The #PolaCon2017 Schedule

Welcome to The Instant Film Society's PolaCon.

A word to new members and attendees about how IFS’ events roll out. This schedule is past the development stage and is now fixed, yet this “plan” is also fluid and by no means comprehensive. In fact, there will be many surprises developing for attendees this weekend. And, as you may have heard, we like to shake things up.

Also, like last year, to maintain the organic, analog feel of the event, all ‘start’ and ‘stop’ times for workshops, sessions, guest speakers, demos, etc. are flexible and serve more as guideline for presenters and attendees to assemble. So, show up early and stay late.

And attendees should check the FB event page or Instant Film Society’s site on the mornings of DAY I, II and III for any “official” last-minute additions, deletions or cancellations.

Be advised, many of the events will have seating, but some demos, sessions and excursions will be located in smaller spaces, and may quickly reach capacity, which might result in “standing-room-only” situations. Just pack in close. (And don’t be afraid to, as Robert Capa always suggested, “Get closer!” to presenters during our demos. Unless, we warn you at the start of the workshop about hazardous chemistry.) And, please, don’t hesitate to ask us questions. If we can’t answer, then we’ll introduce you to another IFS member or attendee who probably can.

Do you need to have an instant film camera to attend PolaCon? No, you don’t. But, to participate in the Scavenger Hunts, you will need to borrow or buy an instant film camera. If you want to buy one, then head to Denton Camera Exchange, Don’s Used Photo Equipment or Photographique (each shop has an assortment of cameras and films to choose from).

Also, speaking of Scavenger Hunts, the guidelines for both will be posted on Instagram and on Facebook in the event page when the lists are revealed. The entries for the Scavenger Hunts will be returned. All entries must be new images shot on instant film this weekend – no old frames. (Seriously, don’t even think about it.) Entries may be shot on any new or expired films from Polaroid, Kodak, FujiFilm, Impossible, Polaroid Originals, etc. will be accepted. And, sorry, no ZINK! 😉 (Even if the camera says “Polaroid.”) Also, no digital images printed as film, so, no Instant Lab prints allowed. And no Instax Share SP‑1 Smartphone Printer frames allowed. All entries will be returned on Sunday. Or will be available for picking up at DCE or Don’s during their regular store hours following PolaCon.

The “EPIC! Instant Film Scavenger Hunt” list and instructions will be revealed at noon on Friday on the IFS’ Instagram account (@instantfilmsociety). IFS members and attendees will want at least one full pack of film, because you will submit your best 8 photos. Feel free to shoot the same film, or mix and match types. [Entries must be submitted in the provided envelopes in "The Blue Case" by 6 p.m. at the Evers Hardware Store on Saturday, or slipped in the mail box at Denton Camera Exchange between before noon on Sunday.

The “State Fair Scavenger Hunt” list will be posted between 6:30-7 p.m. on Friday and entries must be submitted by 9 p.m. on Friday.

An Instant Film Exhibition featuring IFS members from across the U.S. will be on display from Friday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The Patterson-Appleton Arts Center at 400 E Hickory St, Denton, TX 76201. And all photographers who enter the Scavenger Hunts will have the option to be exhibited in a “Pop-Up” Exhibition on Sunday.


Condensed version available HERE 


DENTON: Friday, September 29—at Patterson-Appleton Arts Center 400 E Hickory St, Denton, TX 76201 [An Instant Film Exhibition open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.]

*12 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. – an “Instant Film 101 Workshop” covering some instant film history, a dozen camera types and some best-practice tips for all the films currently commercially available, hosted by Armand Kohandani of Denton Camera Exchange at the Patterson-Appleton Arts Center, featuring long-time IFS members, Armand and Andy Odom. Open to the public; No RSVP required. A brief Q-and-A will follow.

*1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m. A free “Instant Film Photo Booth” sponsored by IFS, DCE and MakeShift Photography with IFS’ Emma Donohue snapping instant portraits. (IFS members have donated 80 sheets of FujiFilm’s Instax film.) RSVP required. Those who have RSVP’d can either shoot one or two frames themselves or Emma will snap a portrait of you. Free until the last frame is shot. [Limit two frames, per RSVP’d attendee.] The PAAC/GDAC building is great for taking instant images, and IFS members will set-up a variety of cool backdrops and some props for folks to choose from. Bring your own cameras, and film, and shoot as much as you want using our backdrops!
*12 p.m. to 2 p.m. – an “Instant Film 101 Workshop” covering all the films currently commercially available, hosted at Don's Used Photo Equipment. Open to the public; No RSVP required. A great place for attendees to stock up before the State Fair. Don’s stocks several cool vintage Polaroid cameras, and plenty of instant film from Impossible to Polaroid Originals and from Instax to FP-100C. (Don’s is open until 6 p.m. on Friday.)

2 to 3:15 p.m. ‘Arthitecture’ PolaWalk ‘Round the Dallas Arts District with IFS’ Troy Bradford focusing on best practices while shooting everything from expired films to the new Polaroid Originals films. Open to the public; no RSVP required, but this walk will be geared toward those interested in learning the ins –and-outs of SX70s and other through-the-lens Polaroid cameras. Meet at Sammons Park at the large “Donor Reflecting Pool” in front of the Winspear Opera House (2403 Flora St.). Troy will start walking by 2:10 p.m.

*4 p.m. Deep Ellum meet-up & “mini” #PolaWalk to Fair Park. Meet at 4 p.m. at Cold Beer Company 3600 Main St, Dallas, TX 75226. Then at about 4:40-45 p.m. we’ll start walking to Fair Park for the big meet-up at Big Tex at 6:30-7 p.m. Open to the public; No RSVP required. NOTE: On Friday, because it’s opening day, fairgoers can bring a full, unopened 20 oz. bottle of Dasani water (or any 20 oz. Coca-Cola product) for donation to the North Texas Food Bank and get in for only $10 OR an empty can of Dr. Pepper can gets you in for 1/2 price after 5PM. 

*6:30/7 p.m. The 6th Annual Rain-or-Shine #PolaWalk at The State Fair of Texas – The 6th Annual Rain-or-Shine #PolaWalk and Scavenger Hunt at The State Fair of Texas will officially start at Big Tex at 7 p.m. with a big group portrait. No RSVP required – just a ticket to the fair! The list for the State Fair Scavenger Hunt will be posted between 6:30 and 7 p.m. (Expect delays entering the fairgrounds and aim to arrive at the fair by 6:30 p.m. so there’s a few minutes to hang out, meet new folks, etc.) We’ll start walking after the group photo(s).

NOTE: Meet us *BEHIND* Big Tex! Look for the large rainbow umbrella. And a bunch of fellow instant film photographers. (You should see the back of Tex's boots. NOT on the side facing the toes of his boots where hundreds of people will be snapping photos of corny dogs and the Big Guy with their smartphones.)

The map of the fair:

Check Instagram under #PolaCon2017, #PolaWalkTX or#instantfilmsociety for up-to-date locations and meet-up points for late-comers and stragglers.

State Fair Scavenger Hunt entries are due no later than 9 p.m., and attendees will meet-up inside The Tower Building in Fair Park from 8:30-9 p.m. to grab some fair food and one of the IFS founders will collect submissions, which will then be judged by a panel of three judges, made up of available photography professors/instructors, art critics and/or gallerists. (When the list is posted, read the included instructions very carefully. This Scavenger Hunt requires 4 fair-themed frames that work well alone, but also work as a “quadtych.”) In addition to the juried awards for the best two entries, attendees will also have a chance to vote for a "Members’ Choice Award."

*10 p.m. ‘til ??? For the night owls: Meet-up at Braindead Brewing in Deep Ellum for a “Neon-at-Night #PolaCrawl” with Steven and Erin Reeves of Deep Ellum-based MakeShift Photography. Open to the public; No RSVP required. If you love neon at night, then this is a “don’t miss” excursion with several photogenic stops and a few neon-filled pubs along the way.


DENTON—Saturday, Sept. 30
*8 a.m. – For the early risers: Coffee, Bluegrass, and “Instant Film 101” Workshop and PolaWalk [discussing pro-tips and the basics] with Will Milne, hosted by We Denton Do It. Will is an award-winning photographer who has taught Commercial Photography for nearly a decade. Meet at West Oak Coffee Bar (if you tell your barista that you’re attending PolaCon – before you order – you should receive a 25% discount). After folks grab a fresh-baked pastry and some coffee, then Will will walk folks through some basic pointers before walking at about 8:15 a.m. Open to the public; No RSVP required.

The remaining PolaCon events require an RSVP via the PolaCon2017 Eventbrite page (Check for availability):
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. — at the historic Evers Hardware Building (behind the Norman Roscoe Pop-Up) at 109 W. Hickory St. including several instant photobooths, as well as a Pop-Up ‘Instant Film Museum.’
*11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Hands-on “Pack Film 101″ Workshop on the historic town square with Steven & Erin Reeves of MakeShift Photography.
*11:15 a.m.-noon “Photo Journaling: Photo Notebooks for Travel and Everyday” – Anne Holland presents a how-to session on instant-film travel journals with some supplies provided (including her cool typewriter), limited seating. Anne has been keeping notebooks for as long as she's been taking instant photos. After some show and tell with her photo notebooks, she can help you get started making your very own.
*noon— “Instant Film Triptychs” – Jana Uyeda (@janaobscura) is an instant, pinhole and film photographer based in Seattle, WA. She will be demonstrating how to create her cool triptychs using Instax Mini film, and she will provide some materials for you to create your own!
*12:30 p.m – Impossible I-1 camera demo & best practices talk, with Andy Odom, Instant Film Society (@andyo7). Andy was an early adopter of the I-1, and he knows the ins-and-outs of utilizing the camera’s abilities for creative purposes.
*1-2:30 p.m. A “How-to-Dance the Warhol Big Shot Shuffle” Polaroid Big Shot Pack-Film Photobooth with MakeShift Photography. Portraits will be $5, until their pack film runs out.
*1-2:30 p.m. “Wet Plate Photography: The First ‘Instant’ Film” – Learn about wet plates, a form of photography from the mid 1800's, and why they are making a comeback today. See 8x10 and 4x5 wet plate demos and learn how to get yourself in on the wet plate revival, with IFS’ Brian Garbrecht (@theoryofbrian).
*1-2 p.m. "Publishing for the Public" – With the litany of images taken today it’s never been more of a requirement for photographs to present them. In this talk by self-publishing evangelist Nate Matos, you will hear about how best to organize and order your images for the best storytelling impact; while also learning means and methods for production and distribution of self-published works. Nate publishes of Serif & Silver and Blandscapes.
*2-4 p.m. "Zines & Things Swap Meet" creative types can sign up to buy, sell or trade instant-film-related personal works such as photobooks, zines, original ‘Polaroid’ images, "small" prints (no larger than 8x10-ish), pins and any other instant-film-related art. (Yes, yes, expired/rare film packs are OK too.)
*2:30-4:30 p.m. An “8×10 Impossible Photo Booth” with Armand Kohandani of Denton Camera Exchange, and Justin Goode, co-founder of Instant Film Society. Portraits will only cost $20, while Armand’s supply of 8x10 film lasts.
*3 p.m. “Scanning, printing and enlarging your Polaroids” demo & talk with Steve Reeves (of MakeShift Photography).
*4:30-5:30 p.m. Hands-on demo experience of using instant film in a 4x5 camera with IFS’ Troy Bradford (@troybradfordphotos). He will go through the availability of the various films/holders and the essentials of shooting New55, Polaroid and Fuji films in a large format camera.
*4:30-5:30 p.m. A workshop/polawalk hybrid on “Using Natural Light” with Jessica Reinhardt (@jetsetter23) (Co-Host of The Instant Photo Show Podcast).
*5:30 p.m.-6:45 p.m. DINNER BREAK! Grab a bite to eat at one of the numerous fantastic restaurants on or near The Square.
*6:45. ‘til ??? “Twilight & Neon at Night” #PolaCrawl focusing on sunset/dusk & neon [Meet at 6:45 p.m. in the back of the Evers Hardware Store]
*6:45p.m.—8:45 p.m. Already PolaWalked enough. Then stick around and hangout at Evers for some more PhotoBooth fun paired with some live musical performances.


DENTON—Sunday, October 1
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Denton Camera Exchange 117 Piner St, Denton, TX 76201

*11 a.m. – Surprise Session (Guess you’ll just have to get up early to find out.)
* noon – Workshop and demo with Frank Lopez.
* 1:30 p.m. – Mint Camera Demo with Armand, Denton Camera Exchange owner and Instant Film Society member.

2 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Patterson-Appleton Arts Center 400 E Hickory St, Denton, TX 76201
*2-2:30 p.m. Pop-Up Instant Film Exhibition opens. Registered attendees will vote for their favorite grouping of entries from each photographer who enters the State Fair and the EPIC! Scavenger Hunts. The two entries with the most votes will win the 2017 PolaCon Members’ Choice Award. (With cool First and Second place prizes.)
*2:30 p.m. A “2017 State of the Emulsion Address” and panel discussion with some instant film photographers who are experts in various cameras, films and techniques. Moderated by Jessica Reinhardt AKA @jetsetter23 (Co-Host of The Instant Photo Show Podcast).
*3:15 p.m. “Polatypes”— Learn how to easily convert used up Polaroid and FujiFilm film packs to take wet plate photographs with cameras/backs that take pack film. Along with a demo of tintypes shot with a Polaroid Big Shot by Brian Garbrecht.
*4:15 p.m. Frank Lopez describes his work as “antiquarian avant-garde,” and he creates images that force the viewer to linger. Frank creates truly unique, instantly memorable pieces of photographic art utilizing a variety of analog techniques, including Polaroid film, chemigrams, tintypes and ambrotype and Pinhole cameras. Frank will present a “show-and-tell” of some remarkable pieces, followed by an artist’s talk. With a Q-and-A with the audience, and a few surprises.
*5:15 p.m. Announce the winners of the Scavenger Hunts.
*5:30 p.m. Future #PolaWalks and #PolaCon2018 announcements.
*5:30-7:30 p.m. Wrap party with musical guests, as well as a few more surprises.

NOTE: For IFS’ second annual free 3-day instant film photography convention, a few cool planned events and scheduled sessions fell off the list at the last minute, and, sadly, a couple of featured IFS photographers can’t make the trip this year. But with more than 20 sessions and five walks, members and attendees will have plenty to keep them busy. If you know of a photographer who you think should present at #PolaCon2018, then DM us on FB or IG.

Legal mumbo jumbo: Each attendee is responsible for their own actions and behavior to, from and during any IFS or PolaCon event, demo, PolaWalk or meet-up, and attendees waive their right to sue any IFS member or any host of these free events, sessions and meet-ups. The Instant Film Society does not accept responsibility and expressly excludes liability to the fullest extent permitted by law for: Any injuries or accidents that occur during the events, or loss or damage to any personal property left unattended during an event organized by IFS. Also, be advised that this event and related activities may be photographed and recorded to document the event by a documentary filmmaker and by local media. By attending you agree to allow your likeness to be used for any legitimate documentary purpose by the event organizers or local media.

The IFS charges no money for anything. Featured photographers however may charge for the cost of film for portraits or to use their film, and Norman Roscoe screen-printed a very limited number of T-shirts that they will have for sale on Saturday (DAY II).