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Reviving Polaroid: 6 photographers take on the new I-1 instant camera

Modernizing nostalgia

During NYCxDesign this past spring, the Impossible Project and MoMA Design Store partnered to launch I-1, the highly anticipated camera system that wants to reinvent instant photography for a new generation. I-1 is the first new camera to use the original Polaroid format in two decades—Impossible snatched up the last Polaroid factory after the company gave up on instant photography in 2008—but it also introduces an incredible level of digital control.

There’s an accompanying I-1 App that lets you control the aperture, shutter speed, and incorporate techniques like light painting and double exposure. The app can also scan and upload the captured image directly onto different social platforms. And the design itself, with sleek lines and an eight-LED ring flash that also indicates film count, has plenty of modern flair as well.

But how do the actual photos look? To find out, we invited six of our favorite photographers to take the I-1 out for a spin and capture their worlds. Here’s what they saw.

Andre Wagner

"I was shooting right in my neighborhood, right outside my door. I don't believe in searching for photographs. Henri Cartier-Bresson said it best, 'Things that are close we think we know, but actually know little at all.'"

Vicente Muñoz

"Having had experience of shooting with SX-70 cameras before, I was curious to try the I-1 digital controls to produce a completely analogue and unique process. I chose the Louis Kahn’s Four Freedoms Park because I felt that it would be great to test the camera by composing strong lines and geometries in a high-key (all white) environment."

Pernille Loof

"I shot these in Upstate New York testing out traditional daylight landscapes to see how the camera worked."

Chris Mottalini

"I always seem to gravitate towards Modernism and Brutalism. I feel like I.M. Pei's Silver Towers (on Bleecker) are an important NYC landmark for me and, in addition to being a big fan of the buildings themselves (and especially the giant Picasso sculpture), for whatever reason I have a bunch of personal memories associated with that project. Anyway, I've always wanted to photograph them for a story so I seized the opportunity to shoot some Polaroids."

Mark Wickens

"I decided to shoot this project in my home neighborhood of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, because I love the vibrant textures of the old industrial buildings in the area."

Nathan Kensinger

"Moments collected while scouting out a recent event for the Queens Museum, investigating the liminal spaces along the Newtown Creek, where industry and wildlife co-exist in a Superfund Site."



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