Thursday, 24 December 2009

A Funny Old Business

It's a funny old business setting up a business, an endless series of tasks that need to be carried out, many of which cannot be done until some other detail has been completed. Company incorporation, banking, VAT. Website, Facebook, blog. All I really want to do is to sell film to people but it isn't possible to get around the rules...

Ironic isn't it that the process of selling Instant films should be so long winded when the product is so immediate?

When I started setting up the business I decided that I would send out a Christmas card to business friends and acquaintances to let them know what I was planning to do. My wife, Laura and I trawled through recent pictures and after narrowing it down to about half a dozen we chose this picture - mainly because it was bright and very red. Checking the spelling of the shrine in Kyoto where the picture was taken: Fushimi Inari Taisha - I discovered that it is a shrine to business! Businesses in Japan sponsor a Torii, the red gates, in the hopes that it will bring their business good fortune... I didn't do any sponsoring but I feel that Inari (the fox) may be looking out for me.

Ben Boswell

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

What's it all about?

There is something rather special about photography, something magical. Nothing demonstrates this better than Polaroid. You point a camera at a subject and chemicals capture the light and turn it into a representation of what you saw. That really is fantastic and it excites me in a way that digital photography does not. Digital photography is about ones and zeros, rather a lot of them and often more about what you do after you have taken the picture than what the picture represents. Don't get me wrong, I take digital photographs constantly, with a camera and with my phone but the connection between the picture and the subject is so much stronger for me when the process is chemical, it's like alchemy.

Well the opportunity to do something about this has arisen for me. My name is Ben Boswell, I have worked for over 20 years for Hasselblad, a company with an enviable heritage and a fine product range but I was not really enjoying myself any more and I decided to leave. This new business that I am building will start with this finest example of 'chemical' photography: Polaroid Film. Polaroid stopped making their films a couple of years ago and it was expected that there would be no replacement, however a group of fanatics have taken over the equipment and the factory and will soon be in production again. The first films will be for the Classic Polaroid SX70 camera, the 600 series cameras and the Image cameras but it is planned that other films will follow. They are not the old films but are entirely new films designed to fit the old cameras which should open up whole new creative avenues for photographers and artists.

While we wait for the new films to arrive there are still supplies of the old ones available, they are technically out of date but they have been tested and are still working very well. In this digital world we all live in it is great that there are things like this still happening, an amazing product like Polaroid rising from near extinction in spite of the odds...

Take a polaroid picture and whenever you look at it you can think to yourself "This picture was there, at that moment, a unique record of that instant" I like that idea.