Q&A: Expired Eight /w Maija Karisma

This is the ninth edition of our Q&A blog series titled "The Expired Eight". Our aim is to highlight instant film photographers using expired film in a variety of formats. Today's Q&A is with Maija Karisma. Connect with Maija on her website and Flickr!

 (Keep in mind that our interviewees are not always native English speakers. We feel that their words and attitude are more important than perfect grammar).

Tell us about when instant film came into your life and what inspired to you to keep using it?
First concrete contact occurred during the study time the mid-90s. I had seen many times in movies Polaroid cameras and drooled to get myself a mystical magic box. One day I happened to see a camera shop window a few polaroid cameras and I went straight to buy one box type 600 close up camera. I used one of the first pictures modeling for drawings and paintings. The actual pictures were not good,  i was not so excited shoot again. Maybe few packs, but not much. It took a long time before I was able to actually turn attention to shooting again and understanding these kind cameras and the beauty of the old instant films. Last few years has been to me like a rocket ride, I have learned a lot of the films and cameras, although there is still lot to learn. I'm probably more excited now than as a child after seeing a magic box for the first time.  Now I get such amazing tones and colors, it is just totally new world to me.

What attracted you to expired film? Have a favorite?
It is amazing how the old polaroid films produce incredibly magical colors and tones, with all development errors, opportunities to manipulate images in different ways, the image transfers and lifts plus other image manipulation possibilities, those things make images particularly enchanting and fascinating. Living a world that digital can not offer, a real hands to do, less staring screen. I like all polaroid films that I have been able to use. Perhaps favorite films are currently in Blue-tinted pack films 108, 669, ID-UV, 88 and 661. Someone once said that the 108 is like wine, it gets better every year. I also believe so, flavor and character is increasing every year.  Of course, integral films Time Zero, TZ Artistic and TZ fade to black do the trick. All polaroid films will soon be a part of history. Maybe ten years from now, maybe earlier films availability changes radically. Also the quality changes for  worse or more unimaginable direction. Up to now the availability of certain films is very difficult or expensive. Is an incredibly great that I can be experiencing use these films now.

How would you describe your work?
 It’s a hard question. I think that I could say one word, salad. Little bit this and little bit that and tasty salad is ready. I hope. Very different types of images I think. I do not believe that I only have one style photograph, maybe not style at all. Haha.. Sometimes portrait, documentation, or just shooting poetic and surreal things. I paint the windows with my cameras to show my small colorful world.

What types of Instant Cameras and film do you use? What is your favorite combination?
I try to use different types of cameras and films. Or at least it has been so. Currently, there are 180 land camera, Graflex grown graphic and folding SX-70 camera which I am stuck on more than other cameras. Sepia film fits in well with the 180, when shooting in low light. Graflex makes so great magic that it does not matter which film in use. SX-70 with time zero does its job, pure magic too. I've tried a number of films, but there is still some of which I want to try. I have used:

Many Impossible films.

Polaroid films:

  •  5372
  • 79
  • 88
  • 89
  • Viva
  • 80 Chocolate
  • Studio 125
  • 125i
  • 679
  • 690
  • Polacolor 100
  • 108
  • 661
  • 669
  • ID-UV
  • 667
  • 665
  • 664


  • 100 Chocolate
  • 100 Blue
  • 100 Sepia
  • Softone
  • Spectra Image
  • Time-Zero
  • TZ-Artistic
  • TZ-Artistic fade to black
  • SX-70 Blend
  • 600

Fuji Films:

  • FP-100B
  • FP-3000B
  • FP100C
  • FP-3000B45
  • FP-100C45

What are the main difficulties and hurdles obtaining and using expired film?
I live in Finland. The film is not much available here, therefore I have to use a lot of the internet and purchase films abroad. Sometimes a particular film hunting takes a really long time, at worst, more than a year. Inevitably it has increased my perseverance. Films are also generally expensive. When the film package is dry, it does not raise your mood, fortunately it does not happen often. I have learned pretty well to identify the age at which the film is worth to buy and at what price. Money and availability are the biggest obstacle to purchasing films, but hey we live only once.

 Any tips for those interested in experimenting?
Try everything, first acquired the latest films and the progress since the early 2000s films. If the money is not a problem, you can rip up to 80's films. Whether it's vintage film any of them can give a very different trace even if they are out of date in the same year. Cheap pack film camera and a couple of packs 669 film and you have a good start. Brisk experiment and reflection on how to crop and shoot. this is not a digital blasting, so you have a certain limited number of frames to consider what you are shooting. Failures should be, but do not care about those, magical moments await you .. yes!

 Do you have any instant photographers that inspire you? (please provide links).
There are too many. I think every photographer photographed one way or another inspiring images. But to tell the truth after all, there are also many who get up image after image gasping for air. Sometimes it astonished such like Flicker how little some of the spectacular images get the attention compared to say, mine. It really is surprised, but people just like different things. In fact I like the overseer too many things, it would be wrong to begin to list the number of graphs. Flickr,  Polanoiders, snapitseetit.comshootingfilm.net etc. and surely you will find great instant photos.

 Do you have any upcoming exhibitions/publications?
Not much at the moment. My life partner asked me when I set up the exhibition, but it is not yet the right time. I hope in the near future. I dream of my own instant photo book or partly to be able to participate in making. Let's see what the future brings..more children and less shooting time and money haha. :D

"Keep shooting!" -Maija