Arthur on Film

No! No, no, no, no, no… I’m by no means a photographer.

This is just another hobby I hope doesn’t go away!

Growing up in Brazil, in the 90’s, was interesting. I didn’t know at the time, but most of what we consumed from abroad - mainly products and content - were from the 80’s. We were behind.

We were behind in many ways, actually, but it was a wonderful childhood. Playing outside with zero worries until sundown. Gettind into piles of mud with friends just because and avoid going home to not face the consequences. Use broom sticks and other things found in the garage to build a snake hunting tool, further convincing friends to go on a hunt (no snakes were harmed but we put ourselves in danger a couple times).

While at home, however, I was constantly going through boxes, shelves, drawers, wardrobes, anything. Watching, finding stuff, checking them out, turning them around. Luckily I was organised and put it back neatly, which made my parents and grandparents be ok with all that.

That is when I found monocles (this is a literal translation to monóculos, the actual thing might be called completely different in English - I was unable to find references). I remember finding those things magical, yet not figuring out how they work.

Monocles This photograph was taken by Jose Roberto Ortega and scans of the chrome films can also be found on his Instagram here.

From a very early age, I loved photographs. I spent hours going through old albums and monocles and all over again, but I didn’t like to be photographed. I sure enjoyed pretending to take photographs using my parent’s old Olympus point and shoot camera without film, so much they gifted me a toy camera I had with me all the time - between the wild adventures outdoors and playing football on the street.

Instant photography

I have a fairly good memory of my childhood, from very very early on. Usually guessing the year a memory took place by associating it with school and my friends at the time as well. It’s safe to say this took place in late 1999, when I was almost 7 years old - then I wasn’t yet studying music, I wasn’t yet studying at EDMAL either 🤔

Taking a photograph and having it almost immediately in your hands was a thing we saw in the movies. I’ve told you earlier, we were behind. Don’t test my “good memory” statement earlier by asking which movies, that is a bit of a strecht!

But it’s only then, in 1999, playing football on the streets, at the big square in front of my grandparents’ house, in front of the church dating back to the XVII century, that I saw one.

This couple stepped out of the car with number plate from another State, the man had a box-like thing in his hands. Walking towards the front of the church and moving a bit past us - that continue to play ball, but attentive to their movements. He opens it, looks inside, moves it around and shoots… A photograph is coming out of it. We get it. It is one of those cameras from the movies!!!

The lady makes small talk with us. I was shy, not very engaging, but a friend asks to see the camera. That exact part I don’t recollect very well, nor how the photo turned out. But I do recall the feeling. The feeling that it was the future, it was awesome, it was magical. That one day I’d have one and go around taking photographs with it - back then I probably thought I’d be going around driving a cool car like in the movies too. Believe me, I was a dreamer… I thought that by 18 yo I’d have a wife, 2 kids, big house with a pool, a car and would travel by myself to watch Brazil play in all World Cups.

Life happens, quite fast actually. Digital cameras become a thing faster than I could ever afford to buy a camera on my own. I never saw another Polaroid that close to me ever again.

The last photos I ever took with a 35mm film camera was in 2005, in a school trip to a nature conservation area. It was a friend’s camera and we all together bought one roll of film. I wonder where it is now.

Fast forward 23 years

Amsterdam, Netherlands, summer of 2022. I’ve left Brazil 10 years ago. I’ve been in the Netherlands for 5. Photography for me faded a long time ago - coincidentally when digital became a thing.

We get together to celebrate a mate’s birthday. It’s a sunny day by a beautiful canal, and there comes this friendly guy, which was a pleasure to meet. Not long after, he pulls out of his bag a Polaroid SX-70 and stars shooting. That was beautiful! I didn’t act as much as I was thinking about it, but I observed Connor take the best out of people. Get their curiosity, talk about it. This chap and his SX-70 brough me back to thinking it’s awesome, it’s magical […] it’s one of those cameras from the movies!

Connor poses in one of his photos on Instagram Connor poses in one of his photos on Instagram.

Yes, when I got home I ordered myself one and, ever since, have been on a rabbit hole of film/instant photography! SEND HELP!

I’ve not jumped into a SLR or anything just yet, but I’ve found the Polaroid OneStep+ to be a decent compromise between new camera, old-ish look and good enough for my needs.

Polaroid OneStep+ After 23 years, my first Polaroid, the OneStep+.

I showed interest in getting a Polaroid Go as well. It doesn’t possibly compare to it’s older/bigger siblings, but the compact size and cheaper film makes it perfect to shoot on the go and have fun with friends wherever I could be at. It is a marvelous piece of new/old tech and good entry point to instant photography for many people.

While doing lots of research into modern instant photography, it’s beautiful to see that it’s again on the rise, alongside traditional film. It is more than a nostalgic feeling. There is more care, more love, more art to it. Amateurs and professionals alike are giving more attention to film compared to a few decades ago. Indeed #filmisnotdead!

And while talking a friend that works at Polaroid about getting myself a Polaroid Go, he gifted me one 🥹

Polaroid Go The tiniest camera to shoot instant film. The Polaroid Go.

This is not about perfection or doing it right

No, I’m truly not a photographer. I don’t aspire to be one either.

This isn’t about taking perfect or professional shots. Sure you can improve, learn a thing or two. But it’s a way to spontaneously capture moments. To put a smile on people’s faces. To make special moments even more special. A way to be more present, more attentive, more honest - for those that take the shot and the one on the other side of it.

Little 7 year old me is happy as he could be right now, with one of those cameras from the movies!

Group of polaroids taken with the OneStep+ Still learning and improving but here are 3 of the first photographs I’ve taken with the OneStep+.