Erik Groβ is a photographer and skateboarder from Northern Germany, near the Baltic Sea. He moved to Dresden, Germany to study and fell in love with the city. Setting up shop there, he bought his first film camera in 2009 and never looked back. Although he finds a benefit and purpose in every photo format, he exclusively uses film. He shoots predominantly in black and white, utilizing varying contrast levels to add tone and emotion to his images. When he shoots in color, he maintains the same level of attention to the textures of contrast, adding on top of those the tonal nuances of color. His color portraits are vibrant, dappled, and captivating.
Overall Groβ’s composition is always elaborate, exploring various depths of field, unique framing, and complex textures. These elements may be the natural result of his artistic environment - not only the art scene in Dresden, but skateboarding. Since he cut his photographical teeth into skateboarding media (where B&W photography is the norm), he is used to capturing gritty textures to coincide with the edgy aesthetic of the sport. He frames his shots creatively in order to communicate breadth of movement in a single image. As a skateboarder Groβ is familiar with the dynamics of the body and the intricacies of posturing. It is evident in his work that he has a keen eye for human form, especially in movement. It is only rarely that his shots don’t feature models in beautiful, exotic, or intriguing postures or frames of motion.
Recently Groβ purchased a Polaroid Land Camera and was fascinated by the images it produced. After conducting many tests on the Land Camera’s range of exposure, he created this series titled “Last Light.” He exposed the shots as much as he could (Polaroid Land Camera’s are generally aperture priority camera’s), but confesses that he finds the images to be still a little too dark; however, the emotional depth of the series is greatly owed to the balance of exposure and contrast that he achieved. The remainder of the debt is to his uncanny eye for human posture. The body language of his models speaks of contemplation or resignation, just as the deep dark tones cling to the crevices of the settings and loom in the backgrounds. Yet the glaring, warm sun on the horizon suggests possibilities, just like those imagined at the mysterious transformation of day into night.
Groβ’s work has been featured in Humbug magazine and on downright products, both of which he cofounded. You can also find much more of Erik Groβ’s photography on Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr!
Turning Instant Photographs into Surreal Collages with @andrewjmillar
To see more of Andrew’s delicately composed collages, follow @andrewjmillar on Instagram.
“I’ve worked with original Polaroid SX-70 cameras since I was a teenager and have quite a collection now,” admits Andrew J. Millar (@andrewjmillar). The 31-year-old artist from London creates mixed media collages by assembling instant photographs – from one to over 100 pieced together – and taking an instant photograph of the final composition.
“Instant film is interesting because there are many different manipulation techniques that can be applied,” he says. Andrew’s preferred altering techniques include emulsion lifts, where a Polaroid is soaked in hot water until the top emulsion layer floats off of the backing and is transferred and manipulated to a new surface. As well as double exposures, where you trick the camera into releasing the shutter twice exposing two different images in a single Polaroid. Lately, Andrew started adding to his creative process: He applies layers of paint or gold leaf to the final instant photo before digitally enlarging the artwork to be screen-printed.
Polaroid cameras were widely loved due to their ability of capturing moments instantly. No matter how advanced the digital camera technology gets, there is still no way it can beat the charm of an instant film camera. Instant film cameras are loved by professional and amateur photographers alike because they have the ability to assess the lighting and exposure within seconds - and also because, let’s keep it real, they are fun! While Polaroid the name became synonymous with instant film, they unfortunately no longer produce cameras or film and the ones you’ll find will be old ones still floating around. Luckily, Polaroid film was resurrected by Impossible Project, and there are other options available, in both cameras and instant films.
Best Instant Camera Options Available
Instant cameras can be bought on eBay where you will find several types of cameras including the old ones and the newly designed ones by Fujifilm and Polaroid. Let’s take a look at some of the best instant cameras available in the market and the films that they are used with:
Fujifilm Instax Mini 50S
Fujifilm Instax Mini 50S is one of the best instant cameras available that takes two pictures with a single click. The camera offers a high-performance flash feature that sets the camera’s shutter speed automatically based on the light conditions. It is a perfect instant camera for capturing photos in a dimly lit environment. The camera’s close-up lens is another feature that is extremely appealing, especially to the pro photographers, as they can take accurate pictures from a distance of 35cm.
Fujifilm Instax Mini 8
The Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 is cute, compact, colorful and probably one of the most popular instant film cameras available today. Thanks to its reasonable price and readily available Fuji Instax film, this little guy is a great choice for anyone looking to delve into the world of instant photography without rifling through boxes of old Polaroids and decoding Impossible Project film compatibility. It features a fixed shutter speed at 1/60, and the flash will always fire and adjust automatically according to your exposure.
Lomo Instant by Lomography
Another instant camera being produced and used today is Lomo’Instant by Lomography. This camera comes with an instant flash. The camera consist of different features that provide more flexibility over photography including different shooting modes, removable lenses, aperture control, and multiple exposure setting.