SX-70 Souvenirs (1980s)

In September 1979, I bought a Polaroid 1000 ‘OneStep’ camera, attracted by its reputation as the simplest camera in the world.

I wanted to see whether it was possible to make good pictures with this technology. (I did discover that one got through an awful lot of SX-70 film finding out.)

I used it for four projects. First, I photographed Wimpy Bars, which seemed like an appropriately downmarket subject (and a contrast with the Little Chefs I was photographing at the same time).

Then I chose a subject at the opposite extreme: would it be possible for SX-70 to capture the magical atmosphere of the standing stones at Avebury?

The other two projects were both part of the travelling I was doing at the time. Wherever I went, I would take two Polaroid photographs.

One was a self portrait, photographing myself in front of some significant monument. (I suppose these would now be called selfies.) For the other picture, I turned the camera to the sky and let the SX-70 film react how it would, often with quite unforeseen results.

The four projects were exhibited at different times. The Skies were included in the British Polaroid Open, which opened at the Spectro Gallery, Newcastle in 1982 and toured to seven other venues, including the Photographers’ Gallery, London. The Self-Portraits were in the Ffotogallery touring exhibition Regarding Photography, shown at nine venues in 1987-9. The Wimpy Bars and Avebury Stones were in my one-person show at Ffotogallery in 1989.

1 Cardiff copy