Nine times out of ten I get the shot on my first attempt, meaning I usually only expose one Polaroid, but sometimes that doesn’t work out and I take two or three (I did this with Bindu’s portrait below – I thought I wanted a more serious shot, but the one I liked best? The first one, of course :)
What I like most about taking a Polaroid portrait is how the combination of the camera + film + moment means I slow down and so does the person I’m photographing. I tell them to relax and close their eyes while I focus, then ask them to look at me/the camera, holding my breath as I wait for the right moment to press the shutter button. Sometimes I’ll say something silly to make them laugh; sometimes i don’t. Sometimes I ask them to think about someone they love. I can feel that they trust me, and that the camera is a part of me; by only taking a single shot there’s none of the awkward intrusion you get with a digi, when you’re firing off 10, 20, 30 frames like a machine gun.
There’s just one clunky vintage camera, and me and my held breath.
And nine times out of ten that is enough.