ANALOG TRAVEL MEMORABILIA
How modern-day traveling has changed the way we keep memories of our experiences and how bringing back the analog at the expense of the digital is the trailblazers' act of rebellion
Words: Emily Georgieva
Photography: Nathan Dumlao
18 June 2023
The Polaroid camera my sister got me for my birthday a couple of years back was hanging by its colourful strap placed around my wrist. The two of us had planned a few day trips around England and we vowed that we were going to ditch the digital in favour of the analog memories. There we were, fresh off the train as we stood at the platform, loading the camera with a new packet of film, getting ready to start exploring.
The idea of taking physical copies of pictures was born one evening a couple of weeks prior to those spontaneous day-trips when the two of us were sitting in our flat talking about the old photo albums that our mum used to keep. Pictures from family trips, friends' birthday parties and candid snaps of everyday life were carefully arranged in a sequence that might have not made much sense at first glance but it evolved into a storyboard once you took the time to understand it. I remember flicking through the pages of those albums, catching glimpses of my childhood through pictures I had forgotten existed. Thanks to my mum they were all archived, much like flowers pressed between pages of books.
This got me thinking about our culture of travel and our generation's habits of documenting our experiences. It is so easy to get swept up in the headspin of it all and to fall under the spell of taking quick snaps of the new places we go to. It is much harder to pick a moment to capture if those opportunities were numbered. The truth is, my sister and I didn't think much of it at first. We just wanted to be more present and try to connect to the places we visited without the burden of documenting everything digitally. It felt good to try exploring destinations in a different way to what we were used to. Before long, we ended up with boxes of memories captured on instantly developed film. We wrote the places on some of the pictures, the dates on others, but most of them were just untagged and that challenged us to try and remember the experiences for what they were - an opportunity to exist in a moment of time that was now a footnote in our travel diaries.
Much like a great playlist where the songs have to be queued in a well-thought manner in order to express the poetry of the art, the perfectly arranged photo album can achieve the same outcome. It has got to be surprising but also familiar, nostalgic, yet it must remind whoever's flicking through the pages of the moments the pictures absorbed. If you pack an instant camera and you can only keep the memories that the film develops, which moments would you choose to capture?
Our team is excited to tag along on your trailblazing journeys. Send us five Polaroids snaps - one for each of your favourite travel memories from this or last year. We'll feature your adventures in print and spread the joy of capturing analog travel moments.
BEYOND THE ANALOG
I. The first Polaroid camera was invented in 1948 and it was called Model95 Land Camera.
II. Our print editors' top five most favourite instant cameras are Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6, Fujifilm Instax Mini Evo, Instax Mini 11, Polaroid Now Instant Camera and Instax Mini 40.
III. It can take between 3 and 5 days for a film from a disposable camera to be developed or as little as two hours depending on the chemicals used in the process and the lab turnaround.
IV. Much longer time is required for 35mm film to be developed. Sometimes that can take up to nine working days to get the images processed.
NOMADSofORIGIN is an independent annual publication with a focus on sustainable travelling and global cultural values. Each issue features interviews, engaging articles and photo guides, which take our nomadic readers through different destinations and introduce them to local people's perspectives.
© NOMADSofORIGIN Magazine 2023. All rights reserved.