There's been a lot of talk lately about instant photography making a comeback, but we would argue that it never really left. Instant photos have a special quality that just can't be replicated with any other photo medium: snapping a Polaroid picture really makes you feel that you're capturing a moment in time.
Japanese photographer Rikka Ameboshi is drawn to instant film for just this reason. There tends to be a lot of imperfection that comes with shooting instant photos, but Rikka finds poetry in the light leaks and blur that sometimes pop up in her photos.
We talked to Rikka about why instant shots are so magical and how she finds inspiration in her own neighborhood.
Rikka: I'm a professional painter and writer. I currently live in Kamakura, Japan. Kamakura City is located by the sea and has a lot of interesting historical architecture, so it is always crowded with tourists. The city is also well known for being home to many famous writers. I lived in Tokyo until last year.
Actually I started taking pictures just a year ago, in October 2020. At that time I was writing poetry and wanted to take photographs that expressed my poetry. Until then, I just took pictures of dogs and flowers to post on Instagram.
I'm currently using a Polaroid OneStep 2. Until recently, I used an Instax Mini 90 and Instax SQ6.
I chose an instant camera to take pictures that express my poetry.
Digital cameras capture a photo exactly as we see it, so I have to edit my digital photos with Photoshop to add a poetic element to them. I tried this several times, but didn't like how the photos ended up after editing in Photoshop.
The reason for this is my limited ability with Photoshop. However, even if I was more skilled in Photoshop, I would have eventually switched to instant film.
When I press the shutter on an instant camera, I don’t know how the photo will appear on film. Also, every time there is a difference between the photo and the actual landscape. The outline, color, and lighting of the object are different. It feels unrealistic and incomplete.
My poetry aims to explore the boundary between reality and unreality, through a mixture of emotions, memories, and landscapes. Often, what I had in mind when I started writing becomes more and more ambiguous, and in the end I end up with a completely different work.
Instant film is similar to that. In other words, I have something in common with instant film—we are both capricious and selfish.
I like to focus on things and take pictures with a simple and blurry atmosphere. Stones, flowers, boomboxes, chairs, books, apples...
I would really like to take pictures of beautiful scenery, nice buildings, desert sunsets, the night sky with a shining aurora, and so on, but I don't like traveling, so I take pictures in my house or in the local neighborhood. As a result, my range of themes is limited.
This is my favorite photo. This photo was developed directly from film and has not been processed in Photoshop.
It has that feeling unique to instant camera photos, where it could even be taken as a failure. These imperfections are very appealing to me.
With respect to photography, two artists who have inspired me are Mrs. Lisa Fotios and Mr. Cy Twombly. Lisa's photos are really amazing, bringing out the beauty of everyday life in a lyrical and cute way. A lot of my photos have been influenced by her work.
My goal is to publish a book of photo and poems through a major publisher. Recently, I self-published a book containing photos of stones and poems. I gave some copies to friends and sent others to some publishers.
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