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Weird Ideas Give Crazy Results: My Paperoid Technique

Here is a preposterous way to frame your friends with a bit of originality and absolutely no money. Here's me and my friends having real fun with the Paperoids!!

Alright I’m a musician, and most of the times I design myself the posters to the gigs we do with my band. Then I print some flyers on A4 sheets, cut them, distribute among potential listeners. Total ‘do it yourself’, because as you all know, homecooking is the best!

This summer when I was in Hamburg (Germany) for a small European tour, I had some time to lose, and spent like 2 hours cutting 50 flyers one by one. Still, I got time left waiting for other musicians (you know, musicians are always late!!), 50 remaining A4 blank frames, and a germinating idea: the Paperoid was born!!! :) So I began, asking the friends already there to hold the frames in front of them, so that I could shoot kind of a Polaroid imitation with my paper frames. The guys looked at me like I was the last weirdo on earth, but played the game.

Surprisingly after a few shots, all of them began to have new ideas to explore the concept in other ways! One here is folding the frame on his face, making it more a mask. Another holds it while other guys go farther to get fully framed, from head to toe. Also see my friend Fab using his dreadlocks to hold the frame and show off with his hand-free Paperoid, haha!! Or the one who told me he was ok to do it but only if he could bring his idea: being behind the frame but eating a sandwich that came from the front; see what I mean? Well, have a look at the pics, lots of ideas to exploit there…

Then came the night, and I thought maybe the Paperoid effect would be even stronger with the flash on these white clean frames. And it definitely was! I generally never use flashes, I kinda hate it. But shooting with my fellow Olympus XA-4 and its very good little flash is (almost) always a pleasure. With strong slide films such as Kodak Elitechrome EBX or Fuji Velvia 100F, I do manage to get a good white balance AND vivid colors.

So here’s what happened with a Velvia 100F roll. The frames are extremely white, even burned with the flash, but colours backward remain respectful to the reality and the film render. It’s even almost better with than without flash. Look at Folly and his red Adidas sweater!! The frame is perfect white, colours behind are however vivid, and I love the shadow created by the flash, makes the portrait stronger!

Still on the same picture, I also really like the proportion effect it creates between hands holding the frame, and the face behind. His face looks damn smaller than the rest of the body, really fun!

I’m pretty sure there can be many new ideas with the Paperoid technique. Fun to do, can’t find any cheaper idea, and it gave my friends a good occasion to participate in the shooting, for once! All of them thought I was crazy as hell, but all jumped onto the idea and like the results! I thought it was worth sharing it :)

I will definitely do some more Paperoids for the next gig…

written by elvismartinezsmith


  1. mochilis


    Loved the album when I saw it... Great and funny article!

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  2. metzgor


    looks like a lot of fun!

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  3. awesomesther


    Loving it! :D

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  4. nural



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  5. natalieerachel


    I wish my friends were THAT cool, hahaha

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  6. jeabzz


    ahah, bien cool :D

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  7. paperplanepilot


    love it! will definitely do in one of my parties! haha

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  8. nose


    haha~ love it!
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