on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Warped Topographies

working towards a Fellowship of the RPS

Richard Earney

Richard is a designer and abstract landscape photographer living in North London. He uses a variety of cameras and a scanner to create his imagery. He’s happiest outdoors enjoying the landscape, but also when striving to find the abstract and unusual that’s out there.



Polaroid was a remarkable invention. In a world where you had to send film off to a lab before you could see your pictures, here was a technology that was akin to digital photography 30+ years before it existed; better you got a print out of it.

My experience with using Polaroid camera was minimal until a few years ago. I remember using a cream coloured Pack Film camera as a child but have no recollection of whose it was, or what photos were taken with it. But I do recall seeing the little plastic coated paper tab which you had to pull out to reveal the tab of the photo and its backing.

I once shot a book cover using my wife's Polaroid 600 camera, but apart from that, the era passed me by. I knew the name and the cultural significance of a Polaroid. I even knew not to 'shake it like a Polaroid picture' following the release of the song "Hey Ya" by Outkast (their use of the phrase eliciting the stuffy response from the Polaroid Corporation that shaking a Polaroid could damage the development process).

In a way, that was partly the subconscious genesis of this project. Something about that press release made me think a little bit more about Polaroids; that the development process could be damaged.

A bit later and I finally had an old Polaroid SX-70 camera and some Polaroid film. I shot some landscapes with them but due to either a fault in the camera or mucky rollers (a common problem!) what came out was a weird set of blobs and brown and beige colours. They were interesting but not as intended. I moved on but kept the prints. Every so often I'd come across them, puzzle a bit, then put them away in a box. 

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