Instant Fun! A Celebration of Innovation in Photography

This Friday marks the first show at THE GALLERY @ Dot Editions with the opening of Instant Fun!, photographs by Joanne Chan. On display is a body of work that celebrates both a photographic process visionary for it’s time and a photographer who utilized the medium to document stories and interact with subjects in a unique way.

THE GALLERY @ Dot Editions Joanne Chan Instant Fun!.jpg

Joanne Chan explains her introduction to the medium, Polaroid cameras 180 and 195 with 665 film, and a glimpse into the process and stories behind the work included in Instant Fun!:

In the early nineties while living in New York City, I began assisting for German photographer Klaus Schoenwiese, who became one of my dearest friends. It was at that time that Klaus introduced me to Polaroid Cameras 180 and 195 along with the Polaroid 665 film. Both of these Polaroids are vintage cameras with great lenses that offer a manual focus allowing the photographer full control over the shutter speed and aperture. Polaroid 665 film is special in that it produces a black and white positive image on the spot as well as a high quality negative that can be used at a later time to create enlarged images. These negatives must be kept in a sodium sulfite solution until they can be properly cleaned and preserved, which meant everywhere I went with my cameras I also carried a little bucket full of solution. 

Over the years I traveled to Hong Kong, Panama, Thailand, Jamaica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St Martin, Cuba, and more with my beloved cameras and bucket of solution in tow. And while using a point and shoot may have been far easier than lugging a bucket around, my subjects were always overjoyed to receive a beautiful black and white portrait of themselves immediately after the shoot instead of having to wonder if they would ever get a chance to see the image.

One of my most memorable moments was when I visited a paladar, or family-run restaurant, in Cuba. The lady who ran the restaurant exclaimed to me in tears that her son had left for Florida two years prior and that they may not ever see each other again. I took a picture of the lady and she wrote a note to her son on the back of the print, then later after returning to New York I was able to reach the son and send him the portrait with a note from his mother.

When I started using Polaroid I found instant joy. This type of immediacy in photography was a novelty before the digital era, and while it offered beautiful results it was primarily only popular among photography enthusiasts. Adopting a method that allowed me to see the image immediately, give a copy to my subjects right away, and keep the negative for later use allowed me to engage in a different way as a photographer and provided my subjects with a more special and interactive experience. Everyone was happy.


Exhibited images are original silver gelatin prints printed by the artist utilizing type 665 Polaroid positive negative film.

The show opens this Friday, March 15th, 6-8pm and will be up thru the end of May. View more details here, and we hope to see you there!

Dot Editions