How long have you been shooting Polaroid/Impossible film?
My parents always had an instant camera laying around, but I didn’t really get my hands on my own till the winter of 2011. I was gifted my first SX70 pop-up and I’ve been shooting Impossible film ever since.
‘Paris’ – ©Chelsie Olivieri
What cameras do you use? What do you like about them?
I shoot with a Polaroid SX70, Sun600 and Spectra. My SX70 is my go to camera, I bring it with me pretty much anywhere and everywhere. Unlike the Sun600 and Spectra, the SX70 gives you a lot of control. So with the manual focus and light meter, the photos come out more the way that you want or expect them to. I’ll usually bring my Sun600 to gatherings and parties, because it’s a little less “self destructive”, so I’m more willing to let people mess around with it. The only downfall of those two cameras is that you can’t capture double exposures (unless you know how to manipulate the actual machine) but that’s where my Spectra camera comes in.
Where do you shoot most often? And on what film(s)?
It’s kinda funny to realize that there was a period of time where I mainly just shot in my room, but it’s the truth. My room is my office/studio/bedroom (in that order), so when I would have a burst of creativity, I would set up my tripod and try to master the art of instant self portraits. Recently, I’ve been trying to bring my camera out with me more to shoot everyday life, but when I’m stuck inside I’ll usually fall back into the mode of taking self portraits. I usually use SX70 color film, but will sometimes use PX680 with a in-lay filter so I can use it with my SX70 camera. I’ve come to realize that each pack of TIP film has its own “personality”. The chemicals change and adapt to its location. So even if I use the same film over and over, I always get different results, which I love.
How would you describe your work? And who/what/where inspires you?
My work could be described as a glimpse into my life, my emotions and the people who surround me. I love capturing real life, raw emotion, but also love creating short stories through my photographs. I feel like anything can inspire, just depends on how your mind interprets it.
‘Sippel’ –©Chelsie Olivieri
Tell us a little about the four works you have chosen as your favorites?
This was probably the hardest part, figuring out which four images represented “me” or my style best. So many of my images are very simple, but have stories. That’s the hard part, to look past the memory and focus on the actual image. Whether it’s a memory of almost getting arrested, reconnecting with old friends or messing around with my first SX70 self timer (oh nostalgia) I chose photos that span from early 2012 to just a few months ago.. I feel that my style hasn’t changed much, but keeps growing with me as the years pass.
Do you have any helpful creative techniques or advice you would like to share?
I don’t really have techniques to give, since everyone shoots to their liking. But as far as advice I would say, that if you’re picking up a Polaroid camera for the first time.. DON’T GIVE UP. I’m not scared to admit that it took me about two years to finally “semi-perfect” shooting with Polaroids and I still have much to learn and figure out. It’s a frustrating, but very wonderful process. You’ll learn to have a lot of patience if you don’t already.
‘Amy Boudoir’ – ©Chelsie Olivieri
Do you have any upcoming exhibitions/publications?
A photo book as been in the works for the past year or so. We’ll see though, I’m waiting for the right sequence of photos or maybe an upcoming trip to spark some inspiration and motivation to create a final product.
Who are you favorite photographers, living or dead?
I admire many photographers young and old, but to name a few..Ansel Adams, Vivian Maier, Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith. All have given me a lot of inspiration throughout the years.
A few modern polaroid masters that I admire.. I will always have to start off this list with, Brandon Long (he gifted me my first polaroid). Along with Leanne Surfleet, George A. Barnett, Shelbie Dimond and The Gentleman Amateur.
‘Picturehands’ – ©Chelsie Olivieri
What are you hoping for from Impossible during the next year?
I’ve been pretty pleased with what TIP has been doing so far. I have the luxury of being only a few hours away from NYC. So nothing to really complain about or ask for. I do need to go visit the new location though! So I would to say to have more in store gallery events and classes! There isn’t much that I would even change about the film.. I mean the development time gets to everyone, but it builds up the anticipation (gotta make the 30 minute wait somewhat enjoyable!).