Polaroid 6, “Iggy”, Bangkok

The 6th image from #apolaroidaday is of “Iggy” a taxi driver from Bangkok.

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This image has a big significance for me as it was the one which persuaded me to apply chemical alterations directly to the large format negatives of my personal project ‘Yantra: The Sacred Ink’ – I had first met Goh at Wat Bang Phra tattoo festival a year earlier and photographed him there with a 6×6 camera against a white wall. His wiry build and Iggy Pop-like natural cool, along with very shinny eyes made him a very striking sitter. I got his details to arrange a portrait session at his home on the outskirts of Bangkok.

It was over a year before we finally did the shoot, and “Iggy” was the first sitter for my series of large format portraits. I had my large format field camera with me (Toyo AII) large format film and one sheet of the legendary “pos-neg” (positive negative) Polaroid Type 55 PN film. This film, along with its smaller pack film counterpart Polaroid 665, were the only instant films to produce a reusable negative. They were by then already discontinued, prices on ebay were skyrocketing, and this last sheet was actually 17 years out of date! I did not expect much from this last sheet, I had no negative tank with me so I chose to process the film later at home leaving the envelope in the Polaroid back. When I processed the Polaroid back at home, I could see a slightly veiled negative with chemical marks on it, “oh well never-mind then I thought”, let it dry and moved on to other things, thinking the large format negatives I left at the lab will have the image I want on one of them. The next day I scanned the Polaroid negative out of curiosity and absolutely loved the result, a scarred negative, reminiscent of the permanent marks on his body. The dilemma: how to achieve this result in some sort of controlled manner? Getting Polaroid 55 from Ebay was out of the question because of the price and besides, this sheet was 17 years out of date, so this was a random chance result. After much experimentation in the darkroom and some ruined negatives, I was finally satisfied with the result, and while it was not really the same as the image of Iggy, it was what I was looking for. I have stayed in touch with “Iggy” and ended up shooting two short films with him.

Photographed in 2009 – 30×40″ Edition of 10 Ⓒ Cedric Arnold

Polaroid 5, Yangon

5th post / image from a polaroid a day

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A young man cycles home after a monsoon storm in Yangon, Myanmar.

Taken in Yangon, Myanmar in july 2012 during the monsoon Ⓒ Cedric Arnold

Polaroid 4, Bangkok

Post / image number 4 – One from the studio this time

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Shot in 2007 in the studio, on almost 20 years out of date 4×5 polaroid 52 this print only partially developed and over time turned into a sepia-toned image more reminiscent of a platinum print. Ⓒ Cedric Arnold

Laurent Terzieff

Laurent Terzieff in Cologne, May 2010 © Cedric Arnold / realfeatures.com

French cinema and theatre lost one of its great talents last week when Laurent Terzieff passed away. I had the honor of working with him on what turned out to be his very last day at work. I arranged a portrait session between scenes – Above are some of the resulting images – shot with my trusty old Bronica SQ.

It felt very strange when I heard the news; after all, we’d only wrapped filming just over a month before… The conversations I had with him were extraordinary, he was so giving, he told me about his experiences with Godard, Luis Bunuel and all the greats… We chatted on several occasions throughout that day in Cologne while lighting and camera gear was set up for different scenes… About cinematography, the superb candle-lit scenes in Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon, the magnificent tones in Welles’ The Third Man… How actors need to adapt when moving from the stage to the film set, the eye line, the pace of sentences…

It was fascinating and I wish I could have spoken longer with him. I was humbled by his experience, knowledge and kindness. The first assistant came to tell us he was needed back on set – Mr Terzieff could see I was not done yet and said “lets finish this roll shall we, it won’t make any difference if I’m a few minutes late and we’ll make sure you have what you need”. RIP