Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Instant Photo Isn't Always Digital

Posted by Angie Luvara, ATLANTA, GA -- I’ve been a photographer for a little over ten years, but I've only owned a digital camera for about two. I learned photography with a manual film camera, changing rolls every 36 frames and adjusting my shutter speed, aperture, and focus by hand. While I still use my film cameras all the time, there are certain instances (like weddings and concerts) when I’m very thankful for not having to stop and change rolls every 36 photos.

Whenever I take my film cameras out with me, I always get lots of comments and strange looks from people who didn't think that film even existed anymore. I recently acquired several old Polaroid cameras, and thought the same thing would happen. When I ventured out to the local skate park to test these new toys, what happened surprised me. When using my film camera, people were surprised that they couldn't instantly see what the photo would look like. However, when using my Polaroids, I could give my subjects the same instant gratification they receive when I turn my digital camera around and show them the photo I just took.

I’ve since learned that the oldest Polaroid I own—a Polaroid 195 Land Camera, made in the 1960s and 1970s—was frequently used in photo shoots to provide proofs of what the end product would look like before shooting with a film camera. Perhaps digital cameras aren’t as advanced and distant from older forms of photography as we think. Maybe they’re just the newer Polaroid, and, you can still get film for the older version at http://

Angie Luvara is a photographer and Managing Editor of Social Shutter. She is also a Doctoral student in Sociology at Georgia State University. To view more of her photography, go to her blog at

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