Bastian Kalous is a polaroid and instant film artist who started taking pictures while walking his dog. Ever since he has captured the most breathtaking eerie polaroid photos of countless places he has been to. And there is still more where these come from.
How did you first get interested in photography? And polaroids in particular?
One day i found one of these magical expired Polaroid images in the Internet and i was totally fascinated with it. I wanted so much to create such pictures too. The problem at that time was that i absolutely had no idea how i should do that or how i should get these films. Especially the ones with the “flames” in it. The original Time Zero film. Polaroid was out of production for these films.
With time i got more and more into this photography thing and i found out where to look and what to do. In a few years I got a lot of expired but still working films for almost each size. I still have a good stash in the basement and I hope to take a few more images in the future.
For me it’s great to see that people like the ones from The Impossible Project or NEW55 are out there because they’re trying their best to keep our passion alive.
You prefer to shoot landscapes rather than people. How do you explain that choice?
I love pictures of people. There is so much gorgeous work to find. The main reason why I mostly take pictures of landscapes is because I mostly find time for taking pictures on my hikings. It all started with walking with the dog. Then I brought my SX-70 camera with me, now I bring my 4×5 camera with all the equipment plus my SX-70 camera. It was getting more and more and the distances getting longer and longer. I had a lot of time because my wife was studying. It was mostly me and Schoki, the dog. That’s another reason why the landscape is my model.
Another reason is that I absolutely love the nature. This also comes from taking pictures. I started to keep my eyes open for the beauty of it. And it’s really amazing what it is possible to find out there.
The last thing is that I am not good at capturing people.
Have you ever been to a place that has changed you? Which one was it? What effect did it have on you?
It was not just one place, it was our tour through America in 2011. We drove about 8000 km and crossed some borders, explored some National Parks and totally enjoyed it. I was, and I am still amazed by these majestic landscapes. There were all these signs of the towns with the name of the near National Park.
When we were back home I also registered the signs of our towns and there was also the Nation Park. I thought about that twice and that was the point when I started hiking and exploring more and more where I live. I never did this before but this was how this trip changed my point of seeing were I live. Nowadays I am so happy about my home which I wanted to leave so much a few years ago.
How do you decide where to go to photograph?
Normally I see how much time I have. And then I decide the place I want to reach. The weather plays a second role. It’s nice to use the 4×5 camera because from one image to another I can choose what kind of sheet film i want to use (b&w or color).
How do you choose whether to shoot black and white or colour?
It depends on which films i have in the backpack…
Normally I bring different kinds of films. Different color films like Fuji PC100c or Polaroid 669 and also different b&w films like Polaroid 664 or Polaroid 52. There are different film speeds and different looks. I choose at the spot which one will look good. Sometimes this works well.
Is there a place you really dream of visiting and photographing? Which one and why?
The place i want to dream of?
I have been to a few like Iceland, the trip to the USA, most amazing was Yosemity and Yellowstone, last year’s trip with the family to the Northcape was totally great.
But there are still some more.
The biggest dream is going to Alaska one day. Seeing the Grizzlies at the Brooks Falls, Mountain Goats in Denali, driving on the Dalton Highway and so on and on. It’s a big dream.
Also Patagonia, the Kaukasus, Baikalsee, Siberia all these kind of landscapes in the north fascinate me.
Looks like i need more films 😉