Polaroid Memories

Today’s photographs feature the little school at which I teach in Barcelona.

I know these are not the best photographs I’ve taken but I am proud of them anyway because these are my first (real) polaroids. I took these shots yesterday on a Polaroid One camera which I ordered from a store in Vienna, Austria, along with 7 packages of film. There is, as I blog, another Polaroid camera – a sexy vintage SX-70 Land Camera – winging its way to my parents’ home in Canada.

I confess to loving polaroid photographs. I will not try to hide it or deny it. I love how they look, how they feel, and how the colours are not quite right but in a gorgeous and surreal way. For close to a year, I have been talking/dreaming about buying a Polaroid camera. While I realize that the purchase of this camera (and the film it requires) is not a smart financial decision (DP sometimes gently reminds me of this), art is often unwise and imprudent (DP agrees with me on this one). And yes, it’s true that Polaroid no longer makes that lovely instant polaroid film which has made it scarce and even more expensive to buy. This reality means that my new Polaroid cameras are not going to replace either of my digitals cameras or even my good old Canon Rebel on which I shoot film.

But when I am after a certain kind of image… something dream-like… a through-the-looking-glass kind of photograph… I’ll be using a polaroid for as long as the film is available. (I remain hopeful that one of the photo companies will begin producing film for polaroid cameras. There is definitely a market. Leave me a note below if you have any information about this!) These cameras are also part of my crusade to be more creative. More on that some other post!

On Tuesday evening, I freed my new Star-Trek-looking camera from its plastic packaging. DP and I figured out how to load the film and then I got the bright idea to turn the flash off… except that I had not read the Owner’s Manual (I NEVER read the Owner’s Manual) so I did not realize that what I was pushing was actually the button to take a photograph. My very first polaroid was bad. Very bad. Don’t worry, though… I got over it quickly! Yesterday morning, I tucked the camera into my school bag and brought it to school. Truth be told, I am having a LOT of feelings about this little school right now. Five weeks from today, DP and I will finish our work here. This is our third year at our butter-yellow-coloured school and our jobs have been a labour of love. I took nine photographs of my school (a couple of them are TERRIBLE!) but I don’t really mind. What I wanted most were some little Polaroid memories to take with me when I go…

Below, you can see the view from my office window. I think of this as MY palm tree. I wonder how many other people feel the same way about it.

This is the high school building. On the veranda sits a bench painted bright pink in memory of a grade ten student who died last summer. It’s Margo’s bench. The bench reminds us to live and laugh and love NOW… and not to take a thing for granted.

Have a lovely weekend.

For more Friday Photos, please join us over at Delicious Baby. Thanks to Deb Dubrow for hosting.


  1. Beautiful school and lovely polaroid shots. Your post may motivate me to go back to the thrift store where I was contemplating a couple of different polaroid cameras. Seeing your pics and recent Flickr polaroid groups…making me think it might be fun to try. How expensive is the film? I love the ethereal effect in Polaroid images and the whole "magical" process of watching the image emerge before your eyes. That's how I remember it as a kid. Magic.

  2. I've been contemplating buying a polaroid camera ever since I saw one at the local big box store 6 months ago. I'm glad you did! They also had plenty of film. If you can't find any when you're home in Canada, let me know. I can send some to you. I don't remember the price. Another thing you should investigate is polaroid transfers. It's on my list of things to try. But, I need the camera first.

  3. I'm so happy to see photos of your school – I know you must be feeling so many emotions about leaving! I always love your pictures, no matter what kind of camera you take them on. I definitely wish now that I hadn't gotten rid of the Polaroid camera I had when I was in grammar school. I would have given it to you.

  4. I don't have a lot of wall space, but I was at a local art fair and fell in love with the manipulated Polaroid work of Cynthia Davis. I ended up with a great print of jazz musicians jamming on the street in New Orleans and a smaller one of several pieces of Fiestaware plates.She has a Web site and a few books of her work (mostly Michigan-related sites). http://www.cynthiadavis.com/Home.htmlPolaroids do have a certain charm…and I see why they fascinate you. Great shots. Thanks for sharing.

  5. @The Family QThanks! They do have a certain kind of presentation… all washed out and surreal. I like the dream-like quality.@Dim Sum, Bagels and CrawfishThe film I bought was about 15 Euros for ten photos so I am pretty careful about what I choose to take photographs of. There is quite a lot of film for sale on ebay. I would recommend that you take a look at the prices there.@Dr. Jessie VoigtsThey are fun. Thanks for your comment.@WanderlusterPolaroid has stopped making the film but there is an endless supply of used and vintage cameras… and there is still some film available. Even expired film is highly coveted as some photographers like the unpredictable results.@HeatherDI laughed aloud when I read the phrase "a local big box store." It seems an oxymoron, doesn't it?(They are not so big on box stores in Barcelona although we do have Ikea and it is boxy!) Perhaps you could email me the name of that particular big box store so that I can load up when I'm home. Well… as much as my buget allows. I want to hear more about photo transfers too! Your comments are always so informative… you must be a teacher! :-)@Heather on her TravelsIn a way, NOW is the only time. I think it's a good way to live.@MaraThat might be the single kindest comment of this little blog's life. Thank you. The photography is making me so happy… and its weird because I have always thought of myself as a writer. I am learning, more and more, that we don't need to define ourselves as this OR that… but we can be this AND that!@Marina VillatoroIt is one seriously little school. It has four buildings and two of them are old Spanish villas. I know every single student in the high school. I will miss that…@DominiqueThanks for the information about Cynthia Davis. I'm off to take a look at her work right now.

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