Article submitted to the Polaroid Originals Magazine by DJ Pangburn.
Before Sol Bela was a photographer, she worked as a fashion blogger. During its four-year run, Bela’s fashion blog served as a gateway of sorts into the world of photography. Her first camera was a compact Sony H200 camera. Quickly hooked by image-making, Bela acquired a Nikon 3200 DLSR camera, but soon ditched it for a Canon 500D DLSR, before ultimately settling on the full-frame Canon 6D. Three months ago, Bela’s quick procession through various digital and film cameras led to her first Polaroid. After purchasing it at a flea market, Bela discovered it was broken upon arriving home. A friend, however, lent her a Polaroid camera, and she fell in love with the format after shooting her first pack of film.
“I started to take my photography career seriously when I got my Canon 6D, which was last year,” Bela tells Polaroid Originals. “A few months ago, I discovered the world of film. I have so many 35mm films cameras, and the last one I got was a medium format that I’m still trying to master.”
For Bela, photography is about colors and styles. When fused, these two ingredients produce inexplicable magic and feelings in Bela’s images.
“I try to make my pictures as warm as possible because that’s the feeling you get when you choose to mix warm colors,” she explains. “Right now, I’m interested in shooting portraits because I want people to know the people I’m shooting. Yes, I still do fashion photography, but since this is a journey, my intention right now is that people knows the references I’m creating right now with their faces.”
“I already knew the brand, but I had never got the chance to shoot one,” say Bela. “Later, I won a One Step 2 for the best picture at at a festival competition in a Barcelona store, and that was when I started to use the iType films as well as the 600 series.”
“It was crazy, I was taking that camera anywhere—parties, hanging out with my friends, shoots,” she adds. “Now I have more than 200 polaroid film packs and it’s been only a few months.”
When Bela first began using the OneStep+, the first thing that caught her attention was the smartphone app feature. She didn’t realise it was possible to control analogue film exposure with a digital app.
“I used the portrait mode in almost all of my pictures,” says Bela. “I was a little bit lost because I was too excited that I didn’t even read any instructions. And it was a mess with the first pictures because they weren’t well exposed, until I found the manual mode.”
For her OneStep+ photos, Bela found inspiration in the spectrum of colors on the camera body. She tried to use bold colors in her background, as well as in her model’s makeup and outfits.
The app feature that Bela found herself using the most was Double Exposure. Initially, capturing a good double exposure proved difficult because she’d never shot one before.
“They can look a mess if you shoot, for example, a portrait and a landscape at the same time,” Bela explains. “You have to know what goes first so it can look aesthetically good.”
“The manual mode made everything easier for me because I’m used to shooting in natural light,” she says. “I always try to make my shots a little bit overexposed, which is why I was having a hard time with the double exposures in the beginning.”
To capture some personal photos of herself, Bela utilized the Self Timer. And when she wanted to trigger the camera without manually engaging the shutter, she used the Noise Trigger feature, triggering it with music.
“But the real reward of this app I would say is the scanner,” says Bela of the digital scan created by the app. “As an impatient photographer, like I guess a lot of people are out there, when I really love a shoot the first thing that comes to mind is wanting to share it with everyone. The classic method with the best quality is a digital scanner, but that can be a little tiring, so the app helped out a lot.”
“It shows you rich colors and you don’t have to worry about losing your film because the scanned pictures stay on the app,” Bela adds. “Mixing the digital world to make our classic cameras easier to manage is like the best of both worlds.”