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Sakara Birdsong's Polaroid manipulations

Sakara Birdsong (b. 1991; California) is a self-taught analog artist, focusing on medium format and Polaroid film. She creates work that explores surrealism, portraiture that focuses on intimacy and acceptance of self, and pushing the boundaries of film.

See more of Sakara's work on instagram at @sakarabirdsong

A/A: Why have you chosen film over digital as your medium?

SB: Throughout my life, I have worked with a lot of different mediums, and when it comes down to it I believe with film, you have to take your time. You are almost forced into a situation where you need to think about every shot you take. And I am a person who cherishes the slow process of working with film. Whether it's medium format film or polaroid film, you have to know what you want, I approach every shoot with either written down ideas or have something in my head that I am dying to capture.

A/A: Explain the process you used to get these resulting images.

SB: For this particular set, I was teaching a polaroid manipulation workshop with Sf Cameraworks and needed to have fresh examples for my students. Once I was done shooting I walked through my own personal process of breaking the polaroid apart and applying different chemicals and mixed mediums to the images. From there you let the image sit for about 24-48 hours and that is what you see in these images.

A/A: There is a sensuality to these images. Is that an important theme to your work?

SB: I believe it is. I am fortunate to have worked with Tala on multiple different projects and instances. She is someone who I trust to show my work to before publishing it. When I work with someone, I believe it is paramount to create a welcoming space that people feel safe lowering their guard, to be vulnerable. I want to know who I am working with, I want to crack silly jokes while we are working together to get honest reactions from my subjects. Without that, an image, to me, feels cold.

A/A: What is next for you?

Currently, I enjoy pushing the boundaries of mixed mediums and film. I just finished an entire notebook with ideas that I cannot wait to work on.

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