May 16, 2011

Interview: The Polaroid Girls

I am beyond thrilled to welcome Kristen and Darlene, photographers and friends with a common passion for all things Polaroid.  For over two years, these ladies have worked on and shared a Polaroid diptych collaboration. Kristen's picture is always on the left, Darlene's on the right, and come Monday morning... they reveal their instant magic.

It is my pleasure to introduce:  The Polaroid Girls

Kristen                          Darlene

- I would love to hear how your Polaroid Girls project began and how long the both of you have been collaborating together.

Kristen:  Polaroid Girls started 2+ years ago, when Darlene sent me an email asking if I'd like to collaborate on a polaroid project. I was SO flattered!

Darlene:  At the time, Kristen and I knew each other peripherally.  We had been emailing back and forth about boots and then she gave me a tip about where I could buy polaroids because I was hoarding what little film I had and had grown quite scared to shoot for fear of running out.   In all honesty, I admired her artistic polaroids as much as I did her eye for a good pair of boots so I asked her if she wanted to collaborate doing weekly polaroid dyptichs.  I figured it would help me actually crack open one of my boxes of dwindling film and that I likely had a good year of a polaroid a week in me before I ran out completely.  I nervously wrung my hands worrying about her response but I didn't have to wait long and was thrilled to bits that she said yes!  I can't believe that we are already well into year 3 with no signs of slowing down.  Honestly, I love polaroids and I love her and I especially love how our friendship has grown alongside our project. 

- Tell me about your process – do you discuss a theme for your photos in advance or is your method more spontaneous?

Kristen:  There is no process to our weekly collaboration, although the serendipity of our photos together, would make it seem otherwise. We don't discuss what we'll shoot ahead of time. There has been a couple of instances when we've specifically stated that we'll pull from our archives when we've been traveling, (instead of shooting fresh), and we've also had a self portrait thrown in here and there. Other than that, we have no idea what the other person will have for the week. The reveal every Sunday is something I look forward to all week.

Darlene:  What I especially love about our project is the spontaneious nature of it.  It is incredibly low maintenance in that we decided not to have weekly themes or put any limits on it other than it had to be shot with a polaroid camera of some sort.  The subject matter is wide open and there are no rules though we try to post a polaroid that was shot during the previous week.  Sometimes we will do theme but only when we are chatting and something spontaneously comes up like ... lets shoot 100 film next week or that one time when we were both swimming a lot and we thought it would be fun to do a selfie swim theme.  (See it here)

- If it’s more of a spontaneous collaboration, which weeks in particular have surprised you the most?
Kristen's choice ~ click to view Original

Darlene's choice ~ click to view Original

A spontaneous fave chosen by both ladies ~ click to view Original

- What is your 1) Favorite Polaroid Camera to shoot with? 2) Favorite time of day to shoot? 3) Favorite film to use?

Kristen:  My favorite Polaroid camera to shoot with is my 680slr. I love how close I can get and I feel like she captures light in a way that my other cameras do not.  

I really love to shoot in the early morning. I love the fresh quality to the light, especially in the winter months with its milky luminescence.  
I love 600 film and I'm hoarding my last few packs. That said, I ADORE the new px680 film which I was fortunate enough to get my hands on. The colors and the quality of saturation are so inspiring and hope-filled.

Darlene:  1. polaroid sx-70  2. midday  3. polaroid tz artistic

Darlene, what is your favorite of Kristen’s Polaroid pics and why?

Oh dear.  I never choose favourites for anything because a 'favourite' is a moving target for me especially when it comes to an artist as prolific and incredibly evolving as Kristen.  That said, I have a mad love for her polaroid spectra double exposures and this one is my current favorite:
Photo by: Kristen

alongside this one.  I love these because they express a longing, a remarkable insight into what it is to be human and to be truly living with the depth and breadth of emotion and expansiveness.

Kristen, what is your favorite of Darlene's Polaroid pics and why?

My all-time favorite Polaroid is this one:
Photo by: Darlene

I can't describe why it's a favorite. I think it's the mood that is implied in the photo - it says so much.

I’ve admired both your Polaroids and your digital pictures for years.  It’s been amazing to watch the two of you grow from where you began to where you are now, evolving within your craft.  What is the #1 tip you could share about shooting with a Polaroid camera.

Kristen: The number one tip I have whilst shooting Polaroid: Slow down, don't rush. And the first shot is always the best.
Photo by: Kristen

Darlene:  Always carry your polaroid camera in your purse, knapsack or tote bag and when the light sings to your heart in that way that causes tears to prick at the back of your eyelids ... shoot ... just shoot.
Photo by: Darlene

It's truly inspiring to see how your friendship has blossomed over your shared love of Polaroid photography.  For as long as the light is just right and you have packs of film in your bags, I hope to see the Polaroid Girls succeed on, and on, and on.

Now I get to choose a favorite (surprise ladies!) I'm a lucky girl, I own a set of these prints:
Kristen on the left ~ Darlene on the right

Kristen Perman is a fine art photographer living in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter. Inspired by the ocean and desert in the urban suburban sprawl of Los Angeles, Kristen is a tea-loving bookworm, a girl who chases light and shadow; always exploring, always a camera in hand.

One of her favorite original Polaroids can be viewed here.

I live in a wee colourful cottage with my drummer musician husband and sports minded son in a lovely old eclectic neighbourhood in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  When I am not scribbling in my notebooks or playing with light, I can usually be found sketching, painting, twisting up jewelry designs, puttering in my kitchen and tending my garden.

I am grateful for family, the light that casts beauty across shadows, music that lifts emotions, a little house and garden filled with colour and love, friends and inspirations, the beauty of nature, the ocean's cold spray, the soft barnacle skin of the grey whale and the possibilities that exist in life. Blog: Hippy Urban Girl


kristen said...


Thank you Bella, this makes my day.


daisies said...

ohhhh ... this is so lovely bella, thank you so much!! i have such mad love for kristen, this project and yes you too xoxox

elizn said...

makes my day, too!
Fun to feel part of your conversation, Dar and Kristen!

And Bella--thanks for starting/sharing this project!!
I am so enjoying it!

Lis said...

I am loving your series and the opportunity to "meet" so many gifted photographers! I have been dabbling with my sx-70 for 6 months now, am loving it although both frustrated and fascinated by Impossible Project film. I would love to read/see more about your experiences using the film and any tips/tricks :) I have an upcoming trip to Italy and would love to shoot a lot of film!

xo Lis

Suvarna said...

wonderful to see you both here, I also heart your choice Bella, if I do say so ( those are my teacups, hee hee). wonderful post.

thea said...

love these girls! Such a cool interview! ♥

Stef said...

love these girls and their talent! such a beautiful interview!! thank you!!!