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Using a Polaroid Camera to Photograph a Music Festival


So this year, I wanted to do something a bit out of the norm, especially for something like a music festival. I wanted to photograph various bands not only with my digital cameras, but I wanted to step back and shoot Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion (BRRR) with my Polaroid camera. BRRR is a particularly large three-day music festival held along the state lines of Tennessee and Virginia in the city of Bristol and features 17 stages with more than 100 different artists.


I have been shooting concerts, and music festivals for a little over five years now, and one of the biggest things I have run into, is other photographers becoming gear snobs. Even at this year's BRRR, I heard some of them arguing about how you can only get "the shot" with this type of camera or lens. One individual was ranting about how only a Leica was the way to go. So this made me want to do this project even more, as I can not stand to hear arguments over gear.


Let me be the first to tell you that it does not matter what camera or lens you are using, all that matters is you know how to use your settings. The photographers who got the best shots, in my opinion, were the ones out there taking in the moment, observing their subject, and looking for the right opportunity. Half of us were shooting with older DSLRs, using what I call workhorse cameras like my Nikon D7200. Great quality, is built to last, and is perfect for situations like this.


Don't get me wrong, it was just a few people doing this, and this happens EVERYWHERE; and they're are a ton of other great photographers there I love hanging out with, but it made me think how many people actually think its all about the latest and greatest camera gear?


There's nothing more simple than a Polaroid camera; I love them and use them often. The particular model I used for this project was the Polaroid Now. A simple point-and-shoot. All you have to do is focus on what the subject is doing and make sure you cover the exposure so that it doesn't overexpose.


One thing I noticed from the band and performers was they would stop and do more of a pose for me when I switched to the Polaroid camera. They would slow their pace down and intentionally look down into the camera. The majority loved and knew what I was doing and tried to improve the shots (I appreciated that as well), which surprised me.


I had a ton of fun making these images; it made the whole experience that much better, and it is now something I will continue to do going forward with all of the concerts I cover. Hopefully, after you see the images below, you be inspired to create something in a familiar fashion or take the idea and build upon it and not worry so much about having the latest and greatest gear.


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