The '8 Exposures' feature on The Impossible Project's blog came out last week, and I had a lot of fun selecting my eight instant images and answering their nerdy questions. Photography is very personal for me, so sometimes I get a litle carried away when talking about my process. Never mind that. Being one of a very very small handful of international photographers featured by The Impossible Project is something I'm really proud of, and it's great to see this relationship grow. I've been a supporter of their mission from the very start, before they even had film. Now I get to pop into their headquarters and get hugs from their VPs, first dibs on prime film, and an all-around amazing community of photographers and friends. I great media feature to end a busy year. You can see it here: 8 Exposures.... with Jesse Freidin
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I truly believe that Thanksgiving is a time to pick your head up and be grateful. Maybe it has less to do with the historical event than simply a personal check-in, but either way I have a lot to feel grateful for this year. I have a great community of friends, photog associates, fellow artists, responsible dog owners and advocates, clients and supporters, and an amazing family. Oh, and the best tiny dog. I wake up everyday and do what I love most in a professional setting, watch my clients feel joy and appreciation when they unwrap their final prints, and take a professional step forward every single day. I have people I care about, and projects that inspire me. For all of this, I am grateful. In preparation for a fun project I am excited about (and so grateful for), I spent some time going through my catalogue of instant dog portraits taken on Impossible Project film. The Impossible Project recently began feauring some of their favorite instant photographers around the world on their website, along with a photo feature and interview (called the '8 Exposures' series). After following this great new series on their blog I was so surprised to get an email from their New York marketing director inviting me to participate. Emails like that really brighten up your day.
So, here are a few favorite Impossible Dog Portraits that won't be featured on the Impossible Project '8 Exposures' feature, but that I truly love.
So, I got stuck in Irene. The devastation and long-term effects of Hurricane Irene on various parts of New England are truly heartbreaking. People lost their homes, roads are completely out, historical buildings have been washed away, and entire farms are under water. It's terrible, and I hope the recovery initiative moves quickly and gets my fellow hearty New Englanders back on their feet soon.
I was lucky. The hurricane totally messed up all my New York plans, but we didn't see any damage thankfully. So instead of teaching my "Instant Dog Portrait Class" with The Impossible Project over the weekend (the entire city shut down for two whole days), I made a rain-date for free Polaroid dog portraits at a fun NY park after the storm. It was an incredibly perfect day, and we were swamped with people for about 6hrs straight. I was juggling 2 cameras, running with the good spots of gorgeous open shade, making use of a quick 30 second window to bond with each dog and dog owner, and blowing through film (both medium format b/w and some incredibly rare Polaroid instant film). Every single person that stopped by walked away with a signed original Polaroid portrait of their dog. It's hard to impress a New Yorker, but we had no problem making people smile and feel special when we handed over a warm-toned Polaroid of their beloved beasts. It was such a fun, long shoot.
My good friends Anne and Dave (the head honchos of The Impossible Project in New York) travelled all the way down from SOHO, showed up like little photo genies, and handed me 3 packs of my favorite Polaroid film. Then they both stuck around, helped load film, peel polaroids, talk to dog owners, make sure I was developing correctly, and nerd out with me about my process. Oh, and take some awesome photos of the original Polaroids I was pulling, as well as some behind-the-scenes stuff.
What an incredible day! My week in New York was a pleasant reminder that I can work hard, push through any challenge, and still remain inspired and excited to do my photographic work. Getting to work side-by-side with my favorite studio partner (The Impossible Project), while doing what I do best (feeling cretively inspired by animal companions) was the perfect way to end a productive and fun month on the East Coast. I'll be back again in the Fall for more clients, events, and Polaroid shoots.
All photos by: Anne Bowerman/Dave Bias
Polaroid film provided by: The Impossible Project
A new favorite image from my ongoing Instant Dog Portrait series with The Impossible Project's PZ600 instant film. I'll be teaching a CLASS with The Impossible Project on Aug 28, 2011 at their famed New York gallery space. If you've got a soul at all- you'll be moved by The Impossible Project's creative drive, fearless exploration of instant photographic processes, and gorgeous new generation instant films (that all work with your old Polaroid cameras). It's exciting to see instant film come back to life, and I'm excited to talk to my New York students about these new films, how to get perfect exposures, and how to work with a live dog model.
I can't believe a year has already gone by. Can you? Exactly one year ago today I was in the studio with a group of my close friends, sewing and taping and glueing and getting drooled on by some of my favorite dogs in the city. Pulling Polaroids and flashing strobes and laughing and pushing myself to be truly creative. What had begun as sort of a 'creative dare' had become a fully deveopled, living and breathing project. I love a good challenge, and I also love finding excuses to bring together ecclectic sources of inspiration. The Doggie Gaga Project was really just a reason to surround myself with talented, creative, and smart people who inspire me- and create something cooperatively. And that is exactly what we did.
The success of The Doggie Gaga Project can be attributed to many things. People like to talk about the great timing we had, the unique ideas, the artistry, etc. I like to attribute it to these things:
Anne and Dave at The Impossible Project, Craig, Meg, Zona, Summer, Kyl, Tina, Connor, Val, Rebecca + Rebecca, Alex, Nicole, Diana, Carolyn, Ana, Terra, Bert, Kelly, Booker, Gunther, Pancake, X-dog, Kiku, Bob, Jackson, and Jennings.
To celebrate the official One Year Anniversary of The Doggie Gaga Project, I've put together a video of never-before-seen footage of our first shoot, as well as a bunch of my favorite clippings and images. I hope you all enjoy looking at these as much as I do. It's a great marker for my career as a photographer, but more importantly has been an incredible lesson in staying true to your creative vision, pushing the limits, and allowing yourself to be an artist.
For Immediate Release:March 20, 2010 With Supplies of Polaroid Film Dwindling Worldwide, The Impossible Project Graciously Provided Two Packs to Award-Winning Bay Area Dog Photographer Jesse Freidin. Inspired by Lady Gaga Fashion “The Doggie Gaga Project” is a Viral Hit
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Inspired by Polaroid’s newest spokesperson, Lady Gaga, award-winning Bay Area dog photographer Jesse Freidin – with the help of The Impossible Project (TIP) – created The Doggie Gaga Project, which has become an overnight media sensation this week. Freidin dressed his canine models in five of Lady Gaga’s most celebrated outfits, and photographed them using two packs of Polaroid film from the last remaining supply in the world. The resulting photos went online the next morning, and within three days, have been tweeted by Perez Hilton, linked online by Entertainment Weekly, MTV, TMZ, and The Sundance Channel, and featured on ABC’s Live! with Regis & Kelly on 3/18/10. To view all the images please visit www.jessefreidin.com or http://www.facebook.com/pages/San-Francisco-CA/Jesse-Freidin-Photographer/97942918610.
Freidin proposed his idea for The Doggie Gaga Project to Netherland-based Impossible Project who has taken on the impossible: to re-invent and re-start production of analog integral film for vintage Polaroid Cameras. They graciously donated two packs of original Polaroid film (20 prints total). Freidin and his small team went to work creating the custom-made, Gaga-inspired canine fashions for a Boston Terrier, a Mexican hairless, a Shiba Inu, and two Pit Bulls. Shooting in his San Francisco studio, Freidin employed a Horseman field camera with a Polaroid back using the increasingly rare T-669. During the photo shoot, no animals were harmed – or even irritated.
More on Jesse Freidin: Jesse Freidin, a traditional film photographer who characteristically photographs dog portraits with a Hasselblad, recently won Beast of the Bay’s 2010 award for “Best Dog Photographer.” With years of experience as a fine-art photographer and professional dog-handler, Freidin has a unique approach to animal photography that captures the deeply emotional tie that people have with their pets. As one of the last surviving traditional photographers in the Bay Area, he creates museum-quality black-and-white photographs with unbeatable richness and tone, that are produced, from start to finish, entirely by hand. His true passion for animals and loyalty to analog photography made it only natural that he would create “The Doggie Gaga Project.”
More on The Impossible Project: Since October 2008, The Impossible Project has been busy re-inventing a new analog integral film for vintage Polaroid cameras at a former Polaroid factory in Enschede (NL). On Monday, March 22, 2010 Impossible will make a major announcement at a press conference in NYC. Please visit http://www.the-impossible-project.com for more information.
In the words of Edwin Land, the Inventor of Instant Photography, “Don't undertake a project unless it is manifestly important and nearly impossible.”
Lady Gaga was recently named creative director for a specialty line of Polaroid products. Asked if he has met Lady Gaga, Freidin replied, “Not yet, but I’d love to. I hope she enjoys the pictures.”
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For more information, photos, or to set up interviews with Jesse Freidin please contact Green Galactic’s Lynn Hasty at email@example.com or 213-840-1201. To learn more about The Impossible Project please contact Marlene Kelnreiter at 212-219-3254 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Though traditional printing and medium format black and white film compliments my Fine Art dog portraits perfectly, there is another love in my life. It's Polaroid.
And we're serious.
I fell in love with my Hasselblad about 5 years ago- I was immediately taken by it's weight, the crispness of it's images, and it's unique handling. You really need to become one with the Hasselblad in order to make it work for you. That kind of challenge (both mental and physical), is what drew me to it, along with the seductive square format that complimented my way of seeing. We had a slightly rocky start, me and my Hasselblad 500c, but once we grew to understand and respect each other, the camera became like an extension of my eye. It was effortless.
Before falling in love with my Hassy, my heart belonged exclusively to Polaroid. At the point in my life when I finally came across my 1970s Hasselblad, I was deep in a never-ending search for a camera that could replace my very first love: my Polaroid Land Camera (ok, I've got like 15 of them). I'd been collecting Polaroid cameras for almost 10 years, and we just fit. My extensive relationship with Polaroid cameras, film, and gadgets was what truly brought me into the world of photography. I taught myself how to see, how to photograph, and how to interact with the world through the dusty, imperfect view finder of my Land Camera. But, after years of collecting and photographing with Polaroids, I was ready to move on, to take the next step. I wanted to begin having more control over my images, and wanted to be able to reproduce my images as well. My Polaroid work wasn't taken very seriously because it had the stigma of 'instant photography.' Thus began my search for the perfect film camera, which ended me up here.
Are you getting all this?
The point is, my Polaroid dog portraits have finally caught the eye of someone at the Impossible Project (the life-force keeping the Polaroid company alive). They have sent me film, a personalized note, and I'll soon be embarking on a don't-try-it-at-home, one-of-a-kind, completely amazing dog portrait series using some of the highly sought after last run of film the Polaroid company ever made. It's so exciting that it makes writing in a linear fashion really hard. Keep your eyes peeled- details will follow.
In celebration, here is a quick smattering of some of my favorite Polaroid images from the past 10 years. And if you're really interested in my personal Polaroid work, you can see and/or purchase my book 'Life in Boxes: An Instant Collection' on blurb.com by clicking here: www.blurb.com/books/575402.