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|| News Item: Posted 2008-04-01

Leading Off: Bye Bye Polaroid?
By Robert Hanashiro, Sports Shooter

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Sports Shooter

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Sports Shooter
No more Polaroid film?

No more SX-70-altered photos made to look like Van Gough… on LSD?

No more Polaroid "emulsion lifts" (for a real LSD look)?

No more rummaging around swap meets looking for those Swinger cameras?
(Which PC World included in its list of "The 50 Greatest Gadgets of the Past 50 Years.)

No more bad $20 passport photos (because they don't want to re-shoot and "waste" more film)?

No more Type 55 P/N film!!!

While I am not a true Polaroid aficionado …I am more of a dabbler… I will certainly miss Polaroid films. Or maybe, more to the point, the thought of Polaroid film being around.
It's sort of like missing Fantastic Four #9 from your comic book collection: It's something you're really going to miss, but it's not something you need everyday.

My first memories of Polaroid was my dad's old Land Camera he bought in the early 60's. He used the camera for family photos, but mostly used it for headshots of people for the newspaper he ran, the Fowler Ensign. It was big and clunky-looking and hard to hold. But it was so cool!

I still remember listening to dad counting down before I could peel the film so we could look at the little black & white print … and that gooey, stinky stuff in the tube you had to smear on it so it wouldn't fade.

But I guess a newspaper's shooters biggest use of Polaroid Type 55 was when we sat around with editors at a "brain-storming" meeting (always deadly), trying to come up with a "different" approach for some project.

Usually one of us would blurt out "Hey, let's go retro and shoot 4 x 5 and Type 55?" And off we'd go, blowing the dust off of our Speed Graphic and heading to the local camera store for a box of good old Type 55.

Now I certainly am not poking fun at using Type 55, "sloppy borders" an all. I've shot it for years and sometimes for that very reason …something "different".

For a portrait shoot of Leonardo DiCaprio for the Howard Hughes biopic "Aviator" I brought along the Super Graphic and was able to convince DiCaprio to give me more time so I could shoot him "with a camera Howard Hughes would have been photographed with during that time period." After spending several minutes showing the curious DiCaprio my "Super" he said "Yes, absolutely" in spite of the shaking head of his publicist.

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / USA TODAY

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / USA TODAY

Shot with Polaroid Type 55: Leonardo DiCaprio poses for a portrait.
What I think I'll miss most of all about Type 55 (really) is it gave me an excuse to use the old 4 x 5, slowing me down, being more meticulous and making me think about each frame --- or rather sheet of film --- I shot.

I've being using a digital SLR as my primary camera since 1995 and to say it changed the way I shot is a huge understatement.

Thinking singularly about each and every frame has become less and less a factor in photography as digital "motordrives" sped up, chimping, became more important than breathing and 256 MEGABYTE Microdrives gave way to 8 GIGABYTE 300x compact flash cards.

I still haul out my trusty Hasselblad from time-to-time for portrait shoots. A month ago I got a funny email from a picture editor after sending in a roll of 2 1/4 chromes from portrait shoot of Oscar-winner Javier Bardem. The email simply read: "FILM!!!???"

I guess the saddest part of that story is a couple of weeks later I received a box with the Bardem shoot, plus several others I had shot medium format film on and the note from the same picture editor read: "I'm sending these shoots back to you since the library no longer can handle storing film…"


Anytime I hear about a Sports Shooter member updating their gallery with a shoot done on Type 55, I go to it immediately and will often send a nice note to the photographer thanking them for sharing their work.

There have been several pretty good photo books recently shot on Polaroid film, from Timothy Greenfield-Sanders' book XXX to the recent It's Complicated: The American Teenager, by Robin Bowman.

I'll miss Polaroid film, maybe more than my missing copy of Fantastic Four #9…

There are 8 sheets of Type 55 I discovered in the Lightware case that holds my trusty Super Graphic and my Crowne Graphic (a nice 50th birthday gift from my good friends Dan and Julie MacMedan). I was thinking of a way to commemorate the passing of Polaroid and what to use those precious 8 sheets of Type 55 on.

So this is what I've come up with: Each year on my birthday I declare it as "No Chimping Day" where I ask everyone to refrain from chimping. This year let's call the day "Bye Bye Polaroid Day" and anyone that has some Polaroid film left, we gather at some agreed upon location here in So Cal and have a group shoot of sorts.

If there is enough interest, I will set up "Bye Bye Polaroid Day". If you are interested in this, email me at: Tell me what kind of Polaroid camera or film you have left and any suggestions on a location and/or subject to photograph to use up the last of our Polaroid film.

Whether you have Type 55 (or some other 4 x 5 Polaroid film and a camera), an SX-70, medium format camera, Polaroid back and film or whatever, it could be a cool "Sports Shooter Event" to meet up the first weekend in June and celebrate the passing of a photographic medium and way of life …

* * *

It's March Madness time and we get an insider's view of what the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament was like for Cal State Fullerton, through the lens and recorder of team photographer Matt Brown.

With the start of the baseball season we feature two personal stories about the National Pastime with Brad Mangin writing about a season without Barry Bonds and Andrew Kaufman on the closing of a Spring Training tradition Dodgertown.

Kevin German writes about why giving up his staff job at the Sacramento Bee and moving to Southeast Asia to freelance was important to his photography and his life.

Ask Sport Shooter has CameraBits' Kirk Baker explaining Photo Mechanic's code replacement feature and Sports Shooter Destinations local William Luther's recommendations for places to eat in San Antonio, site of this weekend's NCAA Men's Final Four.

In a three-part segment on workshops, Paul Morse writes about attending a workshop after 19 years; Missouri student Charles Ludeke give us an inside look at the recent Sports Shooter Academy and Jenn Jedynak challenges students to find anyway they can to pay their way to an educational program.

* * *

A couple of CONGRATS and a big THANKS:

• CONGRATS to Glen Turner, who just completed a run across the USA that started in Oceanside, CA and ended some 2,630 miles and 37 days 1 hour and 18 minutes later in Tybee, GA. Glen is the cousin of Jim Clark of PocketWizard, one of the sponsors of the run. "Glen has been spotted quite a few times by photographers along the way," Jim wrote me, "At least one of the photographers had a pile of PocketWizards with him and took some photos of Glen using his PocketWizards and remote cameras attached to his running cart. His running cart has a simple PocketWizard logo across the front of it and along the sides. It's made a few photographers ask the question of "what does PocketWizard have to do with this guy". For more info and to recount Glen's travel across the country, check out his website:

• CONTRATS to LA Lakers team photographer Andy Bernstein on an upcoming gallery showing featuring the work of his HOLA middle school photo students. HOLA, Heart of Los Angeles, is an inner city youth program that helps 6-19 year olds through arts, athletic and educational programs, Andy has been involved in HOLA programs for several years and through him, has also gotten the LA Lakers organization to help with fund raisers and other programs. The gallery exhibit will be at the rampart Gallery, 2619 Wilshire, Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90057. For more info on HOLA and the rampART Gallery:

• THANKS to everyone involved in Sports Shooter Academy V. I cannot thank enough the faculty, staff, supporting companies and participants of THE coolest sports photography event of the year. Thanks to Myung J. Chun, Donald Miralle, Wally Skalij, Michael Goulding, Sean Haffey, Jordan Murph, Crystal Chatham, Susánica Tam and Eugene Tanner. A big MAHALO to Louis Feldman and Samy's Camera; Doug Murdoch and Think Tank Photo; Amy Kawadler, Jim Rose and Joey Skibel from Canon USA; Jesse Bowman and AquaTech; Jim Morton, Gary Robinson and Dyna-Lite. A very special thanks for the patience and understanding of my wife Deanna and daughter Emma. An extra special shout to Matt Brown…this workshop could not happen without him.

* * *

This week, reading material on The Kahuna's nightstand include: Seven Seconds or Less: My Season on the Bench with the Runnin' and Gunnin' Phoenix Suns by Jack McCallum; Obsession: An Alex Delaware Novel by Jonathan Kellerman; and The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey by Candice Millard.

iTunes has queued up Jungle Struttin by The Lions; Just A Little Lovin' by Shelby Lynn; and Mad Dogs & Englishmen by Joe Cocker.


As always, thanks to Special Advisors & Contributors: Deanna & Emma Hanashiro, Brad Mangin, Rod Mar, Trent Nelson, Jason Burfield, Grover Sanschagrin, Joe Gosen, Paul Myers and Bob Deutsch.

Thanks this month to: Matt Brown, Kevin German, Andrew Kaufman, William Luther, Paul Morse, Charles Ludeke, Jenn Jedynak and Kirk Baker.

I welcome any comments, corrections, suggestions and contributions. Please e-mail me at

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