Technological Artifact: Angela Basinger

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Polaroid SX-70 One Step Camera (Photo by Angela Basinger 2018)

The technological artifact I selected, my Polaroid One Step, not only characterizes myself as a part of the vintage obsessed “hipster” culture I find myself immersed in as part of Generation Z, but also connects to my identity as an individual caught up in a rapidly advancing technological society. On my iPhone, I can take hundreds of pictures of just one instant, each seemingly identical and each as trivial as the last. Yet, when I take a photo with my One Step, there is only one 3×3 picture to capture the moment. In each pack of expired film, there are only eight photos, and of those eight, two or three are likely to never develop into photographs. This makes each polaroid shot unique and rare to the moment it was taken, tied to the memory captured in the frame. In an age where photos can be taken, shared, and edited anytime and anywhere, photographs seem to lose worth in a sea of social media. The photos I’ve taken with my Polaroid are tangible memories, moments from my past that I can carry with me.

I found this camera at a thrift shop in 2015. I order expired, discounted film cartridges online and hope for the best when I shoot the film. The old film distorts the images and gives each set a unique tone and feel. I like to take one cartridge with me on a trip or to an event and take all eight shots in the same day. In this, each cartridges’ unique defect or distortion characterizes the entire group of photos and determines how I experience the memory of that day. In short, my SX-70 Polaroid One Step is my chosen technological artifact because it represents my need to connect moments in my life to tangible memories rather than just another trivial, digital iPhone photo.

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