Jake Zimmerman takes wasted polaroids and creates something new

"No photo should go to waste, and can become something completely new if we explore the possibilities of what can be done with instant images.

I’m Jake Zimmerman, 28 years old, and live in Momence, Illinois, south of Chicago. I shoot polaroid film in an SX70 Alpha 1, and a Polaroid originals onestep 2 for almost every photo I take. 


This series “Decay” was created using what most would consider as wasted polaroids, too overexposed, too dark, or out of focus. Instead of simply disposing if these images, I use a mixture of chemicals, and time to create something new. The process, along with the uncertainty of what the images will become over time is the most enjoyable aspect of this series."


See more of Jake's work on instagram at @zimmy45










ALTER/ANALOG: How were these images created?


JZ: This series was created using a process of time and chemical baths. I soaked the intact Polaroid image in baths of chemicals including windex, shout, draino, water, and alcohol. The images are left to sit and age in these baths for as long as you’d like to get your desired effects. My images for this series were soaked for 2 months, then removed and set to dry out for a few days. You can allow your images to soak for less time or more depending on how the chemicals are all reacting, and if your happy with the amount of decay your photo has. 


ALTER/ANALOG: What got you interested in instant film?


JZ: I became interested in instant film years ago, starting with pack film, and moving to the Polaroid films I'm using now. My wife, who was my fiancé at the time, was studying studio art in college and she introduced me to instant film, as she shoots 35mm film herself, and I just couldn’t get enough of it. Many packs of film, and countless cameras later instant film is still my favorite medium to use. 


ALTER/ANALOG: What inspires you artistically?


JZ: I’m simply inspired by the people around me, and the world around us each day. We live in a very fast paced world, and instant film gives you that minute to slow down, capture something most people would miss, and then watch it develop in your hands. The most simple things around you everyday, can be some of the most inspirational if we open our eyes.


ALTER/ANALOG: Where do you see your work evolving in terms of abstraction in photography? 


JZ: I hope my work continues to push the boundaries that people have set for instant film and photography in general. Continually find new processes, and ways to manipulate images to create something entirely new. I want people to look at my photos and ask what is this, how did this happen?

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