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Name: Lisa Wiseman
Location: San Francisco
Full-time job: Photographer
Personal project name and short description
The New Polaroid — This project is shot completely with my iPhone and is an exploration of iPhone as the new Polaroid. As the iPhone is becoming a ubiquitous and trendy accessory, on-the-go picture taking is now the norm. I see people using their iPhones to take spontaneous photos in the same carefree way that cheap Polaroid has been used in the past. In concept and ideology, the iPhone mimics Polaroid; however, it pushes the aesthetic forward by utilizing a new non-film (but technologically infantile) medium. Just like traditional Polaroids had a specific size and unique look, iPhone photos are unmistakable because the technology limits them to a fixed size and resolution and imbues them with a unique chromatic aberration that says “iPhone” and nothing else.
When and why did you start it?
I have been shooting with my iPhone since I got it approximately two years ago. I started showing The New Polaroid alongside my portraiture portfolios on my website and in my book in June, 2008, along with other personal work including a project shot on traditional Polaroid film. It was important to me to show my potential clients another side of my shooting personality — I wanted creatives to have a feel for what the world looks like to me and what I photograph when I’m not shooting portraits. With a wider breadth of work encompassing still lifes and interiors, I wanted to show that my vision carries through everything I shoot. Showing personal work has directly led to jobs, and when I show my work in person my work seems to resonate more with the viewer because it includes the iPhone images and traditional Polaroids.
Do you have a particular image you are especially drawn to so far?
There are always a handful of images that I’m partial to at any given time but it changes frequently! I am drawn to shooting windows, lamps, and empty beds, so there’s often one of those in there. (My favorites right now are the photos included with this blog post)
What has been the most challenging thing about the project?
Because this project is about showing the work that I see and shoot all the time, it’s more inspiring and exciting than challenging. Of course there are snags here and there, but the excitement of showing work that I love overwhelms any challenges I would face.
What has been the most rewarding thing about it?
To have other people resonate with my personal intimate work is lovely and very rewarding. I also really enjoy that The New Polaroid has sparked a lot of conversation and interest around my work, including people sending me their own projects or iPhone photos or telling me stories about what my images evoke for them. I love to know when one of my photos causes someone to remember or feel something from their own history. When there is a link between past and present through my images, that’s my favorite thing.
In your ideal world, where would this project end up?
Currently I include iPhone images and traditional Polaroids in my fine art work and gallery exhibits and I would be thrilled to be assigned to shoot a job on my iPhone.
Do you recommend personal projects to other photographers, and why?
Absolutely yes! Shooting what I love makes me feel driven and in love with my career. It also keeps my work fresh and complex and prevents me from becoming stale. I couldn’t imagine not doing it.