The word for the day is simplicity. And Junkstock captures the idea behind that word extremely well with this photo. This image, while containing almost nothing – a few flakes of paint peeling from a worn wall – manages to still present us with age, time, history, a feeling of ancientness. The simple and sparse colors and tones, as well as the gloomy, almost despondent, lighting help to back up the effect.
But there is detail here as well. Each crack represents a ray of fading sunlight, a gust of wind, an element of decay. And it is the process of decay that tells the story. It is the crumbling disrepair that is the story itself. What we see here is a life that was once happy and vibrant, now withered and disappeared. What we see here is a person, maybe a family, someone who cared about this structure enough to cover it with a color that suited their mood. And we see how time marched on and caused the decline of whatever situation caused that person or family to care about this place. And it brings the realization that we all will have to abandon our current little corner of the universe one day, and that perhaps in the future someone will come along with a camera to snap a picture of what we’ve left behind, and share our story with the world.
The SX-70 is a fascinating little camera made by Polaroid back in the early 70’s. One of the things that makes this camera interesting is that the film it uses, Time-Zero, can be manipulated after the picture is taken using your fingers or other things like pencils or toothbrushes. Even without the manipulation, the film has a unique look to it – strangely tinted skies and color-cast subjects, with a hazy, unfocused look combine for an overall effect – dark, ethereal and morose, almost archaic. Today, there are still people using the SX-70 to create these heavily artistic images that take you back to a time when the world was a little more innocent, yet much much stranger and exotic, with shadowed mysteries around every corner and things you wonder about all around.
Here is a shot by tobysx70 on flickr that demonstrates the photo manipulation technique.
Here’s a nice shot of London done with Time Zero film.
It really is amazing to me how creative you can get when the technology in your hands is limited; would I get a shot that conveys as much emotion and feeling as the above if I was using my crystal clear Canon EOS? I wonder what would happen if I took the shot with an SX-70, with its dirty rollers and its inclination to distort and discolor the image as it develops. I have an SX-70 with one pack of Time-Zero film. That’s ten exposures. I wonder what I should shoot with them.
See the Time Zero Collective group on flickr.com for more.
Flickr of the day: Doilum shares this photo of a strange structure in an abandoned factory in South London. It’s nice and dark. Check out the rest of Doilums photos of abandoned structures at this link.