by Grant Hamilton
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We are pleased to present a selection of Polaroids by Iowa City-based photographer Grant Hamilton, who uses an SX-70 to create beautiful abstract photographs from found objects and colors. Grant explains his love for the SX-70:
Polaroid cameras are magical. In my pocket, I carry a medium-format, single lens reflex camera that folds flat. It never needs batteries because they are in the film pack–each new cartridge provides 10 sheets of film and the power to develop them. When I press the red button on my 30 year-old SX-70, a sonar wave is sent out from the camera to measure the distance to my subject. As the bounced wave returns to the camera, the auto-focus adjusts the lens within a fraction of a second. Next, sophisticated electronics calculate the amount of light needed to properly expose the picture and the aperture and shutter-speed are set. The fresnel lens that had been redirecting the light to the viewfinder, flips up to reveal a mirror on its undersurface. This mirror reflects the incoming light downward onto the film. Once the film is exposed, it is ejected from the front of the camera. As it exits, it is squeezed through two rollers that spread the developing chemicals from their storage pod at the base of the photo. They move the acidic paste over the silver crystals like a rolling pin flattening dough. Polaroid integral film is made up of 13 different layers. These layers regulate the chemicals that create full-color photograph from just three different dyes. After the photo is outside the camera, the developing image is protected by a temporarily opaque timing layer that prevents over-exposure. The dissolution of that shield slowly reveals the underlying picture. Like the moment it captures, each Polaroid photo is unique. There are no negatives and no memory cards. When I carry my Polaroid, I can transform the ethereal into the tangible. That is magic.Grant has a sharp eye for detail, form, and color, and his work shows the brilliance that exists in the everyday, hidden in plain sight. From now until the end of May, you can see more of his work displayed at the Design Commission's gallery in Seattle.