Sophort Company: The 2017 Instant Film Safari in Vienna, Austria

On April 29, 2017 the third annual Sophort Instant Film Safari took place in Vienna, Austria! This once-a-year special event is hosted by the instant film-obsessed Sophort Company that combines an unique travel and sightseeing experience with an instant film photography competition. This year 61 attendees, working in 39 teams, competed for unique prizes, including a Citykillah Longboard from the main event sponsor Easygoinc, and an Impossible Project I-1 Instant Camera. The photographic teams were given a "secret photographic mission" that allowed them to get creative with original Polaroid cameras and Impossible Project Film to interpret 8 photographic themes including: Market Day, Reflection, Weekend, Stairs, Air Guitar, Adventure, Double, and Vienna from Above. 

In total, the 39 teams produced 156 Polaroids that were scanned, given back to each team, and sent to be judged by a panel of international jurists including:
-
Michael Behlen, the founder of PRYME Editions. 
-Kathi Kamleitner, a writer for the international women's travel magazine Travelettes.

-David Pichler, is a professional photographer from Styria, Austria
-Kathi Auferbauer, the head of Marketing for the annual Ausrrian film festival, Diagonale.
-Damian Wong & Sandra Ong, a pair of instant film photographers from Singapore.
-
Anne Hollond, an instant film enthusiast from the USA.

Though full results from the competition can be viewed here, we have selected some of our favorite images from the 2017 Instant Film Safari for you to see below. We also had the chance to speak to some of the participates, and of course the winner of the event, Kamolmas Jaiyen, about their experience shooting instant film in the magical city of Vienna!

 
 
 
 
 
 



Kamolmas Jaiyen
Tell us about when instant film came into your life and what inspired you to keep using it. If this is your first time, what inspired you to be a part of this event?
I was given a sage advice to carry a Fuji Instax camera so that I could give a copy of my photos to people I met and photographed during my travels. After watching the documentary about the Impossible Project, I bought a Polaroid SX-70.

Did having a camera in your hands make you look at the city in a different way? How so?
Absolutely!  Photography made me see my hometown, Bangkok, from a completely different perspective. I’ve explored the city in places that I’d not otherwise have gone to and met and connected with people whom I’d not otherwise have come across.

What was your favorite thing that you saw on your photo adventure?
Gotta be the double whiskey we had when we were attempting a shot for the “Double” theme. We didn’t submit that photo!

 

 

 

 


Yan Heger
Tell us about when instant film came into your life and what inspired you to keep using it. If this is your first time, what inspired you to be a part of this event?
Some years ago, Thomas told me about the Impossible Project and showed me his own Polaroids. Since then, I take Polaroids. Not on a regular basis, but in addition to traditional 35mm films and digital photography.

Did having a camera in your hands make you look at the city in a different way? How so?
Yes! I see the world in thirds with a camera in my hand and I keep looking for interesting perspectives not obvious for the "common eye". 

What was your favorite thing that you saw on your photo adventure?
Several things: Other tour participants I met by chance. People asking what we do with Polaroids today. Or a cool subject I tried to take a photo of. But I took the photo by instinct movement just to realize the camera was a Polaroid 600 not a full-frame DSLR with high-speed auto-focus. So the picture was crap, but fun.

 

 

 

 

Bernadette Lauber
Tell us about when instant film came into your life and what inspired you to keep using it. If this is your first time, what inspired you to be a part of this event?
The first time I used a instant camera was 5 years ago. I bought an old Polaroid on Ebay because I wanted to have one. A few weeks later, I bought a second one because I do like to change my cameras to have different styles. It was my first time at the Sophort Event.  The main thing to be a part of was this way to see the city trough a Polaroid, and with a pressure of only 8 shoots with your camera film, it was quite a bit stressful.

Did having a camera in your hands make you look at the city in a different way? How so?
Oh yes, I saw things I wouldn't see without the camera. I love that way to experience the city, and I would do it in every city in the World. It was soo much fun

What was your favorite thing that you saw on your photo adventure?
I saw a wedding, a film set in the middle of the city and secret spots in Vienna. My favorite thing was to be active the whole day and the moment I saw my Polaroids the first time.

 

 

 

 

 

Christine Stundner
Tell us about when instant film came into your life and what inspired you to keep using it. If this is your first time, what inspired you to be apart of this event?

I got into instant photography through my boyfriend. I love that the result of instant photography is an actual picture and not one of thousand digital pics on your phone. It's a tangible memory.

Did having a camera in your hands make you look at the city in a different way? How so?
Yes it did. Knowing, that you only have one film with 8 pictures makes you think a lot about what you want to capture and thus experience the city more intensely.

What was your favorite thing that you saw on your photo adventure?
I like taking pictures of graffiti - the colors are really nice and there are a lot of great artists out there.

 

 

 

Below you will find a selection of the 156 Polaroids shot at the 2017 Annual Instant Film Safari. See all of the images here!

About Sophort:

Founder Thomas Preyer began his instant film journey in 2010 when Polaroid discontinued the production of their instant film and “The Impossible Project” started with the production of new film to keep the millions of still existing instant cameras working. Soon he discovered that starting out with instant photography was not as easy as one might think. It was a cumbersome process: Where do I buy a camera, what film do I need and how does it work? A lot of first time users lost their interest after being frustrated with the results they were getting. These observations lead Preyer to the idea that if he could provide quality instruction and hands-on tips, he could resolve most of the problems new users faced in the overwhelming world of instant photography.  

So in 2013, Preyer and his co-founder Gilbert Lechner, created Sophort Company. Their mission was to resolve these issues and give workshops for people who were interested in getting to know more about instant film photography. They did this by creating "Instant Tours" in Vienna with the mission to empower people with vintage tools to capture unforgettable moments in a unique way. Preyer and his team created a venue for individuals to explore the city with a local photo guide and an original Polaroid camera to create unique souvenirs that they could take home with them. These instant images were a lot more satisfying than the gifts from souvenir shops. 

Over the last four years Sophort has grown considerably. Where it was once was a two-man-one-city operation, they now have a team for 13 tour guides and operate instant tours in Vienna, Austria, Warsaw, Poland, Graz, Austria, and Rome, Italy. In early 2017, the company launched a successful Kickstarter campaign for "Phrame It" after seeing a need for a dedicated Polaroid image format photo frame. Keep your eyes on Sophort, they are doing great things!

Visit Sophort Company today and book your Instant Tour!


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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!