PolaCon 2018 / #PolaCon3

9/28 - 9/30



PolaCon2018: An Instant Film Convention


On November 26, 1948, the first Polaroid Land Camera Model 95 was sold for $89.95 at Jordan Marsh department store in Boston, Massachusetts. The store’s supply quickly sold out. And the Model 95 became the prototype for all Polaroid cameras produced for the next 15 years. Come celebrate 70 years of Polaroid photography and the magic of instant images with us.


“The Plan”

Welcome to the 3rd Annual PolaCon, the world’s first 3-day instant film photography convention, conference, meet-up and exhibition, hosted by members of the Instant Film Society.


Here’s the schedule (we recommend reading below for more info on each event):


DAY I: Friday, September 28 — DALLAS

12 to 2 p.m. – “Instant Film 101” & Stock-Up at Don’s Used Photo 2731 Irving Blvd, Dallas, TX 75207

3 p.m. – Meet-Up and Talk at Photographique at 3111 Canton St #100, Dallas, TX 75226

4 p.m. – Deep Ellum Meet-Up & Expo Park #PolaWalk to Fair Park (Deep Ellum Art Co.)

6 p.m. – The 7th Annual Rain-or-Shine #PolaWalk at The State Fair of Texas

8:30 p.m. – Meet for refreshments inside The Tower Building in Fair Park


DAY II: Saturday, September 29 – DENTON

8 a.m. to 9:45 – Coffee, Bluegrass & Murals #PolaWalk ‘Round The Square w/ IFS


11 a.m. to 6 p.m. — Evers Hardware Building 109 W. Hickory St.

10 a.m. – Mobile Tintype Studio Tour, Demo & Talk w/ @ellenwishart

11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – “Photo Journaling: For Travel & Everyday” w/ @anneholland

11:30 a.m. – “Using Natural Light For Portraits” (w/ FP100C) @jenbrimmage

Noon to 1 p.m. – “Ins-and-outs of I-Type” OneStep+, OneStep 2, I-1 w/ @andyo7

1 to 2:15 p.m. – “Wet Plate Photography: The First ‘Instant’ Film” w/@theoryofbrian

2 to 4 p.m. – "Zines & Things” Swap Meet

2:30 to 4 p.m. – 8×10 “Photo Booth” with @ghostlyshark of Denton Camera Exchange

3 p.m. – Instax Pro-Tips & Best Practices Panel Discussion (IFS Members)

4 p.m. – “How To Dance the Big Shot Shuffle” – a Warhol-style Polaroid Big Shot photobooth w/ MakeShift Photo

5 p.m. – Annual “State Of The Emulsion Address” – Recording “live” w/ Film Photo Geeks podcast

6:45 p.m. – “Twilight With Toby PolaWalk” [Meet at 6:45 p.m. at Evers Hardware.]

9 p.m. – “Neon At Night PolaWalk w/ @intothepolaroid” (Meet at Campus Theatre)


DAY III: Sunday, September 30 – DENTON

10 a.m. to noon – Denton Camera Exchange 117 Piner St, Denton, TX 76201

10 a.m.  – Session with Special Guest Photographer (Guess you’ll just have to get up early to find out who rolls through....)

11 a.m. – Mint Camera Demo with Armand Kohandani, Denton Camera Exchange owner


1:30 to 7 p.m. – Patterson-Appleton Arts Center 400 E Hickory St, Denton, TX 76201

1:30 to 2:30 p.m. – “On Traveling With Instant Film” Erin & Steve Reeves of MakeShift Photo

2:30 to 4 p.m. – Ian Kasnoff & the trailerCamera Talk & Demo

4 to 5:30 p.m. – Project Barbatype, a Mobile Tintype Talk, Demo & Q&A

5:30 to 6:30 p.m. – Panel Discussion on “The Art of Instant”

6:30 to 7 p.m. – Panel Discussion on “Which Instant Film Camera is THE BEST?”

7 p.m. – ??? – After Party at Armadillo Ale Works

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


A word to new members and attendees about how IFS’ events and meet-ups roll out: This schedule is past the development stage and is now fixed, but is also fluid and by no means complete. In fact, there will be many surprises developing for attendees this weekend. 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. serve more as guidelines for presenters and attendees to assemble. So, show up early and stay late.


We’ve had a couple of cool photographers tapped to be presenters who needed to cancel at the last minute due to work obligations, but we still have more than 20 workshops, demos/talks and panel discussions. (If you know a lift/transfer whiz who isn’t shy about demo-ing in front of a crowd, have them DM IFS ASAP!) Please, check the FB event page or Instant Film Society’s site on the mornings of DAY I, II and III for any last-minute additions, or any deletions or cancellations due to weather.


Be advised, many of the Day II events will have limited seating, and some demos, sessions and excursions will be located in smaller spaces, and may quickly reach capacity, which might result in “standing-room-only” situations. Don’t be afraid to – as photographer Robert Capa always suggested, “Get closer!” – to our featured photographers during the demos. And, please, don’t hesitate to ask questions.


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).


All entries for the Scavenger Hunt must be new images shot on instant film this weekend – no old frames. (Seriously, don’t even think about cheating.) Entries may be shot on any new or expired films from Polaroid, Kodak, FujiFilm, Impossible, Polaroid Originals, etc. Sorry, no ZINK! (Even if the camera says “Polaroid.”) Also, no Instant Lab prints allowed. And no Instax Share SP‑1 Smartphone Printer frames allowed.


The “EPIC! Instant Film Scavenger Hunt” list and instructions will be revealed at noon on Friday/Day I on the IFS’ Instagram account (@instantfilmsociety)  [Entries must be submitted by 10 a.m. on Day III.]





Friday, September 28 — DALLAS

[Convention “check in” to receive Scavenger Hunt lists and to stock up at Don’s Used Photo Equipment or Photographique.]

*12 p.m. to 2 p.m. – an informal “Instant Film 101 Workshop” covering all the films currently commercially available, hosted at Don’s Used Photo Equipment. (If you show up early or late, just ask for Don or Todd Puckett.) Open to the public; No RSVP required. A great camera store for attendees to stock up before the State Fair. Don’s stocks several cool vintage Polaroid cameras, and plenty of Instax film and all currently available Polaroid Originals (and Todd has several packs of rare old-stock film). Don’s is open until 6 p.m. on Friday.


*3 p.m. – Meet-up at Photographique at 3111 Canton St #100, Dallas, TX 75226. Photographique opened in 1982 and moved to the current Deep Ellum location in 2012. (Co-owner Paul Black has plenty of cool stories to share – he worked at Polaroid Corp. for more than a decade.) This is the last place to pick up film before the State Fair #PolaWalk.


*4 p.m. – Deep Ellum Meet-Up & Expo Park #PolaWalk to Fair Park. Meet at 4 p.m. at Deep Ellum Art Co. at 3200 Commerce St, Dallas, TX 75226. Then at 4:44 p.m. we’ll start walking the not-quite-a-mile trek to Fair Park (it’s 0.8 miles) for the big meet-up at Big Tex at 6 p.m. Open to the public; No RSVP required. NOTE: If you bring a 20 oz. bottle of Dasani water to donate, admission to the fair is half price on opening day.


*6 p.m. – The 7th Annual Rain-or-Shine #PolaWalk at The State Fair of Texas –The fair is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Opening Day, so IFS members can arrive throughout the day and start snapping frames, but the 7th Annual #PolaWalk officially starts at Big Tex at 6 p.m. with a meet-up followed by a big group Polaroid portrait. (Bring an umbrella, because this is a rain-or-shine meet-up.) The list for the State Fair Scavenger Hunt will be distributed and posted between 6 and 6:15 p.m. (Expect delays entering the fairgrounds and aim to arrive at the fair by 5:45 p.m. so there’s a few minutes to hang out, meet new folks, etc.) We’ll start walking at 6:30-ish after the group photo(s). Stick with the group, or explore on your own.


Note: Meet *BEHIND* Big Tex! Look for the large rainbow umbrella. (You should see the back of Tex's boots. NOT on the side facing his toes.)


The map of the fair:



State Fair Scavenger Hunt entries must be posted no later than noon on Saturday, and we’ll meet inside the Tower Building in Fair Park from 8:30-9 p.m. to eat, hangout and talk about how to photograph submissions, which will be judged by a panel of professional photographers, a photography professor and curators/gallerists. (Read the provided instructions very carefully. This Scavenger Hunt requires four frames that work well alone, but also as a “quadtych.”)


Saturday, Sept. 29 – DENTON

*8 to 9:45 a.m. – For the early risers: Coffee, Bluegrass and Murals #PolaWalk. Old-fashioned photowalk and coffee-shop crawl – all cameras and films welcome! Meet at West Oak Coffee Bar at about 8:15 a.m. We’ll head on a picturesque walk around the areas just surrounding the Square, and on the walk, we’ll pause at photogenic spots and IFS members will walk folks through some basic “Instant Film 101” pointers. Questions encouraged. Open to the public. No RSVP required.


9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – PolaCon Presents: Sunprints at Children's Art Festival [Free Sunprints with admission. For children accompanied by parents only. See event page for details on admission fees for children. Parents free.] https://www.facebook.com/events/2082059318492088/



The remaining PolaCon events require an RSVP via the PolaCon2018 Eventbrite page (Check for availability):

11 a.m. to 6 p.m. — at the historic Evers Hardware Building (behind the Norman Roscoe Pop-Up, walk in the front and head to the back) at 109 W. Hickory St. including several instant photobooths, as well as an interactive Instant Film Museum.



*10 a.m. – Ellen Marie Leathers-Wishart (@ellenwishart) is a Dallas-based tintype photographer who studied photography at Maryland Institute College of Art where she received her bachelor's degree in 2006. She has since worked as an aerial photographer and is a trained carpenter. In the Spring of 2018, Ellen finished building her mobile tintype studio on a 16' flatbed trailer. (On the weekends, the studio is stationed in the parking lot of Death or Glory, a tattoo shop off of lower Greenville, and is open for walk-in customers.)


*11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – “Photo Journaling: Photo Notebooks for Travel and Everyday” Hand’s-on, how-to session on instant-film travel journals with some supplies provided Anne Holland (@anneholland) from Kansas City (Anne shoots several types of instant cameras, and she’s elevated journaling to an art form – and she makes cool zines too!). 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. Limited seating. (Plenty of standing room.)


*11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  – Meet at Evers before wandering the Square, Jen Brimmage (@jenbrimmage) on “Using Natural Light For Portraits” with FujiFilm’s FP100C talk/walk/demo. From Lubbock originally, Jen currently calls Farmersville home. Receiving her grandmother’s Polaroid Land Camera 250 back in 2012 led to Jen’s discovering of FP100C, which led to her purchase of her Crown Graphic 4x5 press camera. (Weather permitting outdoors. Stormy weather would necessitate staying indoors.)


*Noon to 1 p.m. – “Ins and Outs of I-Type” On shooting with Polaroid Originals OneStep+ and OneStep 2, and Impossible I-1 camera. A best practices talk, with Denton-based Andy Odom (@andyo7). Andy was an early adopter of the I-1, and he knows the ins-and-outs of utilizing the app(s) and the camera’s abilities for creative purposes.


*1 to 2:15 p.m. – “Wet Plate Photography: The First ‘Instant’ Film” – Learn about wet plates, a form of photography from the mid 1800s 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 Brian Garbrecht, @theoryofbrian.

Brian is a photographer and screen printer from the Chicago suburbs. He’s been shooting instant film since his parents got him a Polaroid camera and film in 2002. Brian started pursuing photography as an art in 2013 after taking classes at Elgin Community College in Elgin, IL. He has since had his work shown at galleries all over the Chicago area, and around the country. His work consists of instant film, wet plate (tintypes), and other forms of analog photography with a focus on the photograph as a one of a kind object.


*2 to 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), pins and any other instant-film-related art. (Vintage Polaroid and instant film collectables are OK. And, yes, film packs, new and expired, are OK too. No cameras, please.)

*2:30 to 4 p.m. – 8×10 “Photo Booth” with Armand Kohandani of Denton Camera Exchange

*3 p.m. – Instax Pro-Tips & Best Practices Panel Discussion (IFS Members)

*4 p.m. – “How To Dance the Big Shot Shuffle” – a Warhol-style Polaroid Big Shot photobooth with MakeShift Photography.

*5 p.m. – The annual “State Of The Emulsion Address” – “Live” recording by the Film Photo Geeks podcast (for broadcast at a later date). *Talk & Tell Session (Bring your rarest cameras, and be prepared to talk pros/cons.)




*6:45 p.m. – “Twilight with Toby PolaWalk” focusing on sunset/dusk & neon walk with @tobysx70. [Meet at 6:45 p.m. at Evers Hardware.] Toby Hancock, known as Zoltar to friends, was allegedly born in England on a date lost to the mists of time. Some say he was actually ejected from the original SX-70 camera, but sadly there are no surviving Polaroids to confirm that legend. All we know is that the "Wizard of the 'Roid" and “Master of (Polaroid) Manipulations” is a veteran of the Hollywood TV and film business and has been shooting instant film since the late 1970s. (Peruse a collection of his images here: www.flickr.com/photos/tobysx70


*9 p.m. “Neon At Night PolaWalk with @intothepolaroid” [NOTE: Meet-up out front of the historic Campus Theatre at 214 W Hickory St, Denton, TX 76201] Bret Watkins is a filmmaker by day and Polaroider by night. Bret’s goal is to put a cinematic look to every polaroid he captures. (And Bret’s Polaroids are remarkable. He’ll offer pro-tips on shooting neon and other lights in low-light. Check out @intothepolaroid on IG.)



Sunday, September 30 – DENTON

10 a.m. to noon Denton Camera Exchange 117 Piner St, Denton, TX 76201


*10 a.m.  Session with Special Guest Photographer (Guess you’ll just have to get up early to find out who rolls through....)

* 11 a.m. Mint Camera Demo with Armand Kohandani, Denton Camera Exchange owner and Instant Film Society member.


1:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Patterson-Appleton Arts Center 400 E Hickory St, Denton, TX 76201


1:30 to 2:30 p.m. “On Traveling With Instant Film” Erin and Steve Reeves run MakeShift Photography out of their home/studio in the historic Deep Ellum district of downtown Dallas. While primarily fine art photographers, they also provide fine art digital printing services and gallery show production for local and emerging artists. As artists and creative individuals, Erin and Steve enjoy traveling with vintage photographic equipment. Instant film photography has always been a significant component of their creative work and the pair frequently can be found shooting a pair of Polaroid “GOOSE” cameras with their lingering stash of Fuji 3000B packfilm.


2:30 to 4 p.m. Ian Kasnoff & the trailerCamera Talk & Demo

Instant film cameras come in many shapes and sizes, but few, if any, are so big that several people can fit inside or need to be oriented with a half-ton truck. Come experience the magic of optics from the inside of the trailerCamera and learn about ultra-large-format photography and mobile darkroom setups with Ian Kasnoff.

For more info on the session visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/555314678231569/


*4 to 5:30 Project Barbatype, a Mobile Tintype Talk, Demo & Q&A

Traveling to four or five international beard competitions each year, Scott Hilton and Bryan Wing use a mobile tintype set-up to render their hirsute subjects immortal with “the alchemy of authentic hand-made 19th century tintype photography, fixed for all time, that future generations might view their majestic visage.”


Tintypes were the instant photographs of the 19th Century. Nearly 100 years before Polaroid’s first instant film cameras were released in 1948, the tintype process was developed in 1853. The technique requires the photographic material to be coated, exposed and developed by a photographer on site processed immediately after exposure, which helped tintypes to catch on because the entire process was fast and economical. Within a few minutes, subjects with some pocket change could leave a session with an image. For more info on the session visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/580548455694281/


*5:30-6:30 p.m. Panel Discussion on “The Art of Instant” moderated by Jessica Reinhardt AKA @jetsetter23 (Co-Host of The Instant Photo Show Podcast).


*6:30 – 7 p.m. Panel Discussions on attendees and featured photographers “desert-island cameras” aka “Which Instant Film Camera is THE BEST?”


*7 p.m. – ??? After Party at Armadillo Ale Works, an award-winning brewery that happens to be in the same parking lot as PAAC.


Legal mumbo jumbo: Each attendee is responsible for their own actions and behavior to, from and during any talk by a featured photographer, polawalk or meet-up, and attendees waive their right to sue any IFS member or any host of these free events, sessions, meet-ups or walks. 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, walks, talks or meet-ups 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 attending you agree to allow your likeness to be used for any legitimate purpose by the event organizers.


The IFS charges no money for anything. Featured photographers however may charge for the cost of film for portraits or to use their film.