Q&A: EXPIRED EIGHT /W GUILLAUME NALIN

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 !


CONNECT

Michael Behlen is a photography enthusiast from Fresno, CA. He works in finance and spends his free time shooting instant film and seeing live music, usually a combination of the two. He is the founder of PRYME Editions. Connect with Michael Behlen on his Website and on Instagram!


Q&A: Paul Hoi's Psychedelia: Polaroids from Iceland

Paul Hoi is a photographer that moved to the United States at the age of nine. The "absence of a grounded sense of a home" has in turn given Paul an intense desire to explore and interpret the world around him. He is interested in transience and its complicated effects on one's relationship to their revolving surroundings - a relationship simultaneously colored by grief, mystery and wonder.  Experimenting with various digital and analogue processes, he strives to create images stylistically inspired by a cross of psychedelic sci-fi pulp covers and the angst of neon-soaked noir. He currently is residing in Oakland, CA, where he works part-time shifts and side hustles to fund his photo trips.

Over the course of two weeks in 2014, Paul explored Iceland through the legendary Ring Road, which connects, from one quiet settlement to the next, the entirety of the Nordic country.  Traveling alone through the immensely diverse micro-climates and driving late into the night, he woke up each morning in places that looked and felt wholly unrecognizable from the day before. His series is titled, "Psychedelia: Polaroids from Iceland". Connect with Paul on his website!

Paul, give us a brief description of your photography background and career.
 I’m a photographer and illustrator based out of Oakland.  I’m interested in nature and desolate landscapes in my photographs, but less from a documentary angle than the effects the landscapes have on the viewer and photographer. I learned to shoot on a DSLR and picked up my first instant camera last year.

What sparked your interest in traveling to the Ring Road? What made you decide to travel there?
Taking pictures in Iceland is almost cheating - it’s just gut-wrenchingly beautiful everywhere.  There’s a waterfall every ten minutes on the side of the road, and you’ll find life in the most remote parts of the highlands.  And if your budget and time-frame allows, the Ring Road is a great way to get around - it virtually connects every settlement and city throughout the country.  From a personal perspective, I work at a job that requires me to speak and smile to hundreds of people a day.  I knew I wanted to go somewhere remote that’d also allow me to pour my heart into creating something, preferably while frowning.  Scandinavian demeanors in mind, Iceland is a great place to frown as I wished.

You series was shot with all instant film. What made you come to that decision?
The look of Polaroids also work well for a style I’m aspiring toward - a cross between neo-noir and old sci-fi covers.  In a practical sense, instant film can be pricey mistakes, so it's forced me to slow me and become more disciplined with my approach.

How did you plan for this trip logistically? What type of cameras and film did you bring abroad?
I planned  - and hustled very hard - for a few months.  I researched and jotted down places and sights I’d really like to go before marking the locations on a map.  I then thought about the time-frame and budget I had before cutting out the less intriguing places that didn’t seem to be compatible with the rest of the locations.  I knew I wanted to do the Ring Road, so I rented a car.  When my flight got in Keflavik, I picked up my rental car and slept in the parking lot in downtown Reykjavik before hitting the road the next morning.  I slept in it for a week and a half while chasing after the markings on the map, occasionally setting up a tent nearby.  It was a roomy 4x4, so it was pretty comfortable.

Were the weather conditions/climates varied? How did the varying temperatures of the places you visited effect your work?
It was really wet, especially the Western part of the country.  If it’s not raining, it looked like it’d just rained.  If it’s sunny, it could start raining half an hour later.  With the rain and wind, the messiness of condensation, adjustment to development times, changing lenses, stacking filters, loading film, tabs breaking were all little challenges that you just learn to deal with as you go.  And you learn quick if you’re traveling on your own. The changing climates had a pretty big impact on my photographs  I was waking up to a different place every morning, which on its own already blur the days together.  On top of extremely fickle microclimates that seem to change every hour, a day can sometimes feel like many, and I’d get confused about how many days have passed.  I’d sometimes wake up in the morning and look through my Polaroids to confirm that I’d really seen the things that I did the day before, or if I’d just dreamt it.  And of course the Polaroids have their strange, dream-like looks, and so using them to confirm what’d happened the days before became a funny echo-chamber, of sorts.  It wasn’t unpleasant or anything, but not having an immediate sense of reference was really weird.  I wanted to convey that feeling of transience and suspension in my work, which I think the expired Polaroids ended up being perfect for.

Did you always plan for the trip to be a solitary escape? Did you have any close calls with nature or other people over the course of your trip?
Going solo has worked out so far, but it’s not a set thing.  It’s just that going on a shoot and going on a vacation are often two very different things, two distinct choices that you make, and most people want a vacation in the traditional sense.  But I am open to going with some people on future trips, especially folks in the middle of making something. I felt safe in the country.  Being on the road on my own took a few days to get used to, but it was fine.  I did get lost for about half an hour in the lava formations around Krafla during a hike because I fell behind on my schedule and got there a bit late.  I ran out of water and it got dark, but the moonrise got bright enough for me to find my path again.  The moon looked incredible that night with the steaming fissures all around me.  It was so rad.  I won't ever forget that.

Your images leave the viewer with a sense of mystery and surrealism. These places could be anywhere in the world. What did you want the viewer to take away from these images?
Hey, thanks.  I’m less interested in ‘documenting’ Iceland than creating images that could work on their own, so that makes me happy.  That said, I hope some the tensions and dream-like suspension that I felt throughout the trip come through in my pictures.

Tell us about how you capture your images. Did you walk or drive to any specific subjects planned in advance for shooting? Or were the locations presented all spontaneously captured?
Yeah.  I had a map with markings of places and sights that I wanted to shoot.  If I don’t have some fixation on specific places, it’s really easy for me to get off-track, linger around and become exhausted.  I went to a lot of off-roads that interested me along the way, but as far as knowing when and where I needed to be in order to finish my series, preparation was really important.

Anything else you would like to share or elaborate on?
Be respectful to service workers in the tourist industry when you’re traveling.  They put up with abusive idiots on a daily basis, and are still there doing the same thing and answering the same questions long after you leave. A hundred thanks to my friends and family who have been supportive, for having my back.  You all rule.  And thanks to Pryme Mag for having me.