This is the 21st 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 Guillaume Nalin!
Guillaume Nalin is a professional decorative painter with a 15+ of urban graffiti experience who lives and works in Paris, France. Over the years his employment and non-photography related creative work has taken him to many international locations, like the USA and Russia, and has taken up much of his time. When he has free moments while traveling for work or at home, he shoots Polaroid images with his Polaroid SX-70 and Polaroid Land Camera 180. Nalin's work is greatly influenced by his urban art background. His Polaroid images show an urban landscape that is full of life by composing pictures made up of hard lines and contrasting colors and shapes. Though many of his images show a human form, they are not the center of his images. They help to show the desolate nature of the forgotten streets, subways, and industrial areas that used to have so much life.
Nalin's photographs have recently been highlighted by several on-line platforms, including Polanoid, Polaroid Passion, and The Polavoid. He has also exhibited his work as apart of Expolaroid 2013 in Montelimar, France. He has several future projects lined up and is looking forward releasing a book of his work later this year.
Connect with Guillaume Nalin on his Instagram!
Tell us about when instant film came into your life and what inspired you to keep using it:
Between 2004 and 2005 I found a few Polaroid cameras like the Polaroid 1000 and 3000 model cameras, but without any film. I thought that it wasn't possible to find it anymore. In 2007, in an antiques market, I found two original Time Zero film packs but the guy who sold me it told me said that it was his last one and that Polaroid had stopped to producing it. At that moment I didn't know that other types of film could be used for these kind of cameras. At that point I had only shot two packs of film, and the results weren't so great.
Two years later I finally tried to find some ways to use these cameras, and started to do some research on internet. At the same time I discovered two websites: Polanoid and Polaroid Passion. I was very surprised and excited to discover so many different works of many photographers who used only Polaroid films, At the same time I discovered 600 type film and that it was possible to use it with my cameras. The very next week I begun to create my own stock of instant film consisting of expired Type 600 Film, Time Zero, TZ Artistic, and Fade to Black. I haven't stopped buying film since. My biggest discovery was when I saw some pictures made with the SX-70, and I thought to myself “I want one!” At this time in my life, I used to do a lot of urban explorations and for me, the effect and the frame of Polaroid film was a good way to capture these magics moments.
What attracted you to Expired Film. What's your favorite to use?
Expired Polaroid film has an effect which looks like a kind of “patina” effect, which allows me a way to recreate the atmosphere that I want to translate in my pictures. The particularities of expired film like weird colors, scratches, and light effects inspire me to create and compose pictures that highlight these effects. For me it's also a way to bring some poetry to the subject that I shoot.This is why I also like to shoot famous places or monuments. Even if every body had the same pictures made with digital cameras, my images made with expired Polaroid film make them unique.
How do you describe your work and how do you decide what subjects to photograph? What sorts of things capture your attention?
I work with few different themes, but the main idea of them is probably the city, the urban atmosphere, the urban landscape. I've spent a lot of time to walking in the city, I have 15 years of graffiti background experience, and that's probably why I find so much inspiration in this subject. The street, trains, subway, and the forgotten industrial area are all things I try to capture. I compose images like the way I paint. I try to find a balance of light that highlights lines and perspective. That's a big reason why I love to use expired Time Zero and Type 669 film. With these films the effects of painting by using the strong contrast of colors and light. Often times I have people in my images in a fixed way. I use them so you can feel the void of the city become alive.
I also enjoy using the reflections in water like after a rain and you can find a big hole of water in the street. I spend a lot of time in the city focused on water until I can find the best moment and spot to shoot. Nature is an important subject to me too. I try to find some particular place, like an abandoned bunker on the beach or an abandoned house in the country side. I enjoy the contrast between what humans have created and natures colors and strong shapes.
What are the main difficulties and hurdles obtaining and using expired film in this format?
The main difficulty is actually finding film. Fortunately I have many packs of Time Zero, Type 669 and Type 600 still in my fridge. The hardest part is finding some at a good price that is also still good to use. It's not impossible, but very hard because the results depend on the expiration date and the way the films have been stored.
What types of Instant Cameras do you own? Which One is your favorite and why?
I have a lot of Polaroid cameras: a Type 600 camera, a Type 1000 camera, a few SX-70s, one Polaroid Image Camera and one Polaroid Land Camera 180. Most of the time I'm using the SX-70 and the Land Camera 180, as those formats are my favorite. To be honest, I always have both of them in my bag when I'm going to shoot. I pick the camera from my bag based on the moments I find myself in.
Any tips for those interested in experimenting?
I advise you not to buy film expired before 2003 for Time Zero and 2001 for Type 669. To have some good results really depending on the film though. The expired Type 600 film really doesn't like strong natural light. The opposite is true with Time Zero and Type 669 which give some great colors with summer light. I think it is better to overexpose with expired films.
When you are not shooting expired Polaroid film, what film are you shooting any why?
When I'm not shooting with expired Polaroid film, which is rare, I'm using Impossible Project film. I use both color and black and white versions of their film. With this type of film I try to work on manipulations like double exposures and other techniques. I sometimes shoot with Fuji FP-100c and Fuji FP-3000b, but at the moment I prefer to wait until they have become expired. Film is like good wine, I don't appreciate it when it is to fresh.
Do you have any instant photographers that inspire you?
My biggest influence in photography it's people who use Polaroid, and people who I follow since many years, like Bastian Kalous for his amazing landscapes, Thomas Zamolo for his perfect Polaroid compositions, Carmen De Vos for her scenes and great compositions, Brandon C Long for his amazing work with Time Zero, Philippe Bourgouin for his nude pictures… Too many people !