MARCH 13-15, 2020
Join Instant Film Society members and other instant film enthusiasts from across the country in the Bay Area for the first PolaCon outside of North Texas. Since founding PolaCon back in 2015 – as the world’s first 3-day instant film photography convention and meet-up – IFS members have hosted the annual gathering in North Texas on the last weekend of September each year since, but this Spring IFS teamed up with our PolaPals at SF Instant Photo Walk and Glass Key Photo to present #PolaConBayArea (aka PolaCon 4.5, but, well, that won’t work as a hashtag).
For the uninitiated, read this excellent, comprehensive recap of Polacon 2017: http://prymeeditions.com/blog/
or this one from 2018: https://orangephotography.com/
For PolaConBayArea, we’ll feature 15-plus instant photography-related events from workshops, demos and sessions (from cyanotype demos to FP negative bleaching to Instax in a 4x5) with guest speakers and photographers to Saturday’s Zines & Things Swap Meet (bring your photography zines, small prints or other photo-related art to show, share, swap or sell) to an instant film exhibition, as well as film- and camera-specific meet-ups and demos – in addition to four unique PolaWalks in distinctive, picturesque areas led by IFS members from across the U.S.
Highlighted walks include Friday’s sure-to-be unforgettable Neon-at-Night Chinatown PolaWalk through San Francisco’s historic Chinatown, which is the oldest in North America. Saturday morning’s Mission District Murals PolaWalk – the area is a vibrant must-see stop when visiting the Bay Area. Oh, and there’s Sunday’s San Francisco Bay Ferry ride over to Oakland for a Photowalk lead by the East Bay Photo Collective (EBPCO).
Because IFS is a volunteer-run registered non-profit, and PolaCon is FREE to attend, PolaCon is not some fancy-pants book-a-room-for-you convention. No, this is more of a “choose your own adventure”-style kind of meet-up where IFS members work with venues to host photographers for day-time events, and then attendees plan their travel and find lodging nearby. So, whether you want to crash on a couch at a friend’s place, on a king-size at one of the many hotels or nab a unique AirBnB, make your arrangements soon as the closer to Spring Break, the fewer options will be available nearby.
Stay tuned for more precise meet-up points for our #PolaWalks each day, but, in general, on Friday and Sunday we’ll be hosted by Glass Key Photo at 1230 Sutter Street (between Polk and Van Ness in San Francisco, CA 94109) Check them out here and on IG: glasskeyphoto.com/#glass-key-
Saturday’s daytime events, including the Zines & Things Swap Meet, will all be centered around Thee Parkside, a popular venue and watering hole with a backyard and a small stage that hosts bands from indie, folk and country to experimental, punk and metal. So, lots of character that makes a great background for Polaroids. Thee Parkside 1600 17th St, San Francisco, CA 94107 (Visit theeparkside.com for more info on the venue.)
The final finalized easy-to-read one-page schedule will be posted on our website and in the FB event page a week or so before the convention. Attendees should check the FB event page or Instant Film Society’s Instagram account on the mornings of DAY I, II and III for any “official” last-minute additions, deletions or cancellations.
All of PolaCon’s day-time programming is free to attend. However, some venues will have limited “seats,” but plenty of standing room, so most events will only be open to RSVP’d guests.
As Dr. Edwin Land once said: "One of the best ways to keep a great secret is to shout it." We're still a non-profit with zero budget for marketing or advertising, so, we're relying on y'all to help spread the word about IFS and PolaCon to fellow film photo friends!
-The Instant Film Society