Having been to Michael Arenella's Jazz Age Lawn Party hosted by his Dreamland orchestra again this year, I figured I'd write a little bit about my time there last year. It truly is a fun day full of fantastic music, great dancing, good food and the best of all, amazing outfits!
Given the time period in which this festival reflects, I figured it would be appropriate to shoot some film while I was there (although the two cameras I used were from the 60s/70s to tell the truth). I shot some black and white Polaroids using my Polaroid Land 250 camera and Fujifilm FP-3000b pack film. The contrast and definition of that film is truly breathtaking, especially given that you can see the developed, instant shot in a mere 15-30 seconds after you yank it out. That's about the fastest developing film ever.
A few funny stories about using that camera, not only did I run into a few other people shooting with the same or similar camera, but there was a man there, whom I now know the name of, Geoffrey Berliner, who works with the Penumbra Foundation in NYC, who was also shooting with the same peel-apart type film but the color type (FP-100C). The fascinating part was he was using a camera truly out of that era, a very old Graflex camera that he adapted to use pack film. Those results were absolutely breathtaking. That film combined with a giant lens produced results like no other. I also stumbled upon a few other people with Polaroid Land cameras which was a treat having other instant enthusiasts around. Of course there were more than a few TLRs or film SLRs but Polaroids are harder to come by.
The last odd story is about a photo I no longer have. Meandering the party near the end of the day, wondering what to do with my final shot, thinking I may use it for a skyline shot aboard the ferry back to Manhattan, a man stopped me and began to eagerly ask questions about the camera. He finally asked if I minded if I took a shot of him and his friends and then offered me $20, which I happily obliged at that point. Ha. At the time, that was about the cost of an entire pack of that film whereas now with it being discontinued, it's about half the cost! Anyways, so I shot a group shot of him and all of his friends in their finest garbs, the photo came out beautifully, and they set off gleefully with their new print. That to me is the magic of Polaroids. Near instant results.
Aside from all of the fun with the Polaroid camera, I also shot a roll of Tri-X Reversal Super 8 film in my Nizo S56 camera. I shot different snippets of the event from the amazing dancing, choreographed performances, the band, the people, and managed to end it all on a fading skyline. Busting that camera out also managed to get some looks and even caused an NYU film professor to stop me and chat about the format and how he wished he brought his. Vintage cameras are always a great talking point and I love when people stop me and want to chat about them.
This final shot is actually from this year's Jazz Age. Only had one shot left in my Polaroid Spectra camera so saving it for a big group shot seemed like the best use! Such a swell day! Hope to be shooting more film there in the future.