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Enter the dreamlike world of psychologist & photographer Edie Sunday's work and you’ll be met with images that are beautiful, subtly abstract, and otherworldly in their nature. With her ability to bend and break the rules, literally tampering with her Polaroid film to achieve her unique results, we knew she’d be perfect to bring to life the line: “Real Life is making the most of those dots and marks”. Join us for a special interview with Edie as she shares her creative process and how she embraced life’s imperfections with a Polaroid Generation 2 instant camera.
Taking this Polaroid series ended up going exactly the way it always does: Naturally and spontaneously. I love to capture the world as it is around me— to freeze time, to keep one very real, split second moment alive forever. I am not really able to set things up in a preconceived way very well— my mind is too immersed in my current reality when I have a camera in my hands.
Rather than trying to tell a specific story I captured the one I was creating. As human beings, we are always creating stories because we are always constructing our own reality. A story doesn’t have to be fiction at all.
Of course! I don’t think I would be a photographer if it weren’t for the surprises and unexpected results. I would have become bored rather quickly because very intentional and controlled outcomes do not reflect how I see and interact with the world. A lot of the surprise was the interaction between Eden’s graceful spontaneity and my whimsical chaos. The story that emerged from that interaction was the most surprising and unexpected of all.
The other element was the variety and unknown selection of Polaroid film I was working with. These two elements made the experience so fluid and natural that it begins to feel like there actually were no surprises and no unexpected results! But really — it was all a wonderful reveal.
I used a variety of Polaroid film for this series — including Sx-70 Polaroid film that expired in the late 90s, expired Impossible Project 600 and iType film, and brand new Polaroid 600 film. I’m quite unorganized so I carry a massive bag of Polaroid film around with me. Whenever I shoot it’s a total surprise because most of the film is already out of the box with no label.
Since I tend to swap around with film when it doesn’t “match up with” the aesthetic I’m going for, so it’s likely that I'll load another pack. It means I rarely know what I am going to get when I take that first shot — but when the photo develops I immediately know what type of film it is.
That is exactly how I shot this series! It is all about the unknown for me when I am shooting a Polaroid photograph. My techniques are just as unorganized and impulsive as my mind. There are a few things I do on a regular basis, as I described earlier, and I used a combination of my “regular” techniques and impromptu experiments for this series.
I also interfered with the development process. I placed the developing film into my pocket or bag and let it do its thing, and at times I intentionally put pressure on the bottom part of the film while it was developing. There was no particular reason for the pressure and direction I spread the developer— it is spontaneous, and it is more fun that way. I couldn’t imagine trying to force a Polaroid photograph to come out perfectly. The magic is in the mystery and uniqueness of each shot.
Lastly, a really strange thing I did for this series, which was a first, I experimented with a syringe to inject developer into the Polaroid camera while it was developing. I was able to pull the developer from the pocket and inject directly more inside the Polaroid camera. It allowed the developer to spread even further across the image than pressure did. It was so bizarre and fun.
I love this question for an odd reason— because it is really hard to say how the world of the artist and the world of the psychologist come together, or if there is really any separation in worlds at all. I go back and forth. I can say that there are at least a few core threads connecting these worlds, and that thread is primarily the expression of self and emotion.
In psychology and in art there is a similar idea that there is something beneath the surface of what we see in front of us. For a psychologist, this is the unconscious part of the mind, particularly the way the unconscious colors our conscious perceptions and external behaviors— and for the artist, this is the “meaning” behind and within the tangible thing, or photograph, in front of you. All of that nonsense is to say that both parts of me are in a constant dance with the same emotional experience, but each part dances differently— or expresses itself differently on the outside. But the emotion is the same, and I am quite full of emotions.
For Edie, imperfections and the unknown make life real. There’s no right way or wrong way. She allows herself to be guided by her intuitive and impulsive thoughts and simply just sees what happens. Like Edie's approach, Polaroid photography encourages us to let go of our expectations and to embrace the imperfect.
Get ready to get out there, get inspired and capture real life with more of our creator stories.