I have been, for most of my career, a photojournalist. In this context, I have been interested in interpreting through photography, stories and narratives that I encounter in the world. Here the camera is the tool with which I focus outwards. That said, I find myself in the unusual position of perusing a photographic endeavor whose only narrative is the internal processes of photography itself.
These pictures are taken with a camera that is, by most definitions, broken: an old Polaroid SX-70 camera rescued from a yard sale. I've always loved this camera. It is an ingeniously conceived, complicated bundle of gears and switches with hundreds of moving parts packed in tight like a chrome and leather pistol.
With its first use I realized the camera wasn't functioning properly. It sometimes spills out two pictures at a time and the film often gets stuck in the gears, exposing and mangling the images in unpredictable ways. Over time I've figured out how to control and accentuate aspects of the camera's flaws but the images themselves are always a surprise. Each one is determined by the idiosyncrasies of the film and the camera.
This project, Ruined Polaroids, is an unintended exploration into the three-dimensional physical character of an antiquated photographic medium that touches on subjects from the artistic value of chance, to questions of what constitutes a photograph. I say unintended because what I'm focusing on here is a technological anomaly. The failure of a process.
— William Miller
FeatureRuined PolaroidsYears ago, William Miller rescued a damaged Polaroid SX-70 camera from a yard sale, and learned how to control and accentuate aspects of the camera’s flaws. Yet the images themselves are always a surprise.View Images
Years ago, William Miller rescued a damaged Polaroid SX-70 camera from a yard sale, and learned how to control and accentuate aspects of the camera’s flaws. Yet the images themselves are always a surprise.View Images
Years ago, William Miller rescued a damaged Polaroid SX-70 camera from a yard sale, and learned how to control and accentuate aspects of the camera’s flaws. Yet the images themselves are always a surprise.
Ruined Polaroid #45
Ruined Polaroid #40
Ruined Polaroid #47
Ruined Polaroid #51
Ruined Polaroid #35
Ruined Polaroid #14
Ruined Polaroid #50
Ruined Polaroid #38
Ruined Polaroid #27
Ruined Polaroid #55
Ruined Polaroid #33
Ruined Polaroid #20
Ruined Polaroid #21
Ruined Polaroid #19
Ruined Polaroid #52
Trending this Week
The North Fork
This intimate series is the result of the photographer’s decades-long fascination with a remote valley, its idiosyncratic inhabitants and a long, personal history of family strife.
Announcing the Winners & Finalists—LensCulture Portrait Awards 2017!
Portraits are unique in their power to captivate our gaze and show us something new and unexpected about each other and the world we live in—discover the 44 international photographers who were selected for this year’s award, an inspiring showcase...
Life in the City: Michael Wolf’s Major Retrospective at Les Rencontres d’Arles 2017
The phrase “street photography” comes loaded with expectations—which is what makes Michael Wolf’s always-original bodies of work an important reminder of why the world’s streets continue to captivate our attention.
A newly published interview with the young, talented photographer behind this award-winning work about the Soviet (or human) impulse towards utopia and technologically achieved perfection—dreams of progress that came to a crashing, frozen halt.
Nobody Important, No One Else
Growing up, moving on, and grappling with change—“When I meet my old friends, I suddenly see very clearly the changes that happened inside of us, the transformations, the quiet and subtle movements of the tectonic plates within ourselves…”
A Shaded Path
How does a fledgling country form a national identity while the pressures of globalization increase everywhere? Kyrgyzstan’s youth chase modernity in a landscape marked by its Soviet past.