Thursday, October 27, 2011


px 70

I am a lover of scarves. It's true. I like the fancy kind you can wrap around your neck in the summer or put in your hair year round and I even love the kind that keeps you snuggly and warm in the winter. The dilemma for me with my intense collection of scarves is how the heck to wear them more than three ways.  As we all know scarf season is upon us and I felt like the fashion gods smiled and winked at me when I came across this video on Creature Comforts.

Ladies, scarf wearing gentlemen- how to wear a scarf....


Don't forget to enter to enter my giveaway to win some Impossible Project magnetic wall stars to help you show off your instant photos around your home, office or any other magnet friendly surface!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


You know what this is a picture of? A dang shame is what it is! All those pretty pictures stored away in boxes never to see the light of day again. Oh the horror. The injustice to pictures everywhere!

That's all in the past now! Liberate your images from their boxy prison with Magnetic Wall Stars!!! This genius (and very well designed) box has in it the freedom your instant images have long been waiting for! Each box comes with 8 opportunities to display your images on any metal surface!

Each magnetic X comes with a sticky side. Simply peel back the paper, place the Wallstar on the back of your favorite instant photo, press down a little and voila! You are ready to curate a gallery of instant goodness on your fridge!

The folks at the Impossible Project want to get your photos out of storage and out into the world so they've sent me a box of Wallstars to give away!Simply leave a comment with a link to your Flickr account (if you have one, if not- that's okay just leave a lil comment) and I'll randomly pick a winner Friday to receive a little box of magnetic joy!

If you can't wait that long go buy a few boxes and start showing off!



Now that you've dug out that old Polaroid camera or begged Uncle John to give you his Land Camera that's just sitting in the garage let's look at some examples of the different films that are available to use.

jen gotch, mine, mine

adam goldberg, kim oberski, patrick tobin

heather champ, emily hunt, kelly knaga

brooke castro, jeff hutton, mine

dave tuttle, jessica hibbard, juli werner

whitney johnson, anne bowerman, mia moreno

mine, mine, mine
mine, ryan marshall, mine
If you're wondering which film can be used with which camera, please take a look back on this helpful lil post.

These are just some of the many pretty pretty instant film pictures on the internet! Here are a few of my favorite Flickr groups you might want to have a peek at:

The Impossible Project
Instant Flowers
Impossible PX Color
Bonjour Pola
Pola Pajaros
'Roid Week 2011

The Impossible Project also has some awesome user populated galleries- go look and be inspired!

The Impossible Project films are gorgeous aren't they?! Did you notice that you can get the PX 600 UV and PZ 600 UV films with black borders in addition to the traditional white borders? I am currently obsessed with the PX 600 UV Ace Hotel edition of this film. It comes in a really neat little box that can be used for storing your precious pictures. I want a hundred of them.

These films are really fun to use, but there are a few tricks you'll want to keep in mind when shooting with them. The most important thing to do is to shield your film from light it comes out of the camera. There are a few different ways to do this, I use a dark slide, which is the black thing that dispenses out of your camera when you put a brand new pack of film in. Take it, hold it up near where the film comes out of the camera making sure it is going to cover the film as it ejects and sneak the image away into your pocket with the dark slide over the image as soon as you take a shot and your almost guaranteed a pretty picture.

darkslide illustrations by the insanely creative amanda mason.

The Impossible Project recently came out with an easier method of shielding your film, an accessory you add to your camera called a frog tongue. You just add this little guy to the lip of your camera and a piece of magic black goodness will shield your image from light! Easy peasy. Get your hands on one if you can!

One of my favorite parts of shooting instant film is the community that has been built around it. I have made some wonderful and inspirational pals through this community! A great big thank you to all the lovely folks who let me use their photographs for this post! Please click on the names of each contributor below each set of images - you can thank me later.

What's next? A give-away!!! Stay tuned!


Thursday, October 20, 2011


In the last post we talked about integral or polaroid film, now let's talk about pack film!

Pack film is also known as peel apart or type 100. This film is a different size than integral film and does not work in integral film cameras, but it does work in these cuties:

The almighty Land Camera!
   - Named after it's inventor, Edwin Land (the instant film hero!)
   - These cameras are really sassy little things. They have bellows so they can fold up nice and small.
   - They have a lighten/darken wheel to control the exposure.
   - Most Land Cameras use a rangefinder focusing function, which is when you see two images in the viewfinder that you have to line up.
   - There are several different models of this camera some a little fancier than others but generally the same look and make.
   - There are some neat accessory kits available for these cameras too!

Pictured above is the Super Colorpack IV.
   - This camera is less sophisticated than the Land Cameras above.
   - It also takes pack film and with practice produce nice pictures!
   - This is more or less the point and shoot of pack film cameras.
   - It's a little bulky and it doesn't fold down but it's good and sturdy.

Pack film cameras do not spit out your picture, you have to pull the tab on the film and pull the film out of the camera. If you forget to pull the film out of the camera the next picture you take will be on the same sheet of film which, can be really fun or kinda frustrating. My friend Dave has taken some pretty cool double exposures this way which you can see here. When you pull the film out of the camera, it spreads chemicals over the picture, developing it. You peel one layer off which will have some chemical goop on it and then, just like magic, you've got a picture in your hands! 

These cameras, much like the Polaroid integral film cameras are also easily found on Craiglist, eBay and thrift stores rather inexpensively. Again the gamble is not knowing right away if they'll work or not unless you have film and batteries to test them with. The Land Cameras take a special kind of battery and the Super Colorpack takes 2 double A batteries before they'll work so keep that in mind when you're thrifting! My friend Cory over at spruces up and completely refurbishes Land Cameras so if you want a safe bet, buy one from him!

Before digital camera technology was available using Polaroid pack film was the only way photographers could see a sample shot of what they were shooting on film! Many professional medium format cameras have interchangeable backs that can hold different kinds of film. One of those kinds was a Polaroid back which would hold pack film so a photographer could take a test shot and see what their shot was going to look like. The most common cameras that can use Polaroid backs are Hasselblads, Mamiya RZ/RB models, Contax 645, and my favorite, the Mamiya Universal - pictured above. Isn't she pretty? These cameras will run you significantly more than the Land Cameras, but are also more diverse and fancier. 

Fuji makes film for these cameras that are readily available and for pretty cheap! The films aren't quite as sexy as the original Polaroid films which are no longer produced but you can get some nice results.  My favorite of the 3 available films is the Fuji 3000B (not pictured). It is a higher ISO film, which means that it is more sensitive to light than the films you see pictured above. Those films are rated at an ISO of 100 while the 3000 is rated at an ISO of 3200 which means you can shoot in pretty dark conditions and still get a nice picture. You can purchase these films at and B&H.

I hope you enjoyed this post! The last post in this series will have examples of what all these films and integral films look like, a few trips and tricks to use with the films, and a fun giveaway! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Do you have an old Polaroid camera sitting around your house you got at a thrift store a few years ago? Did ya know you can use it?! There's something thrillingly nostalgic about Polaroid, isn't there? Unfortunately Polaroid quit making their instant films a few years ago but luckily for us The Impossible Project has made it their goal to re-invent some fun and beautiful instant films to keep the instant dream alive! I'm by no means an expert on the subject but I do love instant photography and want to do my part to spread the love. Here is a little information to help you get started!

When you hear folks talking about instant film they are probably talking about one of two types: integral or pack film.

Integral film is self contained. It has chemicals inside it that don't leak out (unless something has gone wrong!). It's what comes to mind when you hear the word "Polaroid". With pack film you have to peel one layer off to see an image and the chemistry is on the peeled paper, which is why it's sometimes called peel apart. These two films can't work in the same cameras. In this post we'll focus on integral film cameras.

Here are the most common cameras that take integral film!

These cameras are typically called "600 cameras".
   - They are the no fuss point n shoot instant film cameras.
   - Most models come with built in flash, a darkening/lightening wheel, and some models have a primitive macro setting.
   - The camera on the top left corner is called a 680. It's my favorite of all the polaroid cameras. As you can see it folds up real sexy like, has a flash you can turn on or off, and you control the focus! Luckily for me I married into ownership of this gem!
   - There are tons of different models of these cameras but you probably get the general idea.
   - These cameras take Polaroid 600, which is no longer produced and rather expensive on eBay. Luckily for us The Impossible Project makes the following films for these cameras, pictured below, PX680PX600UV+ , and PX600.

Pictured above are a few different models of SX-70 cameras. 
   - Most models of SX-70 cameras fold up, which I think is nice and really sets these apart. They are my favorite kind of instant film camera to shoot with. 
   - The fold up models are an SLR, so they are a fancier instant film camera with more features.
   - Most SX-70 cameras do not come with flash attached like the 600 models. You can purchase either a flash unit to attach to it, or flash bars to provide flash though. 
   - They're just so cute aren't they?!
   - The Impossible Project makes a film called PX70 that is made specifically for these cameras but you can also use the previously mentioned films, the  PX680PX600UV,  PX600, and Polaroid 600 with a special filter called a Neutral Density or ND filter you put over your film. More on that later.

The Spectra is a lot like the 600 cameras but it takes a wider format of integral film. More to love!
   - The Spectra cameras I own have some really cool features like a self timer, and the ability to turn the flash off.
   - This camera can rather easily make double exposures!! A double exposure is when you take two pictures on one piece of film. There's an awesome tutorial on how to do that here.
   - The Impossible Project makes films just for this camera. They are PZ680, PZ600, and PZ600UV.

But how does it work?! Magic. I mean, really it is magic with some science behind it ;) You pop in the cartridge of film, close the mouth of the camera and hit the shutter have a picture in your hands! It's that easy! The film has chemicals inside of it that spread when the image is being ejected out of the camera. Photojojo made a really fun blog posts explaining exactly how that works, you can see it here.

Most of these cameras can be found easily and cheaply at thrift stores or on Craigslist. The only way to test to see if the camera works is to insert a pack of film and take it for a spin though, so it can be a gamble to buy them this way. If you want a safe bet, The Impossible Project sells refurbished and guaranteed to work ones! Hooray!

Still have questions? Take a peek at my other two blog posts where I'll discuss pack film, show examples of the different films and talk a little bit about accessories!

If you feel well informed and want to get your grubby little hands on a camera and some film, get to shopping!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I don't know about you but there's something about Autumn months that make me feel so inspired and productive! My week has been so wonderfully busy that I never posted this little gem, my contribution to Words To Shoot By.  The word was "sound" and so naturally I used photos of my husbands music equipment and even one of him and his brother playing together.

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend my friend!

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Life is such a funny, fragile, fickle little thing. When I lost my brother, I gained a new appreciation for life and for the fact that every day is not promised. Sometimes I get mad at myself for getting whiny about my life and I forget to be thankful that it's a pretty sweet one! We were so lucky to have great insurance for my brother and to have a network of friends and family that were wonderful supports to us both emotionally and financially. 

Recently my husbands Uncle John passed away. It all happened very quickly, he was diagnosed with cancer and a month later he passed on. This all happened a very short time after he lost his job and with it his insurance. You can probably imagine how difficult this has all been for his family. 

My husband and his brother played a benefit concert tonight to raise some money to help support his Uncle's family by trying to ease the burden of medical bills and funeral costs. In an effort to raise funds I am offering a 25% discount on my brand new 2012 Instant Film Calendars with all proceeds going to The Durkin Family. Head on over to and grab one for a good cause! At checkout use the code "XOBENEFIT" for 25% off of your order. If you wouldn't mind spreading the word about this little deal I would really appreciate it! We are hoping to send the family a check next weekend! 

The passing of Uncle John has reminded me to be thankful for every wonderful person in my life and for all those little things that make life wonderful. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011


For the past few weeks as I've cruised Google Reader I've noticed tons of DIY's. For some reason some of them started bothering me and I couldn't quite put my finger on it. I talked about it with a friend and we came to the conclusion that what is troublesome about some bits of the DIY movement is that it's cheapening independent arts a bit. Let me explain.

It's such an exciting time for all sorts of artists and crafters right now. Etsy and other sites like it have made it easy to shop for just about anything you can imagine made by an artist who puts a lot of love and attention into their craft. A wonderful alternative to shopping in departments stores if you ask me!

So what's so wrong with a little DIY? I don't mind it if someone who has perfected a craft wants to share the details on how to make something they specialize in. That's awesome! Share the love. A DIY post on making a curtain- let 'er rip! A DIY on making some home made ranch dressing- why not?! A DIY post bugs me when you can tell that they are ripping someone else's idea off. Lets be honest, how many things have you seen online that you've thought, "OH! I can totally make that!"? Have you actually made it? Have you tried to make it and it didn't come out quite as nice as the real deal? As someone who has gone the way of Etsy I realize that it takes a lot of effort to do something and to do it well, and have come into a new appreciation for other folks putting a lot of heart into what they make.

I'll be honest, I often see something cool online and think to myself, "Oh I can totally make that" but I know that I either won't actually make it or that if I attempt it- it won't come out as nice as if it was the real deal. And as someone who is trying to make a lil sumptin sumptin I've come into a new appreciation for supporting others who are giving it a go too.

What are your thoughts on the DIY craze?