Instant film convention develops in North Texas

Brookhaven College professors, photographers and celebrities to be featured at world’s first convention centered on instant film photography.

By Amber Gipson
Arts & Culture Editor

Photo Courtesy of Instant Film Society

Photo Courtesy of Instant Film Society

 

Lately there has been a resurgence of nostalgic artifacts, and instant film cameras are no exception.

“There is something special about shooting instant film [that] makes you really consider each exposure and slow down and get it right,” according to Guy Reynolds, Dallas Morning News photo editor.

This shift is evident as sales of digital cameras have started to drop, according to an article from The Wall Street Journal. Representatives from Fujifilm Holdings Corp. said they expect the company to sell a record 5 million units of their various models of instant film cameras, compared to a predicted 1.4 million digital cameras. The company sees this sales increase as a continuing trend, and on Sept. 6, announced a new line of black-and-white instant film.

A group of local photographers, educators and hobbyists are hoping to capitalize on this resurgence.

“Now, every mall in North America with an Urban Outfitters sells instant film, and even many big box retailers like Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Jo-Ann Fabrics have started to stock some instant films and cameras,” Daniel Rodrigue, Brookhaven College photojournalism professor and Instant Film Society co-founder, said.

PolaCon: An Instant Film Convention, will be the world’s first 3-day instant film photography convention, Rodrigue said.

The convention will take place Sept. 30-Oct. 2 in Dallas and Denton, Texas.

Steve and Erin Reeves, of MakeShift Photography, former Brookhaven students and current continuing education instructors, will also lead discussions on the basics of packfilm and a lesson on digitally scanning instant film photographs.

PolaCon2016 will coincide with the IFS’s fifth annual #PolaWalk at the State Fair of Texas, and feature actor and photographer Jason Lee as a special guest speaker, as well as Patrick Tobin from Impossible Project.

The IFS was founded in 2012 by a group of film photographers and educators to increase awareness, accessibility and understanding of instant film photography, according to the DMN.

Rodrigue said that IFS members from North Texas and Los Angeles first started discussing a centrally located event with workshops as early as 2014. The planning slowly took shape and PolaCon2016 was announced on social media in September 2015.

According to IFS’s website, the group has partnered with Film Photographic and Denton Camera Exchange to host PolaCon2016. It will feature special guest speakers and photographers, panel discussions, a camera swap meet area, an instant film pop-up exhibition, 8″x10″ demos and an 8″x10″ instant photo booth. There will also be film- and camera-specific walks, meet-ups, special pop-up events, Polaroid-friendly photo-ops and backdrops.

PolaCon2016 will begin with a 4 p.m. meet-up Sept. 3o in Deep Ellum followed by a mini PolaWalk to Fair Park for the 5th annual rain-or-shine #PolaWalk at the State Fair of Texas. At 7:30 p.m., attendees will meet at Big Tex for a group portrait, camera swaps and scavenger hunt. The event will end with a “Neon at Night” walk through Deep Ellum.

Saturday and Sunday of PolaCon are free to attend. However, some workshops, how-to demos, and guest speakers will have limited seating and be restricted to guests who sent RSVPs. All Saturday and Sunday attendees must register through Eventbrite at bit.ly/PolaCon2016.

The Second Annual PolaCon will take place Oct. 13-15, 2017.

 

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