Back to the Basics: Using the Dinosaurs of Photography

During the last couple years there has been a revival and obsession with images that resemble photos taken by Polaroid cameras. Thanks to instagram the dream to be considered a trendy photographer can come true for any amateur. However, what are the tricks to capturing this certain look without a huge amount of help from technology. How do you capture creative pictures with the dinosaurs of photography?

Polaroids are automatically cool without any help from technology. There is a sense of realism to Polaroid; spur of the moment photographs capturing candid events. They also are a lot of fun to manipulate and use your creativity without any computer. In order to manipulate the film, during the time the film is developing, push, squish, scratch or whatever you desire on the image. After the allotted time of usually around a minute and a half, the picture will be distorted and unique.


Another trick to capturing a great Polaroid would be to create a dreamscape. To create an amazing dreamscape you apply a Polaroid negative to a non-photographic paper, such as watercolor paper. After taking the picture, wait ten seconds then peel the negative and place it on watercolor paper which has been dipped in water. Place a roller on top of the negative and wait around two minutes. Peel the negative away and take a look at what is left on the paper. It will be pretty awesome.


Practice will always make perfect and what you make is all up to what you feel. Mistakes are always welcome. The point is to go back to the basics, where the perfect photo can be the one with flaws. One great place to go share and search if you have a polaroid obsession is online at the Polaroid Movement.

There is a lot of fun to be had with old cameras. Despite their bulk and plain appearance, the film they produce can be beautiful and inspired.

The Holga and Diana are two toy cameras which any photographer should keep an eye out for. Diana is rare but captures beautful photographs. The Holga still readily avaible for around 20 dollars. Both are bulky black toy cameras, and both have the ability to capture unbelivable film. According to Virgina Barnes, the Diana has “no time frame, capturing things as they were remembered, instead how they actually were”.

The Holga and Diana represent all that is old and great. Be on watch for these two at garage sales or in your grandma’s house, especially Diana, for she is a rare diamond in the rough.

For those photographers with a lab, that is where you can have a lot of fun. Cross processing and overall experimentation.


This blog is not meant to slam technology or to sway people from using their new and expensive cameras, it is meant as a call to go back to the basics. To show that photography has always been beautiful even with the less likely of tools. This goes for film-making as well. Get out that old equipment and film a classic.

Want more information on Old camera techniques or DreamScape go online! Or if you are against technology, I’m sure the library has some great books!

Meme E

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