Instant Love Book

My Love Affair with Marrakech

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

marrakech polaroid

I recently got back from our 2nd Instant Love Polaroid retreat and am still coming down. We had such a great week shooting with Polaroid cameras in our gorgeous Moroccan villa. Peacock Pavilions is such an amazing place to teach at, to stay, to experience and photograph. Maryam, Chris, their family and staff make the week so special, it’s hard to ever leave.

Jen and I had such a ball with a fine group of ladies and loved every minute we got to spend with them. Despite the Moroccan genies casting spells on some of our cameras, the group produced some amazing instant images and we were thrilled with the works of art our ladies went home with.

I was really caught up in soaking up time with our guests that I didn’t shoot a lot this time around (most of my images were taken with my iPhone!) but I did sneak a few here and there that I was happy with.

instant love retreat 2013

A big thank you to Maryam and Chris at Peacock Pavilions. You did an amazing job again! Jen and I are starting to feel like part of the Peacock Pavilions family now. A big thank you also to Michelle at PP who was a lifesaver and kept our ship running very smoothly all week long. And of course, all the incredible chefs, kitchen and house staff, our wonderful driver, the kitties and Scout!

To the people of Marrakech who made our stay interesting and fun with a big thank you to our own personal souk guide, Abdul! If you ever need a great rug seller in Marrakech, email me and I’ll hook you up with our friend, Abdul. The ladies (myself included) scored some great wedding blankets and Beni Ouarain rugs from him. Abdul was one of the stars of Instant Love (his portrait taken by Susannah can be seen in the book) and is now part of the Instant Love family too.

To our amazing group of participants, thank you for making it such a memorable week. We had a dinner at PP with these ladies that may go down as one of the funniest nights I’ve ever had. Janis Nicolay has a great post on her blog about her experience with us. Check it out. We miss you and Wendy, Janis! You can see the wonderful images our group took here on their websites and instagram pages. Thank you Janis, Wendy, Nicole, Marissa, Leigh, Kathy, Cara, Carole, Danni and Patti!! Jen and I miss you all so much!

And as always, thank you to the amazing Lady Jenifer. I love you!

All images photographed with a Polaroid 180 Land Camera and Fuji instant film.

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New Beginnings

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

For my birthday this year, Sean gave me a talisman pendant from local Vancouver designers, Pyrrha. He chose it without any prompting from me and out of all the symbols on offer, he chose one that represents ‘new beginnings’. At that stage in the year, we had not decided to move back to Australia, but somewhere the stars aligned and here we are again on a new beginning wading our way through the next stage of our life.

We’ve only been back in Australia for a fortnight and already so much has happened. Life is fast paced in Sydney and at present, I’m struggling to keep up. I know things will settle down soon and I look forward to the moment that we are completely unpacked and settled again.

I’m soaking up the family and friend time as much as I can and wishing the sun to continue to shine. We’ve spent time by the beach, been to our favourite dessert place and had lattes a plenty! I’ve got big plans for another summer here in the Southern Hemisphere filled with pool parties, picnics and Polaroids.

Speaking of Polaroids, Jen and I are pleased to announce that there are now a few spaces left in the 2nd week of our Instant Love retreat in Marrakech! We are keeping places open until October 22! If you’ve been thinking about your own new beginning and have wanderlust and the want to learn about instant film and the wonders of Morocco, now is your chance. Come spend a week with us in the beautiful Peacock Pavilions! It’s going to be an amazing time and I’m already getting excited about it! Check out our lovely website here for all the information. It’s going to be awesome!

Images shot on a Polaroid 180 Land camera using Fuji instant peel apart film.

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An Instant Love Book and Camera Give Away!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

More Instant Love news today…

As I mentioned earlier in the week, Ryan Marshall video extraordinaire shot and produced the book trailer for Instant Love. To coincide with the book trailer release, we are having a fun give away. Head on over to Ryan’s blog for your chance to win a copy of Instant Love and a restored Polaroid land camera!

The wonderful Cory at Rare Medium in Seattle (one of our book retailers) and Land Cameras has been super awesome to provide the winner with the fabulous Polaroid land camera. It’s the type of camera that uses peel apart film (just like the image I shot for the book above) and has been completely refurbished. If you need your Polaroid camera fixed or refurbished, Cory and the team at Land Camera are the people to see!

To enter this fantastic give away, head over to Ryan’s blog and leave a comment. If you want a second entry, all you need to do is repost the trailer and post about the book on your own blog. The contest starts today and closes next Wednesday.

Once again, thank you to Cory at Rare Medium for helping out and giving away a camera to our lovely Polaroidy friends! You are awesome!

Pacing The Panic Room: Enter here! // Follow Ryan on instagram  @ _ryanmarshall

Rare Medium Store and Gallery // Land Cameras Repair Store // Follow Rare Medium on twitter

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Instant Love:How to Make Magic and Memories with Polaroids Is Officially Released!

Monday, May 14, 2012

This journey began in late 2009. It began with a rather long email that started as an intimate conversation between friends and turned into a plan to write a book together. And now the day is finally here- our book, Instant Love is done. It has pages and a spine and is sitting on book shelves. It feels so good to be able to look back and say, “we did this together.” We created something that we truly love and believe in and want to share with others.

We wrote this book for you- lovers of Polaroid who want to learn how to shoot dreamy photographs filled with light and possibility. We share all we know about crafting beautiful compositions, our lighting techniques and tips on portraits. Throughout the book you will find snippets about what we love about Polaroids, the joys this love has brought us and pieces of our lives as Polaroid photographers.

And today we are super excited to share the trailer for Instant Love. We are very happy to have collaborated with Ryan Marshall to create this gorgeous video. We hope you love it!

Thanks to the band Rabbit who provided the music. The awesome song is called “Camera” and it’s available here. And of course, to the amazingly talented Ryan Marshall of Pacing the Panic Room for shooting and producing the video. Thank you, Ryan!

I want to thank Jen and Susannah, our girl Amy Haney for her beautiful illustration, our awesome contributors Mia Moreno, Fernanda Montoro, Grant Hamilton, Matt Schwartz, Parul Arora, Leah Reich, and Lori Andrews, our wonderful editor Bridget, Matt, Brooke, Peter and Diane at Chronicle Books, all our models, The Impossible Project, my family and friends who have all been so supportive (like seriously amazing and out of this world supportive), and most especially my Sean who got me through those months of writing, shooting and editing without cursing at me once.

And of course, Dr Edwin Land and the original Polaroid company for giving us the opportunity to make art with these amazing cameras.

Check out the trailer and tell us what you think! You can of course find our book at Chronicle Books, Amazon, Urban Outfitters and many bookstores around the world!

p.s. If you already have Instant Love and enjoyed it, we would love it and be super thankful if you would share a review on Amazon. :)

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Polaroids from Instant Love

Monday, May 7, 2012

It was a beautiful summer evening and the light was perfect- Polaroid perfect. It was the light I’d been chasing for our book. We wandered the path catching pebbles in our shoes and looked out to the ocean as it sparkled before us. I love those kinds of evenings best. Where the air is light and you can hear kids enjoying the water…summer sounds so happy to my ears. I ran my fingers lightly over the tops of the warmed grass as the path led us to the sea.

These Polaroids are a sneak peek at some of the images I shot for Instant Love. You can see them and many more in the book!

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Instant Love Retreat in Marrkech: Behind the Scenes

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hello friends!

You’ve seen the Polaroids, the Impossible images, and the Fuji shots, but today I wanted to show you some of the behind the scenes fun that was had on the Instant Love Retreat in Marrakech this year. After all, this is what it was all about. The people, the fun that was had, the photo taking and most importantly, the eating!

In this little montage you can see from left to right in each row:

Line 1: Heidi, Amy and Briana at our group dinner one night in the Marrakech medina after a day of shooting and shopping in the souks; Susannah shooting Briana’s henna at the henna party at Peacock Pavilions; Jen shooting her Polaroid 180 in Essaouira

Line 2: all our Polaroid cameras on display at the Basics workshop in the tent at Peacock Pavilions; the Impossible shot that Susannah was taking of Brianna above; me holding a baby goat on the road to Essaouira

Line 3: Debra as shot by Susannah at Peacock Pavilions; Heidi as shot by Briana at Peacock Pavilions; Liz shooting a pile of Polaroids out at lunch at Terrace des Epices in the medina

Line 4: A group of Moroccan men in the medina as shot by Irene; the front door of Peacock Pavilions as shot by Debra; our yummy breakfast at PP

Line 5: Heidi shooting a self portrait at PP; Jen and Susannah looking at Polaroids at a cafe in Essaouira; Henna hands at the henna party

Line 6: Cocktails at PP; the group giggling and having fun at our wine tasting at PP- with wonderful host Chris leading; Helen as shot by Briana at PP

Line 7: Amy at our medina dinner as shot by Heidi; me and Heidi shooting in Essaouira; cocktails in beautiful evening light; the Atlas pavilion at PP – I stayed here with Irene, Debra, Briana and Helen.

Line 8: Jen, me, Amy and Susannah somewhere in Marrakech; Helen and Michelle at PP; Andrea and Liz at PP; Helen and Briana at PP

Line 9: Everyone at dinner in the cosy tent at Peacock Pavilions. We sat on the floor for our dinners here. In this shot taken by Irene, you can see Debra, Heidi, Amy, Susannah, Briana, Helen, myself, Jen, Andrea and Carol. Liz and Michelle must have been hiding.

As you can see much fun was had by all. This is just a sampling of the good times that were had. The retreat is a chance for you to get to learn more about your Polaroid camera, to learn about shooting instant from Polaroid photographers, to see an amazing part of the world and to experience an incredible culture, but it’s also about spending time with like minded people and making new friends. We had a blast- I know I will keep these memories with me forever.

We had so much fun that we are going back again next year. Jen and I will be running two  retreats over two weeks and we would love you to come join us! You can download our pdf brochure here. Once you’ve read the brochure, email us for a registration package. We would love to have you!

Check out more of the lovely ladies’ photographs of our time in Marrakech here, here, here and here!

Thank you to Briana Morrison, Debra Cowie, Irene Georgiou, Heidi Swanson, Amy Haney, Liz Manyan, Andrea Kuhn, Michelle McGee, Carole Gentry, Helen Agarwal, Susannah Conway and Jen Altman for the images.

Doesn’t it look like fun?

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Photography Happenings

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hello friends,

There are so many good things happening in the online photography community at the moment and I had to share them with you today.

>>>> Time Zero is a documentary about a subject that is dear to my heart- the last year of Polaroid film. Grant Hamilton (one of our Instant Love contributors) is the man behind this movie that is released at the end of the month. As quoted from the website: “This is the story of the artists who loved it, those who wanted to save it, and the man crazy enough to try”. Grant Hamilton’s abstract Polaroid work is well documented and loved all over the world. There are some familiar faces in the trailer for the film and you can read all about it here.

>>>> Another fabulous Polaroid photographer, Jen Gotch is now offering prints of her Polaroid work. Jen’s Polaroid photography has long been an inspiration to me. Her print store is here!

>>>> My good friend and fabulous photographer, Tracey is hosting an awesome giveaway on her blog, Sh1ft. Tracey runs an online store called Stitch where she sells cute baby and kids wear, but she also sells fun toy cameras such as the Holga and the Diana by Lomo. Tracey was one of my first photographer friends and I’ve learnt a ton about photography from her over the years. As a birthday celebration, she is giving away 4 film cameras from her store! Head over to Sh1ft to enter. Yay, Tracey!

>>>> On a personal note, we three instant ladies are super excited to be collaborating with the amazing Ryan Marshall of Pacing the Panic Room on a trailer for our book. Ryan is a very talented man who makes gorgeous videos and writes a heart felt and captivating blog. Some of his work includes videos for The Gap’s Do What You Love series. You can check out all of his videos here. We are thrilled with the work he has done for us already and can’t wait to share the finished book trailer with you!

>>>> And lastly, Instant Love has its first little mention in the UK mag, Mollie Makes. Thank you, Mollie Makes!

You can check out my new book page here where you can read the snippet clearly and that will be updated regularly. Viva la instant!

Cherry blossom shot with a Polaroid SX70 camera and Impossible Project PX70 film.

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Instant Love- A Retreat in Marrakech

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I am so happy to announce that the Instant Love Retreat in Marrakech will be back again next year! Jen and I will be heading back to Peacock Pavilions to teach two back to back workshops. Over the course of your time in Marrakech, you will stay, eat and play at the absolutely beautiful Peacock Pavilions owned by lovely hosts, Maryam and Chris.

Throughout the week, Jen and I will lead workshops on how to use your Polaroid cameras and how to use instant film. The workshops are held in a beautiful, cosy tent where we share all our secrets on the basics of how to use the cameras and Impossible Project film, how we use light, the art of composition, and shooting portraits. There will be plenty of time for hands on shooting around the property and one on one instruction from Jen and myself.

We also will spend time shooting and shopping in the souks (gorgeous jewellery, glassware, silverware, leather, and ceramics!) and around the medina in Marrakech, eating fabulous food, having henna applied at a cocktail party (the Peacock Pavilion cocktails are delicious!), and soaking up the magical culture of Morocco. It was a life changing experience for me and I am so excited to head back.

Jen and I have prepared a beautiful pdf with all the information you need about the retreat for you to download. Download the pdf here, fall in love, and email us at for a registration package.

Our first workshop was attended by a group of fabulous women and you can read about some of their adventures on their blogs. We miss you, Amy, Andrea, Bria, Carole, Debra, Irene, Heidi, Helen, Liz, and Michelle! You can also read more about the retreat from me here, on Jen and Susannah’s blogs here, here, here (see me holding a sweet little Moroccan baby goat in that post) here and here! You can also see a mention and some of our participants images here at the Impossible Project blog.

We had an amazing time and I would like to thank all these people for their support: Maryam, Chris, Charlotte and Danny at Peacock Pavilions, our editor Bridget and everyone at Chronicle Books, The Impossible Project, Racing Snail Press and most importantly, my two amazing friends and partners whom I love so very dearly, Jen and Susannah.

Would you like to join us next year? It’s going to be an amazing time!

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