I hope you had a lovely bank holiday weekend (again! We are being spoiled…) Many of these long weekends that we are gifted with are consisted of making memories and capturing them through a camera lens to look back on in years to come…
One of my favourite things in the entire world is the result you receive in a photograph when using an instant camera. I adore the authenticity; you truly capture the moment right there and then in a single print (unless you want to take another for whatever reason), you have the physical copy at your fingertips in an instant and can watch it develop in all its glory… As well as this, you achieve a classic, effortless vintage aesthetic without any need for an iPhone app or an endless array of filters and editing tools. I went through a phase of buying endless disposable cameras for this reason – despite being slap bang in the middle of the digital age, I found film cameras much more satisfying to use.
My aunts also kindly gave me a film fish-eye camera one Christmas, which was my favourite thing in the world until it decided to give out (right in the middle of Venice as I was trying to take a photo, to add to the devastation…). It may be temperamental, but film will always be phenomenal to me.
The transition from using dodgy disposable cameras from Boots to instant film came unexpectedly, thanks to a friend from school kindly giving me a second hand Wide Film Instax for my 16th birthday (forever thanks to you once again, Katie, if you happen to be reading this!) Despite it being rather large and therefore slightly affecting its portability, it came with a handy neck strap which meant it could hang freely around my neck, ready for it to be used whenever the occasion was necessary…
Last year I bought a second hand Instax Mini 8 to experiment some more with film sizes, as well as the convenience of its model size, meaning it was more portable and therefore could be taken more places. It was all good and well and I took some photos with it that I shall cherish forever, but I decided to sell it on and indulge in one of the newest models of the Instax cameras – the Instax Neoclassic Mini 90. After hard work and saving up for it, it felt like holding a new born baby once it arrived in the post. So crisp, slick and classy with so many features I hadn’t come across before with such a camera. It suddenly occurred to me that this was my first official instant camera that wasn’t second hand… And boy did it feel wonderful.
So I thought I’d share with you some of my favourite Instax photos that I’ve taken so far and maybe the little anecdotes behind them… After taking one, I always add it to my ‘photo wall’ in my bedroom, for it to be proudly displayed with all of the others. When the sun starts to set and the shadow of my lace net curtain hovers over my little collection, it brings me such comfort that can’t be explained; it’ll forever be my favourite time of day because of this.
Travelling with my instant cameras brings me more joy than anything else. My photos from my trip to Venice in 2014 still remain as some of my most prized possessions. I remember being so excited to get by the canals and start snapping away. I must admit that I was a bit concerned due to the cameras temperamental habits – something that all film camera users will be more than familiar with. Sadly, they are not like a fine wine at all… they do not get better with age. But, thankfully, it went nice and smoothly and I managed to snap away to my hearts desire. I recall sitting in a cafe sheltering from a sudden rainstorm afterwards and being unable to concentrate on any conversation occurring between my family at the table (as rude as that may sound!), as I was too occupied being in awe of the sheer brilliance a simple camera produced. Don’t get me wrong, I still snapped away with my iPhone camera as well and I cannot dismiss its convenience, but film will always have my heart, despite its expense and the patience you have to obtain when using it.
Unfortunately, what I feared in Venice became a reality in Belgium and not all of my photos of the wonderful architecture came out all that great. But that’s just the way it goes – I’m just glad that the photo of my favourite building, pictured above, came out half decent. You must look on the bright side in these situations…
After finishing college, my friends and I took a trip to Brighton before we all went our separate ways once the summer ended. I wanted to capture the Brighton Pier sign on Instax as I knew it would come out just the way I wanted. However, when I went to snap the sign, I realised I was out of film. So I faced the challenge of changing the film in the middle of windy Brighton Pier… not the easiest thing I’ve ever done, but I was pretty satisfied with the turn out.
As well as admiring vintage fashion and photography, attending gigs and concerts is one of my favourite things in life. When I found out that one of my absolute favourite bands The Weeks were coming to a small venue in my hometown, I made the decision to take my chunky camera with me. I only managed to get a few as my urge to dance got the better of me (they seriously throw the funnest shows ever). I would be reluctant to take such a big camera to a larger scale concert (as I was using my Wide Camera at the time), but the intimacy of the venue meant comfortable camerawork was only waiting to happen…
A Few More Favourites
Taken on Instax Mini 8, this is one of my favourite photos to date (if you’ll excuse the rhyme). This snap was taken on my Grandads 85th birthday, and his cute, little, proud expression on his face makes me smile every time I look it. He’s a very important man in my sisters and I’s lives, and this photo of us cosying up around him on such a milestone occasion I will forever cherish.
(He also made the little tree in the background as it was around Christmas… such a handyman).
This is little Simba, and it breaks my heart just looking at this photo. He went missing in November 2015, just over a year after we took him home, and he was truly one of the best cats in the world. I cherish this little photo so much – the shocked expression on his precious face makes me miss him terribly (even more than I already do), but I’m glad I took it because I have a physical copy of Simba simply being Simba. Wherever he is, I hope he is doing what he does best – causing havoc…
This was taken only a few minutes into my 19th birthday, which was also the one year anniversary of when my boyfriend and I first ever spoke. I was in the middle of opening some gifts from him when my sister and her friend drunkenly barged into my room to wish me a Happy Birthday. He’s a fan of Instax cameras too, and he grabbed mine from my shelf and decided to take a photo of us…
“Look at each other. Make sure the Nirvana is showing, that’ll look really retro.”
We aren’t great at taking photos sometimes, but I love the expressions on our faces here, and I was truly so happy when it was taken, it makes me smile every time I look at it.
Another photo of my love and I, I think this is my most favourite of us. It was taken in the middle of October; I love autumn due to my front garden wall displaying the most beautiful shades of red. So, before we left to be on our way for a vintage fair in town that day, I asked my mother to take a photo of us sitting in front of the wonderful array of burgundy leaves.
“I’m no good at taking photos!” she exclaimed, yet she managed to take one of my most favoured photos ever.
This one is from Halloween last year – the Halloween where I finally went as Mrs Mia Wallace (post overdose) from Pulp Fiction, my favourite film, after years of wanting to. My friend Tazz here wouldn’t stop complimenting my costume, when his was probably the best by breaking gender norms and going as Harley Quinn, so it was only a given that we had to have a photo.
Despite being a prime example that some instant cameras just aren’t the best for selfie taking, I’ve always loved this photo of my best friend and I. I can’t pinpoint a specific reason – sometimes when you cherish something, you needn’t need one.
And finally, taken way back in the late summer of 2013, this was taken in my Grandads ‘sun room’ in his garden, which we built together over the summer. Long hot days of painting, sawing and drilling soon paid off when seeing his proud little smile once again.
Testing the Latest Addition
As I mentioned before, I finally indulged in my dream camera – the Instax Mini Neoclassic 90. I must admit I have only taken it for one spin, but I have fallen in love with it already. Hell, I fell in love with it before my finger even reached the shutter button.
My boyfriend and I took this little baby out for a spin one sunny afternoon when we went for a picnic, and we were both equally amazed at the quality of the photographs, especially considering how sunny it was. This was thanks to the features that allow you to adjust the setting accordingly to your surroundings, much like a simple digital camera – but it’s refreshing for instant cameras to have this feature too, along with the option to turn the flash off. This was one of the slight downfalls for me when using previous models – the flash was always on… but this little beauty gives you the opportunity to rid of the flash, which is super handy in brighter settings.
However, we did attempt the ‘double exposure’ setting, only it didn’t go too well. I am still getting used to all of the new tweaks this model comes with, but it is absolutely brilliant so far – and I’ve only used it once. With the upcoming summer, I am itching to explore and take my Mini 90 with me…
I hope you’ve enjoyed my ramblings of my love of the instant camera. Until next time…
Thanks for Reading | Lucy Violet x