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This morning my ultra classy Polaroid SX-70 Alpha 1 fold-up camera arrived. Man, I have wanted one of these for years but could never find one at a decent price. Even the local pawn shops overprice it. I promised Mr. Risk I would get rid of my two One Step cameras, but now I'm not sure. One of those cameras is the first camera I bought myself.

Actually, my first EVER camera was a Kodak 126 Instamatic. It took a 126 cartridge and the photos were pretty crappy and grainy. Someone gave it to me as a birthday gift but I don't remember being allowed to use it until around grade 7. I still have a few photos taken on a grade school trip to Quebec City and the scary Bible Camp my 'loving' parents sent me to twice (grades 6 & 7 I believe). Most of the images are typical pre-teen girl photos; friends posing in bad 80's outfits with bad 80's hair. There are also plenty of my usual "building with no people" shots (now you know where it comes from). I've always been a documentor and a curator, well before I knew what that was.

The Sears Special SX-70 OneStep was the first camera I actually bought myself. It was purchased for one dollar at a Salvation Army some time in the early 90's. At the time I was very poor and didn't own a camera. I don't remember being around people who had cameras. There are very few photos from that time in my life. To be honest I'm a little unsure as to why I bought that particular one or even why I bought a camera at all. I had been a regular thrift store shopper for years and had seen an assortment of cheap cameras lining the shelves (I kick myself now!). At the time I think I was stuck in the thinking that to take good pictures you had to have a good camera... and that was photography was something unatainable and intimidating. One required a shiny new camera to take good pictures. But I was poor and I couldn't afford a shiny new camera. I also thought the cameras were too old and unusable. I was clueless. I think I bought the SX-70 because I knew I could still get film for it. Even if the film was expensive, it was easy. Shove the cartridge in and you're off.

random artistic photo

I did use the camera quite a bit. I took random "artistic" photos and I later used it to document a few art projects in my first year of University. It wasn't very reliable for artwork documentation but it was better than nothing. Then Mr. Risk came into my life and he brought with him Bill the Canon AE-1 and a nice point-n-shoot Nikon. The cheap camera that took expensive film was shelved.

So of course I will soon have no use whatsoever for the SX-70 One Step but I'm having a difficult time parting with the object. I'm trying to learn that parting with "the thing" doesn't mean parting with "the memories". I guard my memories well.

More about the Polaroid SX-70

  • I'm a big fan of the "grouping". Gorgeous triptychs by Doctor Foxglove
  • Manuals for both the One Step and Fold-up SX-70 cameras can be found here.

    This entry brought to you by Gil Scott-Heron's "Who'll Pay Reparations on My Soul?" (I've been heavily addicted to this song for weeks). -- From Black and Proud Volume 2

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