Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Polaroid + Food

Finds at the Food Coop, locally grown within 500 miles, fresh organic strawberry basket

Recently I was thinking about how my love of food photography really started with Polaroid. One Thanksgiving while I was making cranberry sauce using organic whole cranberries with orange zest I decided to photograph the process and I fell in love, with food + instant film. This week at the Park Slope Food Coop I found beautiful baskets of organic strawberries as well as amazing broccoli that was being sold with all its large dark green leaves still attached. I grabbed a couple bunches and noticed all the loose leaves laying around so I started collecting some of those as well for my bird, Lola. At the same time this woman who was standing next to me was staring at me like I was crazy and she started plucking off all the leaves attached her bunch. When I asked her if I could have her leaves that she was discarding, she looked at my three heads and asked what I would use them for and I explained they were for my parakeet, who also eats kale and spinach by the way. She was not very amused. I also ate some of the leaves myself sliced thinly in a salad as well as steamed with the broccoli Florettes, and they were hearty and delicious.

Well…my idea really was to create a post for Eating Brooklyn which would include both finds at the Food Coop together, all shot with Polaroid, since I was pleased with the strawberries I had already shot. I only had four shots of Polaroid Spectra film left in my Minolta instant Pro. I really should have paced my shots because in the end after I had beautifully styled my bunches of broccoli I was left without a winning shot. Always, always have extra film! Which these days, sadly it’s much too difficult to keep up with because of the price of instant film, since polaroid decided to stop producing it. Thanks Polaroid!

 Making cranberry sauce with orange zest, SX-70 with 600 film

Yes I know, there are all those fun apps on the iPhone that produce Polaroid like photographs, which are beautiful by the way, but I still don’t have an iPhone and to me it’s still not the same as using film. Believe me I would love to have an iPhone and be able to use all those fun apps that mimic all the old-school types of films but I simply cannot afford one...hint, hint, Apple, wouldn’t you like to give me an iPhone? : )  I also have stock photography to keep in mind and the fact that with film you can provide your client a high resolution file for print. Then again the Polaroid like images you get from your iPhone apps may be good enough for publication on the web, with the added advantage of being tremendously cheaper to produce! 

Still I managed to have the some of the following Polaroids included in the Foodpix collection (as well as other non food related polaroid shots) at Getty Images and I am very honored to be included as one of the photographers in an upcoming book about food photography and styling, by well-known food photographer and writer Lara Ferroni, who will be featuring some of my Polaroid work in the book. Thanks Lara!

Polaroid + Food is one of my favorite Flickr groups, administered by wonderful photographer, editor and writer Steph Parke who also has a great recipe blog, budding foodie, where she features a lot of her own Polaroid food photography. There is also the Impossible Project, which is saving the art of instant film since Polaroid dropped the ball, but although they have come out with some great and innovative film I am still waiting in my opinion for them to perfect their color film because it does not quite have the sharpness and the vivid color I had come to love about Polaroid film. I do love their black frame film and I did manage to get a shot of a mint bunch which I quite like from their black-and-white film. But still most of my more successful shots were shot on the original Polaroid film. An image from one of my stock shoots of a young girl holding a gingerbread house was featured in the impossible Project holiday newsletter. 

Although I am disappointed by Polaroid as a company for discontinuing their instant film I am curious about their new product, the GL30 digital camera coming out later this year. It’s supposed to combine the best of both worlds, the feel and look of using a vintage Polaroid camera together with a more modern look and digital results, don’t disappoint me Lady Gaga!


  1. Lovely post, and such beautiful images.

  2. I've heard the rumors about the new digital Polaroid camera and i'm definitely looking forward to seeing it too. Cranberry with orange zest, yum! Great photo and great inspiration :)