ten instant photographs

…I’ve had this photoshoot in my mind since the middle of september, when I first met gunner wright during the athens international film festival. we both wanted to do a proper shoot back then, but the festival’s schedule was so tight (and our nights out so long) that we missed our chance. luckily, gunner returned to athens a month later, so this time we agreed it would be a shame if we didn’t take out the speed graphic for some shots.

the schedule was still tight, what with gunner having to do another photoshoot and an interview for a magazine, the weather being mixed and unpredictable and all kinds of strikes and demonstrations paralyzing downtown athens.

in the end we settled for a casual weekend evening shoot, and we ended up at the park next to gazi along with loukas mexis, while later on we were joined by anna rezan kritseli.

I only had two loaded large format film holders with me, so I decided to do instant film, polaroids. I loaded up the polaroid holder with fuji fp-100c 3.25×4.25″ color film and we had a blast going through the 10-frame pack.

along with the instant film I was also shooting medium format with the bronica, but that will take a while to develop and scan. moreover, I need to bleach-clean the instant film negatives, which will give me a much better scan than the original positives. as opposed to all this process, it was easy enough to scan the instant film positives – let’s see what a 10-frame pack of instant film shot through a large format camera can get you.

first frame was over-exposed by one stop…

…then I corrected my exposure and the good stuff was here…

…both gunner and loukas wanted me to pose for a shot, so I explained to loukas how to focus, how to remove the ground glass and replace it with the film back, how to cock the shutter and operate it… at the same time gunner was acting as a hair stylist, trying to get my hair out of my face while I was sitting immobile (the slightest movement would have resulted in me getting out of focus), which in the end didn’t really happen…

…we changed location and moved along to a bridge above the railway. then anna came along and, of course, I asked her to do her bit. sadly, I misjudged focus for this shot, which is something a 150mm/f2.5 lens does not forgive…

…then loukas wanted me to pose with anna, and I obliged him. he said he remembered everything, but he forgot that he had to cock the shutter before removing the darkslide from the polaroid back, so he ended up destroying one frame, although it seems that with instant film you can’t really go wrong whatever you do…

…after pulling out the destroyed frame (and before we were able to see the astounding result of a 10 second exposure on a photograph that actually needed 1/500 of a second to be exposed properly), loukas got the next one right, though he got us framed a bit to the right… (this wasn’t his fault, the 3.25×4.25″ polaroid back is not center-aligned, for some obscure reason).,.

…then we went for some really tight portraits…

…and we called it a day.

this was not the end, though, because next day we had a couple of hours before gunner had to get to his flight back to los angeles, so we went for a walk at zappeio megaro

…and then one of the guards shooed us away, saying “you can’t do that here, you need a permit“, to which we replied “we’re just doing photos for fun, this is not a professional thing“, to which he said “who’s he, then?“, and we said “he’s a friend and we’re just taking some photos of him“, and he gave the ultimate response: “he can’t be your friend. I could be your friend if you wanted to photograph me, but he, he’s too handsome and stylish to be your friend“. at that point we decided to pack up and hunt for food, there’s no arguing with that kind of common sense.

that was it… two days, one large format camera, one pack of instant film, ten instant photographs, lots of fun. stay tuned for the next post, which will include the negative scans of these photographs as well as the other shots we did on normal film.


  • The burned one is very good and emotional too. It’s like the colour of a memory imprinted on a piece of sheet. Pure poetry.
    Love the tight portraits.
    You had fun, and that’s what matters!
    keep up the good work!

    The guards don’t know to appreciate the real beauty and style thodori, don’t listen to them, ha ha!

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