World Photo Day has what they call a dream: ‘to unite local and global communities in a worldwide celebration of photography.’ That’s the kind of thing we’re happy to get behind. To show our support, we’ve collected photos on Impossible film from all around the world and asked the photographers who took them what makes each image so special. We found photos from Australia to Antarctica, Japan to Jökulsárlón to see how the extreme heat and cold of certain locations has affected the development.
Christoph Terhechte – Berlin, Germany. This photograph was taken in Cairo, Egypt.
“We were visiting a friend on a quiet Friday morning in Giza. As I looked through her window, I saw the agglomeration of these satellite dishes, but also the stark difference in scale of buildings and the historical layering of the urban growth of Cairo. In this age of surveillance cameras, digital cameras and mobile phones, instant photography is an entirely different experience. It takes time to frame and study the composition, light and speed of exposure. One can never predict precisely how the chemicals will react to the conditions in which the photograph is taken and develops. This unpredictability is the closest thing to everyday magic.”
Thomas Preyer – Vienna, Austria. This photograph was taken in Macchu Pichu, Peru.
“I love capturing something on instant film that is hard to catch, i.e. flying birds or like here, a lama. The fact that it posed for me at this enchanted spot – especially as the conditions weren’t optimal for shooting film – made the result even more satisfying. Instant photography has a number of unique qualities; once you’ve taken the picture it’s done and cannot be changed. It’s a very calming thought. You take the picture and you move on. And you’ve captured the moment like it was. No matter how the result turns out – it is what it is, and will remain that way.”
Peter Pawlowski – Pittsburgh, USA. This photograph was taken in Antarctica.
“Whether sun rays or frosty mist, at the instant of creation these photographs take on the energy of their environment. Light on film, chemicals with heat and air – it is a process, and it takes in just a bit of what is around while it performs its impossible feat. The memento that results, it is only real when it is really in front of you. When I look at this photo, I recall how those brutal black peaks were cut so crisply from the sky by razors of Antarctic sunlight. The featureless anonymity of their gleaming crystal skin, elegant draped, ancient yet alive. And the casual reflection of this everyday majesty, an uncommon calm, taken in stride.”
Ma. Victoria Lopez Ligerini – Uruguay. This photograph was taken in the Marruecos.
“This was taken after spending long night under the starry skies of the desert. Instant film captures only one moment, and the way the berber and their camel looked into my lens it’s almost as if they knew that there was just one picture, one chance. It’s easy to remember the moment because each photograph is real, you have a picture you can hold, and it can never be altered. This helps to remember a place, a person, a moment. This type of photograph transports you back in time, to a place where pixels don’t exist. The final photograph depends only on our own considerations when we use the film, we are responsible for the outcome, we don’t need to put filter on the photo, because it’s already a perfect one.”
Freeman Lau – Hong Kong, China. This photograph was taken on the Gold Coast in Australia.
“I felt relaxed when I saw the moment in front of me, so I pressed the shutter and got this photo. I love using instant film to capture the memory. I always feel excited when I hold a physical photo in my hand. For me, the instant photo is like a locker that keeps the memory and feeling safely tucked away until I want to visit it again. It is later on that I get to share it with anybody I like; a physical photo in this digital world is a rare treasure; it is a bridge to bring people together. It’s not like digital photo that can be shared and copied easily online. You must hold the photo and talk with everyone about its importance, share its story.”
Ghalas Charara – Beirut and Switzerland. This photograph was taken in Beirut.
“I’ve been traveling back and forth between Beirut and Switzerland for three years now. On the rooftop of my building, with the roaring sound of water containers, cable satellites, the busy streets below – it was dizzying. I’d photographed this view many times, with different cameras, I also shot it on video. With the Impossible film I nervously tucked it into my back pocket, but it was so hot, and bright, that it immediately developed with light streaks, as if all those sounds, all that noise, was materializing inside the picture itself. This was one of those rare moments where the photo manages to capture more than what I set out capturing myself, and this is what instant photography does best.”
Joep Gottemaker – The Netherlands. This photograph was taken in Turkey.
“Last year I went to Turkey, and took photographs of many local people and their culture on instant film. It was like a dream come true; people standing around, wanting to get their picture taken. That’s how I got this photograph, the man could hardly wait to see his photo and wanted to keep it. So I shot 2, and gave one away. That’s the magic of instant photography, you can share it with the people around you. This photo was special to me, because I mostly shoot flowers and nature back at home, but once a year on my holiday, I like to take pictures of people. What makes the film so special for me? The colors. Every time is an experiment, which makes it so exciting.”
Eva Flaskas is based in Sydney, Australia. This photograph was taken there too.
“I don’t really take photos of modern landmarks. I prefer the old and decayed, but on this night, the sky was clear, it was almost a full moon and the light was beautiful. I saw the Opera House in pieces that night, not as a whole building. The tones and the way the light was captured is characteristic of instant film, you can’t get results like that with other mediums. Nothing beats the feeling I experience the moment the photo finishes developing and I know I’m holding a beautiful photo in my hand. No result is ever the same and it can not be replicated, every image is unpredictable, that’s the beauty of shooting instant film.”
Corey Bennett – Tokyo, Japan. This photograph was taken in Yokosuka, Japan.
“This photo was taken at the Yokosuka Matsuri Festival. I love attending and most of all photographing summer festivals in Japan and this was my first opportunity to photograph one with instant film. This medium helped me to capture the true spirit of Japan’s age-old festivals. Unfortunately, in this day and age, photos are rarely printed, so having a physical photo to remember the moment is a treat. While I have embraced the digital world I still prefer to view a print, book or magazine, and instant film allows me to do this. So if digital photography has left you uninspired and wanting to try something new, pick up an instant camera and get ready to feel excited about photography again.”
Tony Platt – Devon, England. This photograph was taken in Havana, Cuba.
“Very early in the morning I went to explore this abandoned sports complex in Havana just off Avenida 1ra. At first I felt a little sad that a complex with an Olympic-sized swimming pool had fallen into such a state of decay in a beautiful location. So I took this photograph to remember that feeling, knowing that I would probably never get back there again as I am living in England. With instant photography you have to take time over composing the shot, rather than digitally shooting as many images as you want. You connect with the subject There is nothing more exciting than watching a physical photograph develop right in front of you. It’s almost like magic.”
Vincent Gabriel – Strasbourg, France. This photograph was taken in Austria.
“My Polaroid camera has been my faithful companion for the last 10 years. This photograph was taken in the Austrian mountains, it’s the view from my hotel room. At each time of the day the light was different, but that night, the last sun’s rays made the mountains look majestic. Now, every time I hold this photograph in my hands and I look at it, I remember this moment of serenity and relaxation watching the beauty of nature. Instant photography allows these kind of memories. I will keep it forever, pull it out of the box and admire it again and again. No fear of a hard drive crashing or viruses, this photo is real.”
Anita Waters – Sydney, Australia. This photo was taken in Collaroy Beach, Australia.
“This cinema is situated on one of the beaches nearby where I live, called the Northern Beaches. Using instant film to capture this Art Deco cinema, with its original interior and sign, just made sense for me. I slowed myself down and stopped to consider the many angles before I pressed the shutter. I was delighted with my composition as I saw the image appear. It was perfect. Whichever instant camera you have, load it with film and find your subject. But be selective; make it a truly personal experience. No result is ever the same and it can not be replicated, every image is unpredictable, and it’s all down to process when shooting instant film.”
Ben Innocent – Boise, Idaho. This photograph was taken in rural Idaho near Fairfield.
“This was one of those moments when I needed to decide whether or not to press the shutter. Whether it is worth it. Whether or not to stop the car, to run up the road. I did it and it was. Instant photography was the only medium I had at the time. Meant to be? Maybe.. Interestingly I hadn’t looked at this photograph since scanning it. Funny how the memories build in boxes like little lightbulb moments that shut off with the lid closing. Be true to your creativity. Forget others’ pictures. Forget fads or cliches. Forget what is art and what is not. Forget your ego and your want to impress. Just create.”
Sarah Mendelsohn – New York. This photograph was taken in Western New Mexico.
“I was on a month long road trip throughout the American Southwest. The area is almost completely barren except for these huge satellites, which are stationed there to detect extraterrestrial life. Using instant film in this setting made sense. The tales of alleged alien spotting in the late 1940’s has become so much a part of the region, but the theories seemed so antiquated that using digital didn’t seem right. It takes much more thought and dedication to take an instant photo because you don’t get a do over and you only have so much film. Because of this, you remember it all. It’s the only kind of film you can’t edit and that’s what makes it beautiful.”
Kim Smith-Miller – Portland, USA. This photograph was taken in Jökulsárlón, Iceland.
“We watched a man in a boat zig zag through the water, pushing icebergs around to make a clear path for a giant boat full of tourists, it seemed comical in the calm of a glacier lagoon. I always look back fondly on this photo, perfectly recalling our run in with the ‘Berg Herder. Shooting instant film is like creating an infusion between the physical realm and my memories. They will mean more once you slow down and take photos with intention rather than on burst mode with your phone, to be later imported to your computer and forgotten about. There’s a timeless treasure in instant photos.”
Nicholas Misciagna – Colorado, USA. This photograph was taken in Debre Zeyit, Ethiopia.
“This photograph was taken on a missions trip. I was walking down a street and as I turned a corner I saw these girls washing clothes and I captured the scene. I take photographs to remember. Having to be wise with choosing subjects, only having eight frames per pack, and having a physical photo aid in my remembering. The more you engage the senses, the better connections you will make with the photograph and the moment captured resulting in remembrance. I believe you will become a better photographer by shooting instant film. With shooting any type of film, instant film slows you down and can force to you choose wisely.”
Olivia Spooner – Buenos Aires. This photograph was taken in Puno, Peru.
“I took this at a parade on a hot, stark September afternoon and was blown away by the beautiful costumes and patterns used in traditional Peruvian dress. There is a dreamy quality to an image which only seems possible to achieve with this type of film; I love how there is sometimes a slight bleed of colour along the frame’s edge, to remind you of the distinctive and sometimes imperfect process. My favorite thing about instant photographs is their physicality, this image developed in my hands during the tumult, heat and clamour of the parade; these images carry the energy of the moment in which they are taken. This is the magic of instant film – a unique memory you can hold.”