Shanghai Polagraphy – POLA 画廊

At 19 Shaoxing Lu, Shanghai, in the previous premises of the OV Gallery, sits a shop and cafe dedicated to Polaroid cameras called the ‘Polagraphy Studio – POLA 画廊’ (sounds a little similar to Lomography right?). It is dedicated to all things Polaroid photography. There is something so special about Polaroid photographs…their instantaneous construction at the click of a button, the process of shaking the print until its hidden beauty appears in front of you, its particular colour palette, hues and tones like no other, and its fading future. I love Polaroids like I love typewriters…but for different reasons. The studio is owned by Weilai Lu, a 27-year-old Polaroid fanatic from Shanghai, where the store has more than 200 models of Polaroid cameras and vintage Leicas, plus other antique SLR’s Lu has collected in Europe since 2006. There is so much I want to take home with me in there…at a price though. Certain Polaroid film is so hard to come by now, especially in the UK at nearly £1 a shot. Worth every penny though and you shake it and hold it in your hand.

On Sunday, at the opening of AIVA’s ‘Summer Show 2012’ that I just curated, one of my Visual Communication students Mao Zi Han was taking photographs with her Polaroid camera. It was a farewell photo that she let me keep shown at the bottom of this post. As I’ve said, there is something very special about these photographs. This one now sits in my wallet as an active reminder of the last year here. So much has happened, so many adventures and so many more to come. I just hope my memories don’t fade like the Polaroid will…

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