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Ruined Polaroids - William Miller

I came across this project by veteran photographer and photojournalist William Miller. The story behind “Ruined Polaroids” is so unique – I immediately fell in love with the concept and resulting images. Let’s leave the explaining to Miller himself:

“These pictures are taken with a camera that is, by most definitions, broken: an old Polaroid SX-70 camera rescued from a yard sale. I’ve always loved this camera. It is an ingeniously conceived, complicated bundle of gears and switches with hundreds of moving parts packed in tight like a chrome and leather pistol…

With its first use I realized the camera wasn’t functioning properly. It sometimes spills out two pictures at a time and the film often gets stuck in the gears, exposing and mangling the images in unpredictable ways. Over time I’ve figured out how to control and accentuate aspects of the camera’s flaws but the images themselves are always a surprise…

This project is an unintended exploration into the three-dimensional physical character of an antiquated photographic medium that touches on subjects from the artistic value of chance, to questions of what constitutes a photograph. I say unintended because what I’m focusing on here is a technological anomaly. The failure of a process.

Miller’s attention to these processes has made all of his recent ventures into fine art photography highly refreshing.

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