160115 Instax Folios - matthew piers robertson • photography writing creative toronto

Instax photos are neat little things. They're physical prints about the size of a business card, with an image that's 1.8" x 2.4", for a 4:3 aspect ratio. I have a yellow Instax Mini 8 camera, and it's fun to shoot with on those two time a year that I use it. So that camera set my expectations for how I would use my new Share printer – for giveaway prints at family gatherings, mostly. But printing instant photos and watching them develop turns out to be far more fun than I expected, so now I've started using it to make quick little portfolios.

Instax Mini prints aren't exactly high-definition, but the printer puts out 640x480 pixels at 254 dots per inch, and that's enough. The results are small images that can be shuffled and flipped through, handled and shown around, without any worry about archivalness or fineartness. There isn't any. Yet at the same time they are unique objects that can be appreciated and enjoyed.

Four or five Instax prints can fit in a typical business card holder, which makes a nice vehicle for a little portfolio. I have a spare card holder around here somewhere, so creating one was my goal when I went to the ROM today.


Alien Landscape

With these five photos I was experimenting with a macro lens, trying to make a small rock look like an alien landscape. And that's not much of a stretch, considering the actual subject: this is a fragment of the Canyon Diablo meteorite that hit Arizona about fifty thousand years ago.

The photo prints are a very different experience than seeing the digital images, but only one of them really works online. Below are the electronic versions of the photos I printed, in random order to emulate the experience of flipping through the prints.


Anthropology

The third floor of the ROM contains displays of cultural artifacts, and this includes explanatory texts. These photos are of snippets of that text – bits and pieces that jump out without broader reference. 

Here the Instax printer isn't quite up to the task of subtle colour reproduction or accurate framing. But to be fair, it's still vastly better at those things than the Instax cameras are. And framing inconsistency is inevitable when cropping a 3:2 image down to a 4:3 print, so it's just a matter of learning the medium and working to its strengths.


Stair of Wonders

Many people like the curving wooden stairs at the Art Gallery of Ontario, and I agree that they're nice, but I prefer the staircase in the ROM's Crystal addition. It's angular and metal and lit with different lights that illuminate its displays. These are the more monochrome of the bunch, and I'll have a larger series coming soon.


While I was carrying other gear as well, all of these photos were taken with my XF60mm macro lens on my XT10. That camera choice is moderately relevant, since the XT10 can talk directly to the Instax SP1 printer over wifi.

No stand-alone computer was involved for Anthropology or Stair of Wonders.

I shoot raw, while the printer needs jpegs, so I converted the images that I wanted to print in the camera, which the Fuji is very good at. That creates a neat little set of jpegs gathered at the far end of the memory card, which makes them quick and easy to print. Reprints are easy, too, should I want additional sets – at a cost of about $1.30 per exposure.

Alien Landscape was created a little more traditionally, relatively speaking. I used Apple's Lightning SD card reader to import the raw photos to my phone, edited them with Snapseed, and then put them through Fuji's Instax Share application. This lets me use any camera with the Share printer, and tweak the results a bit more. I'm not sure it made a difference here, but everything I do now is practice for what I'll do next.

I didn't actually do these prints while sitting in the ROM's cafe with a drink and snacks at hand, but I could have. The printer is small enough to carry in a spare lens compartment, runs on batteries, and needs no wires. I could easily create these mini portfolios just by mucking about with my camera over lunch, which would be a nice way to wrap up a camera-outing with friends.

Will I do that? I don't know. But I do know that I'll be carrying the printer the next few times I head out, just in case.


Powered by SmugMug Log In