a little bit nostalgic.
As I write this, I'm sat at my desk in our new place in Richmond, a photograph catches my eye. It's A picture I took almost 10 years ago, on a road trip around California with my ex. Nope. Neither of us are actually captured in the image.
It's just a shot of a discarded Coca Cola can, nestled in white sand on Venice Beach, palm trees dancing in the distance. Looking at it, I realise that that's probably the last time I played around with an instant camera for, purely for pleasure's sake.
I'd received an invitation to attend the launch of the new Instax SQUARE SQ6 camera at The Bikeshed in Shoreditch. Brand Ambassador, Daisy Lowe was due to do some ribbon cutting before taking to the decks and djing some old skool classics. And so, lured in by the chance to play around with a cute new camera, I dragged my trusty workwife and creative partner in crime, James Barley along with me to make a night of it!
I was at Birmingham City University, studying BA Hons Visual Communication and specialising in Documentary Photography, when I first fell in love with the 1 : 1 square (aka medium) format of analogue film. I'd set myself various photographic projects and head off with my Mamiya C330 TLR and trusty Polaroid camera into the wilds of suburbia. Snapping portraits, still life shots and contextual landscapes or interiors to back up my projects theme. I vividly remember how expensive it was to buy a pack of Polaroid film – it was working out around a £1 a pic!
Following my photography degree, I did an internship at Magnum Photos in London. An experience which inspired me to not only seek out further documentary photography opportunities and projects, but one that made me want to move to London in the first place.I remember visiting Martin Parr's studio and meeting the man himself. I remember seeing box upon box of Instant film stacked by a doorway in the Magnum London offices, and when I asked what it was for, I was told that one of the Magnum Photographers, Jim Goldberg was off to The Congo and that this was his medium of choice. I was in awe!
Little did I know how much attending the Instax event would stir something deep within me, or that it would set some rusty wheels in motion. Later that very week I visited The Photographers' Gallery for the first time in central London, to see the Undercover: A Secret History of Cross-Dressers exhibition (it's spectacular! As you'd expect with such a glittering subject matter.) It's only £4 for a day pass – and I can honestly say it is £4 well spent! I've also recently been to see another great exhibition, this time at The Barbican, called Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins – which features work from a vast array of photographers, each choosing to document subcultures and sexual preferences in their own unique and sensitive style.
I did have my hopes set on visiting Photo London at Somerset House this year – after spying a massive billboard poster at Stratford Westfield advertising the event and then hearing the sales assistant at TPG waxing lyrical about it being fabulous – but expensive... but I'll try my hardest to attend next year.
So, despite being invited along to the Instax event (presumably) wearing my blogger hat, I very much went donning my photographer's cap instead. It's probably a culmination of exposing myself to this rich tapestry of visual inspiration, photo exhibitions and subsequent blog events of late that I've experienced was I shall call a creative re-awakening of sorts. A sharp realisation. A sudden desire to set myself up with a self-initiated photography project again. Watch this space! I need to try and find funding for it... as it's quite a sensitive subject matter... Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
I had the absolute pleasure of taking the Instax SQ6 camera with me last weekend to Hampshire, after picking up a couple of packs of Instax Square film at The Photographers' Gallery for just £8.99 a pack (a complete steal!) and then snapping some photos of family and friends, capturing precious moments that I was then able to give them as a keepsake.
Disclaimer: Instax kindly surprised me with my very own Blush Gold Instax SQ6 camera at the end of the evening. You can find out more about the new Instax SQUARE SQ6 camera specifications and follow my experience using it on Instagram @LucieLoves.
Photography © Lucie Kerley