I have never classified myself as a photographer, but the first time I held a 1950 Polaroid that I had saved a year of Christmas and birthday money for, I felt that all my ideas and visions finally had a home. Owning my own personal Polaroid taught me to make resourceful decisions and change my outlook on superficial error. The scarcity of the film I possessed made it necessary to have a structured and well-planned subject in my portraits. The minuscule pack of film I ordered eliminated the possibility of the numerous insignificant images I would have captured had I been using a digital device.
Contrary to what most would assume, I loved the restriction. I spent far too many vacations taking thousands of mindless pictures and now, finally, I was forced to assess the environment before committing to the button. It seems like such a trivial matter but, when you are limited, you can no longer hide behind piles of photos, the truth resides in the one you decide to capture.
Having a well-formed picture wasn’t always good enough. All the images that had shot out of the dispenser in the camera had multiple chemically disfigured marks, which taught me to seek more dimension to exterior faults. I vividly remember the first time I used my Polaroid and how my garden image was streaked with dark green pigment. The initial disappointment flooding my body soon warped into fascination when I related the image to a visual example of photosynthesis. A seeming mistake turned into art with just a change in perspective.
Turning an experience, as both simple and complicated as taking an instant picture, into lessons that can be introduced in multiple settings, proves how seemingly unimportant events can teach ongoing lessons. We only learn what we open ourselves up to, and much like picture taking and Polaroid’s, people have clever knowledge and superficial errors that are essential to who they are, which I am excited to experience and grow from.
During college, I have furthered my collection of Polaroids that show where I’ve been, how far I've come and as a reminder of my interests and how they continue to grow my knowledge and admiration. Along with my appreciation of polaroids and what they teach me, the lessons have helped me understand humans and their flaws as unique features to who they are. Polaroids capture the essence of truth by allowing a photo to represent an unedited, raw perspective of humanity.