The Polaroid Big Shot is a big (duh), clumsy, cheap, 90-some-percent plastic, idiot-proof, fixed-focus, fixed-focal length, single-shutter-speed camera built solely for portrait taking, which was briefly manufactured during the early-1970s.
Focusing is accomplished by physically moving the camera back and forth (a sort of dance known as the “Big Shot shuffle”) until two rangefinder images in the viewfinder line-up; and for all pictures it uses batteryless Magicubes for flash – which unlike flashcubes are fired mechanically. The only adjustment is for aperture (two cheap pieces of plastic behind the plastic lens element), and the only “luxury” is an impressively-accurate 60-second timer on the back (yes, I tested its accuracy). It’s designed only for 100ASA films, with the only current stock available being Fujifilm FP-100C – for color.
Despite all that: image quality is rather impressive. In fact, much so that Andy Warhol was particularly fond of this camera. Many of his portraits were started by taking his subject’s picture with one – often shooting several-hundred pictures until selecting one favorite, which would then be enlarged and the outlines screenprinted on canvas, using that as the basis for his paintings.
But I’m not Andy Warhol… I’m rather the opposite, beyond the fact that I have a ridiculous-looking instant camera with insane limitations. So if you’re as much of a shy, misanthrope as I, and you’re looking at one of these: you’re probably wondering: “well, what the hell do you do when you have nobody around to take pictures of?”
Behold the “Big Shot Shuffle” challenge… the concept being:
One portrait camera
…and due to the Big Shot’s crazy limitations, you’ll find that last part proves to be rather difficult. Also: having an electronic flash that fits the Magicube socket helps significantly, otherwise you’d best stock-up on cubes. Good luck…
Without further adieu…
For this first challenge: I slipped into a previously-explored location sometime late at night, strapped an el-cheapo flashlight to the top of the electronic flash unit (Nissin PF-26 I found at a thrift store, held on by three rubber bands), and fired-away – looking for anything that may fit in the frame.
And here’s where I botched it:
…and I’m not sure how because until then I actually thought the framing in the flimsy-ass viewfinder was pretty accurate, especially considering that I had no natural light to work with. Oh well…