With the zealous fervour that exists for all things digital, it is a miracle that there is still an enthusiasm for analogue technology. Award-winning photographer Jon Nicholson is one such devotee, and his new book ‘Seaside Polaroids’ is bound to tug on the nostalgic heart strings of anyone with a childhood fondness for the Great British holiday. Armed with a Polaroid SX70 and an out of date film roll, Jon set off in 2010 on a voyage of the coast, to snap the life and soul of the seaside. The result is a collection of contemplative images that combine both idyllic seascapes and ominous wastelands, now available at The Conran Shop, Chelsea. Today we inspire you with a look at 'Seaside Polaroids', and invite you to join Jon Nicholson for an exclusive book signing at The Conran Shop Chelsea store this Saturday at 2pm, see here for further details.
Why Polaroid and why Torquay?
In 2009 Jon stumbled upon a Polaroid camera and film being sold as part of ‘The Impossible Project’, a scheme dreamt up by group of analogue enthusiasts on a quest to restore instant photography. After a few rollercoaster years, Polaroid had gone out of business in 2008 as the digital world amplified. Such a find was a rare gem for anyone, let alone an avid photographer with a keen, creative eye. Speaking with enthusiasm about his seaside polaroids, Jon Nicholson says, ‘What we crave, and what is so popular now, are those apps on phones that make our pictures look like these. Well, this is the real thing, done with an obsolete camera and a bag of out of date film. Smashing.’ There was to be no retouching, this was a one shot only project and was reliant on capturing the subject in an instant, after all there was no more film.
The Polaroid first took off in 1965 when the aptly named ‘Swinger’ camera was launched. Bringing instant imagery to the mass market, Polaroid cemented their place in the photography hall of fame. This coincided with the Golden Age of the Great British Beach Holiday which flourished during the 1970’s. The result was a decadent mix of family holidays and dirty weekends all snapped with a wistful and nostalgic twist. What better venture than to take the Polaroid back to its roots with a coastal tour of seaside hotspots. As Jon says ‘I want these pictures to evoke memories of childhood holidays by the seaside.’
If you are familiar with his name it may be because this esteemed documentary photographer was the official photographer for the London Olympic games last year. Whilst his repertoire includes a wealth of sporting accomplishments, he is equally famed for his current affairs reportage and his work with many UN agencies. Jon Nicholson has travelled the world and documented populations and cultures in Tibet, Ethiopia, Bhutan and India amongst others.
There you have it, quite a varied career of achievements. If you want to find out more and meet Jon Nicholson don't forget you can join us for a book signing at The Conran Shop Chelsea store this Saturday at 2pm.