At the heart of Third Man Records is their Nashville headquarters and retail store. It is here that everything from vinyl mastering, live performances and record label activity takes place. The label share our belief that making things the analog way is as important today as it’s ever been. So when the team at our factory created a black and yellow film in the same colors as their logo, it was the perfect opportunity to collaborate. To celebrate our film launch, Third Man selected three photographers to create a unique photo exhibition using the duochrome film, to be hosted in their iconic Blue Room.
We have always known what a big Polaroid fan Jack White was, and since we started the Impossible Project we have always strived to work with like-minded people and companies; Third Man really couldn’t be a better fit. We both celebrate making real things, records and photos you can actually hold and pass around, and all the struggle and pride that comes with it.
All of our film is made at our factory in Enschede, the Netherlands, using the original Polaroid machines and our own new recipes. And this is where we came up with the idea for an all-new black & yellow duochrome film for Polaroid 600-type cameras. Using the same chemistry as our Generation 2.0 black & white film, the photos develop fast, and the contrast is high. Blacks are rich and deep, and the matt black frames make the impact of that yellow even stronger.
If you like shooting black & white, this duochrome film swapping out the white for yellow creates a final photo like nothing we’ve made before. Portraits, landscapes, festivals – whatever you want to shoot, get out there and start experimenting with it.
“Photography using mechanical means is a beautiful art form. Digital pictures are very portable and easy to make happen, but you can’t hold the photo in your hand, or put it in a family album. There’s a romantic feeling of pulling a photograph out of a polaroid camera, holding it your hands and showing it to others. It can’t be replaced or replicated.”
The photographers chosen for the launch exhibition were New York-based photographer Patrick Pantano, who shot the cover photos for the White Stripes’ Elephant and White Blood Cells albums; musician and tour photographer David James Swanson who has worked as Terry Richardson’s assistant, and Third Man’s own Angelina Castillo. The Opening Reception took place on Thursday 10th September and remains open to visitors until the following Wednesday 16th September. If you’d like to visit the exhibition you can find out more details by clicking here.
Whilst discussing his images and working with the new film, Swanson explained “Most of the photographs I am showing in this show are from a two week period in which I traveled a lot. I shot in Nashville, Seattle, Montana, Idaho, Los Angeles and Michigan. The photographs are mostly of my favorite things or things that have influenced me; baseball, my daughter, cheeseburgers, Seattle, halloween, the dead weather, my band whirlwind heat and crab representing baltimore where I grew up. After shooting a bit with the film, I realized I preferred shooting with the flash. I found it made the yellow really pop. The film has amazing contrast and any images on a bright background are fantastic. I also tried to shoot simple subjects on a bright background to really bring out the yellow tones.”
For his duochrome series Patrick Pantano added blue dots to his photographs as a homage to Tyree Guyton. “I applied the dots with an eye dropper, again to bring in a more random variable. It’s really hard to control the shape and size of the dots when you use a dropper. I tried to do as much as I could to relinquish control over the final image. I think things work out better that way. I’ve always believed in that adage that nothing important ever happens on purpose. It’s one of the reasons I’ve always liked shooting Polaroid-format film. No matter how much I do it, there still seems to be an unknown variable at hand. These black and yellow film packs were really great to shoot with. Especially in the beginning. I didn’t really have a solid grip on how they would behave, so I ended up with some really cool stuff. In an effort to expand the limitations of the film I thought to paint the final shots with photo ink. ”
Third man’s own in-house photographer Angelina Castillo was born and raised in Austin Texas, and has been into music photography since she first picked up a camera. “I think the photo has to make you feel the way the show, or the artist, makes you feel. Instant film belongs anywhere you want to put it. I’ve used land cameras to shoot punk shows, and taken photos for album covers 30 year expired Polaroid film. Wherever you use it, I guarantee it will look nothing like anything that people are shooting with DSLRs. I love my full-frame cameras, but it’s really hard to make your images stand out in a field where everyone else is using basically the same equipment. When you are shooting instant film, people are excited for you to take their photo in a way that they never are with digital. First of all, everyone looks great on film. It’s a fact. Your skin will look like a sun-kissed baby’s butt in a Rembrandt. Secondly, instant results! It’s exciting! Makes me happy beyond words.”