In An Instant: Lockdown Edition: Pylon

I’ve now shot two packs of Polaroid Originals colour film in my SX-70, and I’m starting to get a feel for what works for me: simple compositions, muted or restricted colour palettes. Yellows and blues tend to look nice.

Now it’s time to try some black and white, and I didn’t really know what to expect. I went down by the river on this morning’s walk and shot this. Based on my extensive experience of one shot, the black and white film seems to be a very different beast. A touch more ethereal, a bit more flaky. I’m quite excited to get out and shoot some more. I guess that’s what house arrest does to you.

Pylon, Chertsey Meads / Polaroid SX-70 Sonar / Polaroid Originals SX-70 Black & White Film

Polaroid Pylon


This week in The Coronapocalypse:

  • UK officially in lockdown for minimum of three weeks
  • Nation celebrates Mother’s Day by not visiting mothers
  • Most vulnerable told to isolate for 12 weeks
  • Prince Charles tests positive
  • More than 700,000 heed the call and volunteer to help the National Health Service
  • PM Boris Johnson leads by example and tests positive
  • Oh, and the Health Secretary. Oops.
  • Clap For Carers: households across the UK stand on doorsteps & balconies to applaud efforts of NHS. Grown men weep get something in their eye.
  • Situation stabalising in China….
  • ….whilst situation in New York and Spain looks ever more grim
  • Government declines invitation to participate in EU scheme to get desperately needed ventilators because ‘We are no longer in the EU’…
  • ….and then following national backlash ‘clarifies’ by saying ‘We didn’t see the email’. Yep, the grown ups charged with getting us through this crisis basically used the Dog Ate My Homework excuse. Lordy.
  • Off-licences declared ‘essential’ and allowed to stay open. Draw your own conclusions about us Brits.
  • Self-employed to be paid 80% of previous year’s profit.
  • Gatherings of more than two people outlawed. The Nation’s introverts cheer.
  • US now country with most cases
  • Britsh Summer Time starts and clocks go forward one hour, meaning nation has one less hour of weekend to enjoy / endure (delete as appropriate) with family members before…
  • …spending every waking hour of forthcoming weeks with family members…


Worldwide cases: 664,891
Worldwide deaths: 30,893
UK cases: 17,089
UK deaths: 1,019

source

In An Instant: Lockdown Edition: Welcome To….

Welcome to….

….the local hand car wash, as it happens.

When these guys started up about six or seven years ago, they started sending out flyers proclaiming to be ‘The Best Hand Job In Town’. They soon stopped that once they realised they were attracting the wrong kind of customers.

The Best Hand Job In Town / Chertsey Car Wash / Polaroid SX-70 Sonar / Polaroid Originals SX-70 Color Film

Chertsey Car Wash

I took this photo on my exercise stroll this morning. The car wash is just by my apartment, and in the old days at weekends when I’d wake up a bit later and the traffic was light, I could hear the gentle sloshing of the water from their hoses. It’s a surprisingly comforting sound. Of course, now it’s silent, abandoned, and its absence just adds to that dislocating sense of 28 Days Later desolation. The streets are empty, with just an occasional car, and if you do pass a pedestrian coming the other way, both of you give each other a wide berth. This is the new normal. I can’t help wondering if future generations will wonder how it become traditional to sing Happy Birthday whilst washing your hands.

See all of my Polaroid SX-70 photography here

In An Instant: Lockdown Edition: Mysterious Watson

Watson doesn’t seem to be letting the Coronapocalypse cut into his preening time….

Watson The Cat / Polaroid SX-70 Sonar / Polaroid Originals SX-70 Color Film

The year is 1974. The world’s tallest building is on fire, and a bunch of ageing character actors and Hollywood royalty are trapped on the top floor. That nice young man who played Dr Kildaire turns out to be a bit of a dick. Fred Astaire falls in love with a woman with a pussy. Paul Newman plays the devilishly handsome architect and Steve McQueen plays the devilishly handsome fire chief. O.J. Simpson plays O.J. Simpson.

Time is running out and there’s just one last shot: blow the tanks on the roof and let the million tonnes of water they contain douse the fire. People are frantically trying to find some way to secure themselves against the deluge. Everything goes quiet whilst the clock ticks down. People anxiously wait. Close-ups of sweaty, nervous faces. Who will be swept away and who will survive?

Three….

Two…

One….

Boom!

Spoiler: the cat lives.

Yes, I know that’s the plot of The Towering Inferno {trailer}.

No, I know it’s not exactly a contemporary reference.

But that’s just kind of how it feels.

Covid-19 deaths in the UK are around 450 as I write. Current modelling shows that we’re two weeks behind but on exactly the same trajectory as the disaster that’s happening in Italy.

The whole of the UK is on lockdown. Whilst it’s not as extensive as some other Europen countries (unfortunately), Government orders are to stay home apart from essential shopping, exercising alone, and going to work for key workers. This will be reviewed in three weeks, but I think anyone who’s been paying attention knows that it’ll be months rather than weeks before we escape house arrest.

I’ve already been working from home for the last two weeks. I’m trying to get into a daily routine of work and exercise. I live alone, and even as an introvert, I suspect that months on end with no face to face social interaction will send me totally tonto. Jane, her girls, and the dogs are hunkered down in their place 30 miles away. I don’t know when I’ll see them again.

On the plus side, there’s no one around to see me turning in to Tom Hanks from Castaway. Every cloud….

In An Instant: Bertie On Patrol

Sunny days are rare around here this time of year. But on clear winter mornings when the sun is low in the sky, light pours into the living room for a couple of hours. Bertie’s lit up here by a slice of sunlight. He likes to sit on the back of the sofa, keeping lookout through the window. It’s not that he’s some fierce guard dog; he is, after all, a spaniel. It’s more that he’s watching for the next person to come and give him the love and attention he knows he deserves.

Bertie at 8 months / Polaroid SX-70 Sonar / Polaroid Originals SX-70 Color Film

Read here my first attempt at using the reformulated Polaroid Originals instant film in my Polaroid SX-70 Sonar

In An Instant: Watson In The Spotlight

It’s not strictly true to say the SX-70 Sonar gives you no exposure information; a red light comes on in the viewfinder if there’s not enough light for a hand-held shot. Polaroid called this the ‘Use Flash Or Tripod Indicator’, but in terms of guidance, that’s your lot. All you know is you’re getting an aperture between f/8 and f/74, and a shutter speed anywhere from 1/180 to 14 seconds. I imagine the metering is a simple centre-weighted or average setup, but who knows?

As Watson sat in a small patch of sunlight, I had no idea if this shot would work, and I even forgot to look for the red light. At over two quid a pop, I really should be more careful. But hey, sometimes I have a good feeling and like to go with my hunch. Like that time I put £50 on Hilary to win. Or when I convinced everyone I knew to buy a hoverboard, just before the UK Government banned them on both roads and pavements. Yeah, so sue me.

Watson The Cat / Polaroid SX-70 Sonar / Polaroid Originals SX-70 Color Film

Download the Polaroid SX-70 Sonar Manual