An instant classic

The photograph above was made using one of my Polaroid 101 Land cameras, and is one of my all time favourite photographs. It was made using Fuji FP3000B pack film, now sadly discontinued. You can still get it, but it's become very expensive since Fuji stopped shipping it sometime in 2015.

Molly and Amy in the lobby of the Hotel Europe, Vancouver. 

My Polaroid Land Camera 101

My Polaroid Land Camera 101

The photo opportunity itself was quite serendipitous. Molly and her friend Amy were visiting Vancouver and I was showing them around Gastown when we passed by the Hotel Europe. The Hotel Europe, AKA "the flatiron building" is one of the most well known landmarks in Vancouver. Located where Water St. intersects with Alexander and Powell, it dates from 1909. 

As we passed by the door to the small lobby, a tradesman was coming out. Some renovations were underway somewhere inside the building. I mentioned to him that the tiled lobby was very beautiful and would be great for a photo and he said "go inside if you want" and held the door for us. 

We three slipped inside the lobby and I quickly directed the girls to the staircase for a quick portrait. I only took the one shot, and this is the result. I love the way the whole scene including the girls has a sort of vintage or Victorian look to it. It was taken in 2013, but the setting and even Molly and Amy's clothing and hair seem to have a certain timeless look that day. 

The image here is actually a scan of the negative that is created with the Fuji FP3000B. The fact that you get a paper negative is a feature of FP3000B that I absolutely adore. It's pack film so you shoot, pull the film out through the rollers, grasping it by the paper tab, and after about 15 seconds you peel the two parts and are left with a print in one hand and a sort of paper negative in the other. 

I gave the print to Molly and kept the negative for myself. Scanning and inverting it creates a very nice low-fi looking image, grainy and perhaps a bit reminiscent of some of the early printing processes. This of course is also part of the why the image has this classic or vintage look to it. 

I recently (and begrudgingly) ordered a couple of packs of the FP3000B online. With shipping and taxes and currency exchange I figure it will cost me about $5.00 a shot to make pictures this way. So I'll choose my subjects carefully I guess! Here's hoping that someone will start producing a substitute for this unique and beautiful instant pack film.

More of my film photography