At the end of 2014 I was playing around with the idea of using "Polaroid’s" (or to the sensitive among you 'Instant Film') on my 4x5 camera to eliminate costly mistakes. I went ahead and imported the back from Japan on the wonderful advice on the interweb 'experts'. Turned out I had ordered the wrong back and on further investigation the only remaining film for that size was Fujifilm FP-100C 45 and that was being discontinued.
After a day or so of searching on Ebay and various UK sites/shops, it seemed FP-100C 45 was only really available from USA (often expired) and Japan, and in both cases the price ranged from £50-100 a box (10 shots) not including import tax. I gave up and sent the guy a message to say I would be returning the Polaroid back...... unbelievably I then stumbled across the only place I have been able to find the film (and in date) since. At £50 a box, it wasn’t cheap but I snapped up a couple of packs and took the risk.
Before I go on, I know this film is highly sought after in UK, and have had several messages over time asking where I have gotten it from, this is how stupid this whole situation is, the shop cannot advertise that they sell the film online, if Fujifilm see it online outside of Japan on a retailer site they will cease selling the remaining stock to that shop (this is what I have now been told twice by film stockists so have no reason to doubt), so I have not and will not put the shop name online either-just in case!
First time I saw the result after the anxious 2 minute wait (that’s all it takes unlike some new Instant Film) I knew something had to be done with what ever amount of stock I could buy up, this film is GREAT! And so was born the "One Shot. One Print. One Owner" Kickstarter campaign.
Target: to get 50 backers to fund and buy 50 framed and signed prints of London. Not only that each one would be unique. "One shot, One print". Never to be replicated, a "one of one' print. I would never scan them or use them on my portfolio. The only photos of the prints would be low quality iPhone shots to help promote on social media/blogs/kickstarter updates and in the end, if the goal was successful they would be sent out to their "One Owner". A completely unique one-off photo. This all relied on several factors:
1/ Could I get 50 people to back it?
2/ Could I get 50 people to back it without actually seeing the image they were buying?
3/ Could I achieve this goal over Christmas/New Year period when most are short on cash?
And the biggest
4/ Could I get 50 shots before the stock ran out?
Sadly the Kickstarter 'failed'.
Here is the thing though, 32 people backed it. Those 32 were incredibly supportive of it, I never heard one bad thing about the idea on various other blogs or after Twitter re-tweets, lots of people seemed to be genuinely 'into it'. Even better, afterwards some of those that backed reached out and said they would still like the print, and one backer even commissioned me to do a triplic of his favourite part of London, The Barbican. I have sitting beside me right now 12 framed prints ready to be shipped out to new homes and I think 15 in total will be bought (not including the triplic)....
People always say "why?" to me, "why are you doing that? What’s the meaning? What’s the point?" when it comes to any of my photography ideas/projects/schemes. I do it for the reason most of us do it. Its to be creative, to make something tangible, for someone else to look at and enjoy... perhaps to contribute something beautiful to the world. In the eyes of Kickstarter, this project 'failed' but in reality it didn't. To those that have bought and for me to have been able to create something 'unique' for others to enjoy it’s been a massive success.
If you have an idea, any idea, take it and run with it. Do not listen to the doubters, the naysayers, the non believers. Yes, it might fail, it might not work, but on the other hand it might be one of the best things you ever do..............
NB: I must say a huge thank you to all that supported, even if you did not end up buying, its been appreciated, you know who you are! To those that did buy, they will be posted this week and the money has bought a scanner to help with the next project, so a MASSIVE thanks for believing in my little project. I hope you enjoy the shots as much as I have enjoyed taking them.