NSFW Featured Photographer: Anthony Stone's Heartbreak Lovers

Anthony Stone is an Italian freelance writer and photographer based in Pescara, Abruzzo, the east Italian city on the Adriatic Sea. He has a very long history with photography which began in 1994, when his father gave me his first camera, a 35mm Minolta SRT101 at the age of 19. Initially only shooting in black and white, he quickly found what was and still his passionate obsession- the art of photographing the female form. Since this discovery, stone has spend the last 23 years shooting and honing his craft; though his weapon of choice has slowly changed as he has evolved as an artist. In the beginning he taught himself film development in the dark room through the old fashion way - by trail and error. In the "true" analog days of photography, there were no online forums or Facebook groups to guide you. He simply spent days and months experimenting with the machines of the past and he slowly progressed into a competent and experienced analog photographer. 

In the 1980's, Stone discovered the magic of instant film during the "boom" of Polaroid Type 600 film. During this time, almost everyone's home had at least one Polaroid 600 Box Camera, it was a cultural phenomenon. Unfortunately, Polaroid film was just to expensive for a him to pursue. As a photographer, Stone needed to prioritize actually shooting photography, as the cost of Polaroid film was to high for such a small print that did not offer a negative for reproduction. So though he experienced the magic of instant film, he continued to use less costly 35mm film variants for his work. This all changed four years ago in 2014, when he accidentally discovered his old Polaroid 635cl Camera in perfect working condition. He told us, "When I took it and opened it, something happened, a thunderbolt, it was beautiful".

Unlike his old days of working through photographic technology by trail and error, Stone took to the internet at once discovered The Impossible Project. After his first pack of Impossible Project film came to his door, he immediately popped open his film door and inserted the brand new film cartridge. With his heart in his throat, this was the moment he had been waiting for. As soon as he closed his film door, the dark slide ejected and made the triumphant sound of analog victory. Though his first pack of Impossible Project film mainly consisted of failed attempts, over exposures, and bury photos, this was an artist turning point for Stone that has been a pivotal point in his photographic career.  Stone shared that, "I discovered a medium that was capable of capturing unique and unrepeatable photographs in a unique and unpredictable way, it was exactly what I need to evolve my visual poetry".

Since that moment in 2014, Stone has evolved from a portrait photographer who specialized in black and white to one that shoots almost completely in color. This trend reversal from his past photographic history is mainly due to instant film, which has helped him appreciate the unique range of dreamlike colors that only it can produce. He has grown from a man who sees the world in shades of gray, to one that thinks in color tones and reflections of light. This transition has enabled Stone to produce work that transcends your typical portrait photographer. For Stone, his photography is a portal into an alternate reality where he produces aesthetic, emotional, and erotic atmospheres through the female form. To Stone, his portrait photography is a medium that he uses to transcend the world around him and produce his perfect ideal of beauty. In particular, he looks to explore the eyes, mouth, and hands of his subjects, carefully framing these elements into frame to produce sharp attention grabbing images. 

Stone's photographs show us a romantic world that lays beyond the frame, telling stories of broken hearts, broken dreams, and past lovers. His visual poetry is made up of beautiful erotic scenes that appear lovely on the surface yet sing our shattered souls to sleep as we lay awake remembering the passion of the times we thought we had, but may have never even existed. His images offer the viewer a deliberating hope that is just out out of reach, one that you will never grasp. Let Stone take you on a journey into the moments you wish you could both live forever and immediately forget. 

Stone's work has been widely exhibited and featured worldwide online and in print. He is taking part in three upcoming group exhibitions including the Expression International Exhibition and Competition in Longford, Ireland in August 2017, and the Instant 085 Instant Film Exhibition in Pescara, Italy and the Polaroid of The Day Exhibition at Projekteria Art Gallery in Barcelona Spain, both in September 2017. He has  been featured in print in Hylas Magazine Volume 1: Loss and  in Issue 4 of "Monochrome Magazine and has current active online portfolios on Nakid Magazine, Anormal Mag, and Polaroid of the Day. Since Autumn 2016, Stone has been the creator and curator of the Instant 085 Instant Film Festival, held in Autumn in his hometown of Pescara, Italy.

You can connect with Anthony Stone on Instagram and on his website!


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: Expired Eight /w Matteo Varsi

This is the 15th 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 Matteo Varsi! Varsi's photography lies somewhere between photography and literature. He captures surreal scenes of blues and yellows with his expired film and Polaroid camera. Born in the region of Levanto Italy in 1970, he has been practicing photography since childhood. In 2003, Varsi went on to receive a scholarship to the IIF (Italian Institute of Photography) Milan, where he graduated the following year. In the same year, the Museum of Contemporary Photography Modena acquired one of his photographs. His work was recently featured at the Expolaroid collective  event at the Galerie Le Quai in Montèlimar, France. Connect with Matteo Varsi on his website and Facebook!

Tell us about when instant film came into your life and what inspired to you to keep using it:
Instant film is a world a part, it's something like Toyland for me, once known, it's difficult to get out [of your head]. It helps to keep alive the most fanciful and imaginative part of me.

When did you discover the joys of expired film? What keeps you coming back?
I do not think {it was a specific] point in time. The first experiments I did with a kind of a awareness, were in the 2000s. I was studying and working in the field of photography in Milan and I was also deepening my knowledge of the darkroom. At that time I started a large photographic project using expired material and working on printing in black and white from negative 665. Since then, I love the unpredictable [nature of] in my works and I still use expired material.

How would you describe your work?
I think my work speaks for me and that is a fusion of my passions and what influenced me so far; literature, painting, films, and photographers of course. I like thinking that the unexpected material of expired Polaroids as an opportunity to use a wide "palette" of colors and tones that I can control and repeat.

How did you decide what subjects to photograph? What sorts of things capture your attention?
The subjects of my pictures are all that stirs in me: attention and attraction. I like to talk about the lifestyle of the place where I was born, (Levanto in the National Park of Cinque Terre - Italy). There were ancient fishing villages where the concept of time seems to follow different rules often. I live there now and I'm completely into a new vision of life, in contact with nature and its rhythms.

What types of Instant Cameras do you own?  Which one is your favorite and why?
I have some Colorpack models, a pair of sx70 cameras but my favorite one is the pinhole.

What are the main difficulties and hurdles obtaining and using expired film in this format?
The only difficulty is to keep on finding expired material at prices that aren't out of this world.

Any tips for those interested in experimenting?
Express your creativity without limits and constraints. Art needs to breathe freely.

Do you have any instant photographers that inspire you?
Sarah Moon, Luigi Ghirri, Franco Fontana,