Toronto-based wedding photographers Julius and James stepped out of the box and brought a whole new dimension to wedding photography – instant film! Check out some stunning shots after the jump along with some commentary from Julius and James themselves.
How did you guys decide to use instant film in your wedding photography?
I gave Julius a Polaroid 250 Land Camera for his birthday. The camera was modified to fire our studio strobe lights, and he loved it straight away. We started thinking about how we could incorporate instant cameras in our wedding photography practice, and why we might want to do so. Film has simply disappeared from professional wedding photography. Digital photography has created an expectation on the part of bridal clients that the photographers take a large number of photos, for a certain price, and that’s just not possible with film. But we figured out a way to bring instant film back into the equation. We decided to provide instant photography as an additional extra, as a retro alternative to the photo booths that everybody seems to have. I’m actually writing this from Ireland, on my way to Barcelona to shoot a couple’s destination 50th wedding anniversary, using my Canon 5DMKII and also a 35 year old Polariod
SX70 land camera. You just can’t replicate the results from the SX70 in any other medium.
So to promote our new idea, we decided to do a vintage styled Mad Men-themed photo shoot in our studio. These shots give you an idea of what’s possible, using different cameras and film stock.
What’s the appeal of instant film for wedding photography?
It’s all about nostalgia. With digital photography, we’ve lost something about the tactile presence of a photograph. The vast majority of wedding photos taken today will never be printed. They have become a virtual commodity people consume on glowing screens. But prior to the digital revolution, every photograph was a solid object. You could touch it. It had weight, even as a negative. And instant photographs “emerged,” came into being before your very eyes! It was a miracle of chemistry, but we’ve forgotten how amazing it is.
Julius and I calculated that instant photos could have a very powerful nostalgic draw for people on their wedding day, a day which is about memories. I think that some people really appreciate the connection that comes from holding a photograph in their hands. They think of old photographs. Our instant photography offering has been wildly popular with forward thinking couples wanting something unique and different.
Do you see an increase in interest for instant wedding photography?
To the best of our knowledge, Julius and James is the only wedding photo studio anywhere that has a consciously conceived instant photography package. It just doesn’t exist anywhere else. So we have not seen couples asking for instant photography. Rather it has been something that we present to potential clients, and it usually surprises them, and they remember us. We think it will always be a niche group that cares about instant wedding photography. But we’re creating the demand. We are the first wedding photographers to offer instant photography seriously.
Are there limitations to instant photography?
Sure. But there are limits to every camera. We now incorporate five different cameras (Land Camera 250, SX-70, Fuji Instax Wide and Instax Mini, and a Crown Graphic 4X5 camera) and each one has its limitations. You just have to know what each camera will do in a given situation, inside and out. So we’ve done a lot of experimentation on our own time, to get to know each camera and what it does. Actually it’s been a lot of fun.
Be sure to check out Julius & James on their website