The first Polaroid instant camera was sold to the public in 1948. The one-step process for developing and printing photographs created a revolution in photography ? instant photography. This portable camera with its own virtual darkroom became widely used by photographers (for test shots), police officers and fire investigators (for the ability to quickly capture evidence), as well as the general public for its convenience. The cameras were also helpful for tasks such as identification cards and passport photos.
Oklahoma photographer Angela Castro has worked with multiple Polaroid cameras, films, and techniques over the past six years. She finds working with the instant process exhilarating because of the unpredictable results. In 2008, upon learning that Polaroid was ceasing production of their instant film, she began searching for a way to preserve the Polaroid look with minimal digital alteration.
This exhibit, titled Oklahoma in Polaroid, illustrates the findings of Castro's Polaroid research as well as her love of Oklahoma. "The idea of digitally photographing the Polaroid came to me while shooting Yukon's Best Flour Mill," Castro says. "After a few shots of experimenting by photographing the actual Polaroid, I decided to hold the Polaroid in front of the subject and focus the camera only on the Polaroid. The background remains blurred but is still distinguishable."
Castro says that since the Polaroid films are becoming scarce, she wanted the project to capture a subject that is significant ? Oklahoma's landscape. "I've always admired the various landscapes, architecture, and serene beauty that Oklahoma possesses," she says. For the project, Castro spent much of the 2010 summer traveling around the state capturing images with her Polaroid 600, SX-70, TZ Artistic, and Canon XTi. Castro claims the images "embody the beauty of Oklahoma and pay homage to my home."
Castro grew up in the foothills of the Ozarks in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. She studied photography and graphic design at Northeastern State University. Castro has exhibited her photography in many juried and group exhibitions including Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition's (OVAC) Momentum, Individual Artists of Oklahoma's Red Dot, and Oklahoma Art Guild's Oklahoma Friendly. In 2008, she was awarded OVAC's Professional Basics Grant for participation in the Girlie Show at the Oklahoma City Farmer's Market. Though her primary medium is photography, Castro also works in mixed media, painting, and photo restoration.
Castro currently resides in Norman with her husband and daughter. In 2011, she plans to move to Mexico City with her family for eight months to document Mexico's capital, focusing on its architecture, sculpture, and culture.