Vintage Polaroid feel to iPhone images

It was two years ago that I wrote a post calling the iPhone the new Polaroid SX-70 but that post gets a whole new meaning now when my iPhone images actually start looking like polaroids again. I’ve always been nostalgic and had a soft spot for all things antique and old. The same is probably with my photography taste. Kind of old-school-guy. Polaroid film always makes me think of my youth when a guy holding a parrot use to walk around on the Tel Aviv promenade with an SX-70 camera and offer on-the-spot pictures with the parrot.

When I had my studio in Tel Aviv, way before the digital age, I used to work a lot with Polaroid film. I particularly liked the large format positive-negative films that had this special grunge frame. The frame was a result of the chemicals uneven spread on the surface and was the ‘tell’ on which film you used. I loved it. (Believe it or not but there is a video of me shooting a portrait session with Polaroid 55 film at my Tel Aviv studio in 1993!).

There was the polaroid type 55 positive/negative b&w film with a unique frame which you might be able to recognize. There was also type 59 which was in color, and there were others, all simply amazing. With the demise of film and the rise of digital photography came the end to Polaroid in all it’s formats. I love digital but sometimes I miss the old days.

Snapseed app is my new favorite toy

In the beginning of digital photography camera manufacturers were only trying to prove that the new cameras can be as good as the old film cameras. That photographers can safely make the move without the fear of loosing quality in the image. By now this is all behind us. Cell phone cameras and smartphone photography came much later and are actually a pure child of the digital age that has nothing to do with the history of photography and cameras. (I would seriously recommend that you take a moment to read what Stephen Mayes, director of VII Photo Agency had to say about cellphone photography in an interview to WIRED.)

In time new apps started coming up and improving the toolbox in our smartphones. I don’t have to mention them all as I’m sure you are using them, but the ones I do want to talk about are Polamatic™ and Snapseed. The first is really only a polaroid imitation tool. I used it on a fun couple shoot in Gujarat last month and loved it, but I cannot think of having an iPhone and not using Snapseed. It is a very comprehensive tool but what I am particularly happy with is the vintage tab and the frames, both improved considerably in the last updates. Both these apps take me back to Polaroid and the lovely vintage, grungy look that I used to love so much.


photo 3

iphonography, iphone photography, snapseed app

These next two images were originally taken with a DSLR and then transfered to the iPhone and optimized in Snapseed to look like a Polaroid 59.image-2 iphonography, iphone photography, snapseed app

  • Just gorgeous, love the effects – makes you wonder what’s next!

  • John Paul

    I love the retro film effect in photos , Starmatic is another app with cool filters 

  • sk

    They’ve discontinued the serviced but you can still find the snapseed app for the MacOS which is identical to the one for the iPhone!