Excuse me, did you say Polaroid camera?

UPDATE: Welcome Neil Gaiman fans and ultra-large Polaroid Camera fanciers. This is an account of  the  use of a 20×24 Polaroid Camera in a non-studio environment as part of a tour before the camera is decommissioned. Those who have difficulty understanding what is written here should read my note in the comments.

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That super-large format camera in this photo is indeed a Polaroid camera, the largest of its kind in the world. It is being operated by Jennifer Trausch and Kim Venable on the dance floor of the Floyd Country Store.

Floyd residents seem to take extraterrestrial visitors in stride. The
huge bellows moved in and out in an attempt to frame a picture of the
swiftly moving dancers and the dancers never missed a beat. They were
flatfooting up a storm and the taps on some of the dancers shoes filled
the room with a shattering fusillade of staccato sounds.

Why these young women are lugging a 250 pound camera around the Eastern United States in a rented truck is a story in itself, but I will confine this article to their valiant attempts to use the world’s largest Polaroid camera to capture images of dancers clogging at the Friday Night Jamboree. Here is a closeup of the nameplate. As you can see, it is immense.

Polaroidcamera1_2Jennifer and Kim gamely manipulated controls and changed lenses in an effort to capture images of the dancers and every few minutes would open the vast doors on the back of the camera and take out a huge sheet of exposed Polaroid film and run up the stairs with it.

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I did not get a chance to see the images of the dancers, but here is an image Jennifer showed me earlier in the day. As you can see it is a very large format black and white image.

I admire their determination to take this camera on one last tour before it is decomissioned and placed in a museum, because like many endeavors I have engaged in, the doing of the deed is as important as the results.Polaroidcamera4_1

Here Kim Venable shows us one of the lenses for this camera.

This camera is the last of its breed, a technological dinosaur, and for one glorious moment it was put through its paces at the Friday Night Jamboree in Floyd, Virginia.

Many thanks to Woody Crenshaw, owner of the Floyd Country Store for having the imagination to allow these two young women to create this once in a lifetime event in Floyd.Polaroidcamera6

If they were successful in capturing a fair image, I will post it here. Stay tuned for more information about this camera and their tour.

UPDATE: Doug Thompson has written a post Size Does Matter with more details about Jennifer and Kim and their project. (This link seems to be broken now)

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