Design Inspiration – Ruined Polaroids

A malfunctioning Polaroid SX-70 camera is the tool photographer William Miller uses to create vividly hued abstract art. The camera, found at a yard sale is as unpredictable as the images it spits out.

Miller explains, “it sometimes spills out two pictures at a time and the film often gets stuck in the gears, exposing and mangling the images in unpredictable ways. Over time I’ve figured out how to control and accentuate aspects of the camera’s flaws but the images themselves are always a surprise. Each one is determined by the idiosyncrasies of the film and the camera.”

Most people would have tossed the camera out along with the unrecognizable images it yields but Ruined Polaroids explores “the failure of a (photographic) process” and “the artistic value of chance”, says Miller.

The intriguing colors and shapes in Miller’s polaroids appeal to me, but what I like most about them is how such an uncontrollable “broken” process yields such interesting and beautiful results.

Visit Miller’s website to see more ruined polaroids and his work as a photojournalist.

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4 comments on “Design Inspiration – Ruined Polaroids

  1. Gorgeous again! I want to make a giant print of that green and yellow one and hang it on my living room wall–it looks like a Rothko! :)

  2. If one didn’t know better you’d think the composition and colors were intentional – lovely

  3. Nancy M.’s avatarNancy M. on said:

    Love this! My boyfriend and I were just talking about what to do with our old 35mm non-digital cameras and the expired film we still have since it’s a process to get film developed these days. Maybe Sakurasnow makes a good point that it might be worth investigating and then being OK with unexpected results!

  4. sakurasnow’s avatarsakurasnow on said:

    These are so intriguing and very beautiful! Thanks for alerting me to William Miller’s photography (his ‘Gowanus (In Progress)’ series is interesting too!).

    I have several rolls of l-o-n-g expired slide film which I have been meaning to use (with my old non-digital SLR) as I hoped the results might be ‘interesting’… this has inspired me to dig the film out (from wherever it’s currently buried!) and see what happens :)

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