Saturday, May 31, 2008


Tonight I just started another Flickr group:
Pola Dogs

Pola Dogs. Get yours at

I'm a lifelong dog lover. I've always had a dog since I first came into this world. Dogs make life happy. Please submit Instant photos of all your canine pals. Show new shots or reach back in time to Polas and Dogs of your past.

Post photos of Dogs taken with any kind of Polaroid Camera or Polaroid equivalent like a Fuji Instax, Holgaroid, Daylab, or Polaroid Back from a film camera. All types of instant Polaroid Film are welcome - Integral, Peel Apart, Color and B/W, plus emulsion lifts and image transfers.

Please do not add digital or film photos that have been altered to have a Polaroid look or border. Digital photos with Polaroid photos in the shot are okay.

No limit to daily uploads, but please tag your photos "Pola Dogs"

My doggie, Lucy The Boxador, is the official Pola Dogs mascot.

Friday, May 30, 2008


I spotted this Pontiac last Memorial Day while wandering around the VA grounds in Westwood. Thanks to the very old building in the background, I thought the shot looked like it could have easily been taken in the Forties.

I just love this Pontiac Indian hood ornament.

I think the car may be a 1940 Silver Streak, possibly one of the Special Six series, like in this poster seen below.

According to

(c. 1720-1769), Ottawa Indian chief. Pontiac came to symbolize Indian resistance to the spread of white influence and power in the eighteenth century. The subject of Francis Parkman's The Conspiracy of Pontiac (1851), he emerged from its pages as a brilliant and determined "Satan of this forest paradise." From the vantage point of the late twentieth century, however, he appears as one of many Indian leaders who sought desperately but ultimately unsuccessfully to limit European dominance in the 1700s.

The Pontiac brand was introduced by General Motors in 1926 as the 'companion' marque to GM's Oakland Motor Car line. The Pontiac name was first used in 1906 by the Pontiac Spring & Wagon Works and linked to Chief Pontiac who led an unsuccessful uprising against the British shortly after the French and Indian War. The Oakland Motor Company and Pontiac Spring & Wagon Works Company merged in November 1908 under the name of the Oakland Motor Car Company. The operations of both companies were joined together in Pontiac, Michigan (in Oakland County) to build the Cartercar. Oakland was purchased by General Motors in 1909. The first General Motors Pontiac was conceived as an affordable six cylinder that was intended to compete with more inexpensive four cylinder models. Within months of its introduction, Pontiac outsold Oakland. As Pontiac's sales rose and Oakland's sales began to decline, Pontiac became the only 'companion' marque to survive its 'parent', in 1932.

All Pontiac photos taken by Lydia Marcus on May 26, 2008 at the VA in Westwood, CA.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Back at the end of 2006, I got together with an old friend who I hadn't seen in a few years. Just to catch him up on what I was doing, I showed him my photography portfolio - mostly images of distressed cars and neon signage around L.A. He happened to be Sandra Bernhard's manager and after seeing my pix he invited me to come to New York and shoot Sandra at her New Year's Eve live show at Joe's Pub. Considering I'm not much of a people shooter and my portfolio truly reflected that, I questioned his intent, but he seemed secure and satisfied that I'd be good to shoot Sandra. I guess he was looking for something different and a little out of the ordinary (kind of like Sandra). I had carte blanche to shoot her backstage and onstage. She was a totally 100% willing subject - as this super up close Polaroid shot can attest. I mean when you're sticking a bulky, analog Polaroid SLR 680 SE in someone's face as close as it can focus, well you know that they're game. I shot about two boxes of Polaroid 600 film but this shot was my favorite.Sandra Bernhard Polaroid portrait by Lydia Marcus shot December 31, 2006 in NYC. Photo taken with a Polaroid SLR 680 SE using Polaroid 600 Film.

This photo has been submitted to JPG Magazine online as part of their Polaroid Portrait competition. If you'd like to vote for this shot go to

Monday, May 26, 2008


I went with my old friends the Thaden family to watch a Memorial Day ceremony at the Los Angeles National Cemetery. Here are some Polaroids and a few digital shots from the day.

Civil War re-enactors

Coast Guard Helicopter Pilot

Boy Scouts

photos by Lydia Marcus shot on May, 26, 2006 in Westwood, CA.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Thursday was the weirdest day - around noon I was laying on the sand at Santa Monica beach with my friend Karen who was visiting from Seattle and at 5pm I was stuck in heinous traffic as a crazy rainstorm blew into town. End of May, torrential rain (and reports of Tornados on the news), what's next, locusts??? In between the sand and the rain, I spotted two perfect vehicle specimens for digital and analog capture. First up was a bright yellow VW Van parked next to a yellow building and a yellow street sign. Next was a pink RV fantastically detailed with angel's wings. I shot with THREE cameras: my Contax T2 35mm camera loaded with Kodak Portra 160 VC; my digital Sony T100 point and shoot pocket camera; and my new Fuji Instax 200 that continues to grow my admiration - I really like how super vivid the colors come out. In the evening, I went to my last photography lecture at the Julia Dean Gallery and after class I showed a group of five people my crazy big toy camera (the Fuji Instax) plus my five car shots from the day. The reaction to the camera was what I expected, everyone couldn't get over how damn big and goofy looking it is. The reaction to the film and my shots was way better than I expected, I think I instantly just converted everyone to want an Instax! Two of the people instantly wrote down the name of the camera and one of them said that she was going to order one for her sister. Everyone remarked how great the color looked. Too bad I'm not getting kickbacks (or at least free film from Fuji or Lomography) because I'm sure I will be helping sales!!!!

Here are some digital captures from my Sony T100. I can't get super close with the Fuji Instax (approx 3 feet is the closest focusing) so I liked the way this was cropped better because I could zoom in more with the Sony. BTW, the badge on the yellow VW Vanagon is from an Alfa Romeo - wishful thinking I guess.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Since I have to brace myself for the very real possibility that I won't be able to get any of the Polaroid integral films (the kind that shoots out of the front of the camera and develops in less than a minute) after this year when Polaroid ceases production, I've decided to embrace the sole instant camera technology that will be in production - the Fuji Instax camera and film. I still plan on using my Polaroids for "important" stuff, but at least with the Instax I can shoot with abandon and not wonder if I'm wasting a shot. Sure it still costs about a buck a shot, so that limits my abandon (like shooting any kind of film does - you have to be a little more thoughtful about shooting choices vs being able to shoot hundreds at a time with digital).

Fuji makes several kinds of Instax cameras and films (the mini format actually works in the old Polaroid Mio cameras - but alas, I don't have a Mio). I decided to make my first step with the Fuji Instax 200 camera and the Fuji Instax Wide Instant Film because the size/shape is pretty close to 600 and spectra. I actually dig the wide picture format - I think it will be pretty good for landscapes and cars. I look at a 24" widescreen iMac for hours, I watch widescreen movies, so it makes sense to shoot in a wide format too. The image rectangle is exactly 4" in width and almost 2.5" in height. The full size of the shot is a little over 4x3. The actual photos look exactly like what you'd expect to see from a Polaroid camera just in a different size/shape. I'm actually pleasantly surprised by the color rendition - it's pretty vivid - maybe even a little more than a Polaroid. The sucky thing for me is that there's no exact focusing like on my better Polaroid cameras (like my SX-70 Alpha and SLR 680 SE), nope, this is just like any of the run of the mill cheapie Polaroids where you have to pay attention to feet - or in the case of the Instax, freakin' meters! There's a button that changes the lens focus from .9-3 meters to 3 meters to infinity. I've taken a few out of focus shots at the .9-3 stage, so I guess I'm standing less than .9 meters and didn't realize - silly me - I guess I need to bring out a measuring tape to make sure! The whole meters thing throws me off, so today I actually converted the numbers and printed out a little label to put next to the numbers to recall the conversions. .9 = 2.9 feet and 3 = 9.8 feet.

The Fuji Instax cameras aren't normally sold in the U.S., but Mel Pierce camera in Hollywood has them on back order and carries the wide film. Most people get the film and cameras on ebay. There's also some Canadian online resellers that have them. I bought mine from - they specialize in all kinds of lo-fi cameras like Holgas and Dianas, cheap Russian plastic cameras and their own brand of Lomo cameras that have fisheye lenses, multiple lenses (actionsampler, colorspash). The Fuji Instax 200 plus 10 boxes of expired film (100 exposures) was $150 dollars plus 7 bucks shipping.

The Fuji Instax 200 looks like some insane, clunky toy camera.No one out in public has seen me shoot with it yet, but I suspect when they do, I will get some looks and probably questions. The flash can be turned on and off, but if the camera thinks the light is too low, it will put the flash on. This kind of sucks for taking shots of neon at night, but oh well. I guess I can stick some black gaffers tape on the flash if I'm desperate. I wish that the camera had a self timer shot because there's no way I can do a self portrait and be in focus - my arms length is not .9 meters!

All Fuji Instax photos by Lydia Marcus shot May 19, 2008 - May 21, 2009 in the San Fernando Valley

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I drove up to Nike Missile Site at the top of Hayvenhurst and Mulholland on Sunday night so I could check out the sunset over the Valley and the city. It's been too hot to hike for over a week so I've really been missing the peacefulness of the views from there. Driving up there at 7:45pm on Sunday, it was STILL over 90 degrees!

The moon over the city. That's downtown in the distance.

The last rays of the sun over the Valley

Me and Lucy

The same shot of Me and Lucy just cropped.

The Encino Reservoir and the Valley lights just coming on.

All photos taken on May 18, 2008 with a Nikon D80 / Nikon 17-55 f2.8 lens.