Self-taught artist and photographer Douglas Duerring puts ideas into action proficiently, due to his long-time work in the sound and light industry. Past experiences include Cirque Du Soleil, National Opera of Paris, and a gamut of commercial work. Current developments include working on the fourth season filming of Cinemax's show "Banshee," acting as a multi-talented graphics guru, and being local Beardographer™ of the Steel City Beard and Mustache Club. Starting from November 8th, 2014, Duerring has captured a Polaroid a Day of his visual explorations using a Polaroid Land Camera 250, Polaroid Big Shot, and a 1950’s 4x5 Kodak View Camera with a variety of expired and new Polaroid and Fuji pack films. PRYME wanted to know more about Duerring’s inspiration for his daily Polaroid project and to congratulate him for going six months strong. That’s 222 instant photos! More below.
Check out Duerring's "Polaroid Pittsburgh" Facebook page: www.facebook.com/polaroidpgh
When did you begin to have an interest in instant film? What made you keep shooting it?
It started when I was around 8 years old and my father came home with a Polaroid 600. I fell in love with the: take a photo, and give it a shake, and poof an instant photograph. As I grew up, I moved away form photography for about 20 years. One day I was taking a photograph of my lighting design for a show down in Turks & Caicos, and it just smacked me right up side the head. Why did you ever stop photography. I started back in with digital, but there was something missing. So I started with film shooting on my fathers Pentax Spotmatic which he used as a photographer. That was what I was missing, FILM! I went on a mission to an old antique shop and I found a Polaroid Land Camera 250 just staring at me. I bought it and went home, cleaned it up, and went out to buy some Fujifilm FP-3000B film. Once I took my first shot with that camera I knew that was what I wanted and loved. The feeling of peeling apart the film to reveal the image always ( no matter how much I shoot) makes me geek out and have "nerdvana".
What motivated you to start your series? Was there an “aha” moment? When did you say to yourself, “I have to do this!”.
I had been shooting on some Polaroid Land 250 cameras and I thought this might be something good for a daily project. It will get me out there shooting everyday, and I get to do what I love. Once I started it the aha moment happened when I Polaroid liked and reposted my shots from the project, this made me very excited.
How long do you think you will keep this up? Forever?
I don’t have a plan of stopping in any near future. I love it way to much to give it up. At first I thought I would start with one year and go from there, but I am at day 221 right now and I do not see any end in sight.
What is the most challenging part of running your site?
There isn’t really any challenges, besides wishing to have a program that would post to Facebook, twitter, and flickr at once. Work Smart not hard.
Ever miss a day? Is there a good story behind it?
I have not missed a day if you consider the day still the same day until you go to sleep. I have posted at 1 or 2 in the morning, because I was working 16 hour days. This has been a recent occurrence, as I was on set being the dimmer opt/programmer for season 4 of Banshee, which is on Cinemax. I can’t go into more detail of what we were doing. SPOILERS!!
What instant film cameras (and type of film) are you favoring currently? Any particular reason?
I will always love my Polaroid Land 250 loaded up with Fujifilm FP-3000B film. Sadly Fuji no longer makes this black and white film and my stock is running very low. I have recently received a Early 1950’s Kodak Master View 4x5. I bought the Polaroid 405 back and could not be happier with that purchase. The Kodak 4x5 gets so crisp when I am working with one light source. Another favorite of mine is my Polaroid Big Shot. This camera grabbed a hold of me from the time I picked it up, I still order the old GE flash bulbs from Canada to work with this great camera. Pricey, but worth it.
Where is your favorite place to shoot in Pittsburgh and why?
I honestly do not have a favorite place to shoot in Pittsburgh. I would have to say the whole city of Pittsburgh, because it is so diverse from neighborhood to neighborhood. That is what I love about this city. You have these giant upscale houses and then you drive a mile and boom! You find old Pittsburgh just hiding in plain view. You can see the old Steel Mills: some still working, some run down, and others that have turned into new buildings. Pittsburghers' have so much pride in their city and it shows. We have been innovators for so many years. The Banana Split, Whopper, Ferris Wheel, Saturday’s off, First public radio station, and the first suspension bridge were all invented or started here in Pittsburgh. It is as city that once you come visit, you never want to leave.
Where do you plan to shoot in the future? Any places you haven't gotten out to yet?
There are some other projects I am working on for instant photography, but those I will keep a secret for now. I do have a giant shoot planned with 50 plus people in early August 2015 that I will be shooting with my Kodak 4x5 and Fujifilm FP-3000B film. I am looking forward to that shoot. There are some places I have not gotten to yet, as I am not allowed to bring in a tripod to shoot there. So using Fujifilm FP-100C film is out, but that is the film I want to use in these places. Someday I hope I will be able to get in there and shoot.
What is your average day like, how do you find the time to focus on instant?
My average day changes almost everyday. I am currently working on the filming of Season 4 of the tv show Banshee. So one day I start in a bar, go to a basement, go to a sheriff’s office, to… sorry can’t give it all away. I always have one or more cameras with me at all times. Like in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy: always carry a towel. Shots just whisper out at me and say "psst... you need to shoot me!".
Anything else you would like to share?
My photography company is Douglas Duerring Photography and I use instant film with many projects that don't work or are not as clean for Polaroid Pittsburgh. My personal projects are where I get to become artistic and humorous, other sides of me come out. Sadly I do not get to shoot as much as I would love to with instant. But I am working on changing that, it all comes in time.