Dan Hureira is a long time customer and Film Club Member! We always recognize his images because they are usually Polaroids and maybe you have even seen him in our store with his pretty cool Polaroid camera taking pictures in our photo booth. To get to know more about him and his passion for Polaroids we decided to interview him for this week’s Member Moment. Scroll down to read the interview and to see his photos.
Q: What got you interested in photography?
A: When I first started, I was really interested in capturing moments in time. Preserving moments whether at parties or with friends or with new and interesting sights that might seem inconsequential now, but later down the line you could look back and realize how those small moments can lead to huge things. Nowadays, I’m more focused on being able to tell stories through photography whether they be my own or others. Photography has a really interesting place in being one of the few visual storytelling mediums so utilizing that is what my next projects will focus on.
Q: What qualities do you like about Polaroids specifically? And what kind of Polaroid camera do you use?
A: Polaroids sit at this middle-ground of having traits of both digital and film photography — the instant gratification of digital photography with the characteristics of film photography such as limited photos, chemical process in developing film, and the limitations that come with film photography. It also has this unique characteristic not really found in other forms of photography of having an actual physical 1/1 print. To me, I think Polaroids fit the best-of-both worlds while also presenting this entire unique look and feel, and being able to give someone a physical print of a photo immediately makes for some of the best interactions I’ve ever had. The limitations that Polaroids have, actually give you more creative freedom to experiment, try different techniques, and different processes to change the developmental process of the film far as cameras go, I use the SLR680 modded by Zane Pollard (@zanepollard on IG), SX-70, and newer OneStep+/Now+
Q: There are several photos in this series that are pasted into a book. What is this project? What is the intention behind it?
A: This is an ongoing project called Through The Lens & Lead (@lens_and_lead on IG) Founded by Tom Robb over in the UK (@tommmrob). The basic premise is to take a Polaroid Portrait of someone and then have them do either a self-portrait in pencil, or some other kind of drawing. Tom ended up expanding this project and including people from NYC and now Philadelphia. For me, my intention with this project is to showcase the amazing people of Philadelphia. I feel as if this project showcases that anybody can be an artist and everyone has so much creativity to showcase to the world and being able to see everyone’s story through their portraits and through their drawings has been a real joy.
Q: The photos that almost look like fabric where the image has been removed from the frame of the polaroid are really interesting. What do you like about this alternative process? What drew you to try this?
A: These photos are from a book that I will be releasing soon titled Under The Sky So Blue. This book is composed of a specific Polaroid technique called an Emulsion Lift/Transfer which is basically the process of removing the photographic emulsion from a Polaroid by submerging it in warm water, then transferring that emulsion onto a different material whether it’s glass or watercolor paper, or ceramic. The intention behind the book was a way to chronicle my journey using this medium and using this specific technique. But even more than that, I think philosophically it was a way for me to try and showcase my growth as a person and find some escape in this ever-growing digital world and connect with things that are physical and analog. I think one of the enjoyable aspects of this process is that it's very physical. You have to get your hands dirty to do it. I think some of the fun of photography in general is how hands-on it is and being able to continue that process after taking the photo brings me a lot of joy. At first, I mainly did this process to understand more about what goes on behind the scenes when a Polaroid is developing. As time went on and I got better at doing it I enjoyed how I could manipulate these Polaroids to create new images that could even tell a story that the original photo was never able to. One of the interesting things I find about this is that in the process of creating these emulsion lifts, you actually end up destroying the original Polaroid. And that to me, gives this process a new dimension of meaning.
Q: Your photos capture a variety of things from people to landscapes at different angles as well. How would you describe your style of photography? What do you like to take pictures of most?
A: I think I’m still in the process of developing and fine-tuning my style, but I think for the most part, I would classify my type of photography as capturing emotions rather than subjects, I take photos of things or people that make me feel a certain way vs only focusing on one subject. “How does the way these colors come together make me feel?” “How do these lines and edges come together, and what emotion does that bring with it?” Are some examples of things I think about while I take photos. As far as what I like to take photos of the most, I enjoy taking photos of my friends, landscapes, or anything else that’s visually appealing.
Q: The photos within this collection are mainly color photos. What are some qualities that you like about color film vs black and white film?
A: Recently I’ve been delving more into black and white film photography, I think both have their pros and cons, but personally I enjoy color photography because I think utilizing the colors in a particular photo is an interesting way to express an emotion or tell a story. In some ways, that can be distracting, but in most, color can be utilized to be more important than the subject itself.
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