Photographer Grant Hamilton captures the most simple aspects of our daily lives in the most spectacular ways. His bold, clean Polaroids are invigorating in their raw energy and simplicity, making Grant one of my favorite photographers ever. So, I was super excited when he agreed to a chat on the Porch. Click the link for his kind words and more of his spectacular art!
The Porch: What kinds of things inspire you?
Grant Hamilton: I’m inspired by pretty things. I know that sounds silly but I like to look at, and shoot, things that make my eyes feel good.
The Porch: How long have you been doing photography?
GH: I think I’ve always had some level of interest. Long before I was a “photographer,” I remember trying to make more than just snapshots while on vacation. It wasn’t really a passion until 2005 or so. I bought my first SX-70 in January of 2006.
The Porch: When did you get into the clean, color Polaroid stuff?
GH: It wasn’t long after I bought my first SX-70 that I started finding abstract details to shoot. Initially, they were more recognizable and now they are mostly blocks of color.
The Porch: Where do you shoot?
GH: Wherever I am. I’ve nearly exhausted the subject matter in my small town but it’s always a treat to travel and find different buses or signs or whatever.
The Porch: What draws you to that style?
GH: I don’t know. Maybe I’m a frustrated painter or something. I like Rothko quite a bit and some of the other modern painters that used big areas of color. I also like the technical aspects of getting the composition as close to perfect as possible. I think my background in Graphic Design also plays a part.
The Porch: Why Polaroid?
GH: Polaroids are special. There is no negative. Each photo is unique in the world. In that regard, they are like paintings. I also like that the chemicals are kind of painted over the image by the rollers. It’s a very mechanical process. I also like the square format.
The Porch: Do you have plans for impending closing of Polaroid film?
GH: I’ve been hoarding a bit but just found some frozen mozzarella cheese in the refrigerator next to my film stash so maybe it is all ruined anyway. If it isn’t destroyed, I’ve got enough for a couple more years.
The Porch: Have you been able to display any of your stuff? Is it difficult because of the medium?
GH: There are unique challenges and I’m always experimenting with new ways to reproduce it and hang it. Most recently, I hung an installation in my house that has 10 One Step cameras on individual shelves each spitting out a different photo. I think that is kind of cool because it also captures some of the process. I’ve also scanned them and printed them on glossy paper and mounted them to a PVC board so that they look like giant Polaroids. I did that for a couple of shows and, most recently, framed some originals and sent them to New York for a show. It was hard to part with the originals.
The Porch: Do you think sites like Flickr have had an impact on photography?
GH: Absolutely. I never would have (re)discovered Polaroid if it weren’t for flickr. The social aspect is the revolutionary part. In 2004, I used to post some images on PBase but that wasn’t even close to the rich network of groups and contact that flickr has.
The Porch: Do you have anything new in the works? What are you plans for future?
GH: I’m working on something that is Polaroid-related that is pretty exciting. It is a little early to talk about though. That format may be where I go (creatively) after my film stash runs out. We’ll see. Sorry about being so cryptic.
The Porch: Who are some other photographers you’re into?
GH: I really admire Steph Carley. She’s the reason I got a Polaroid camera in the first place. I also like Lou Noble, Sean Tubridy, Tod Brilliant, +fatman+, Jill Greenberg, Martin Schoeller, David LaChapelle, and Chip Forelli.
The Porch: What are some of your favorite pieces of music?
The Porch: Literature?
GH: I really prefer biographies since the stories are much more interesting since they actually happened. I’ve read almost everything written by/about Richard Feynman. He had an adventurous life. I try to design my life to be similar to his. I want to really excel in an area but also cultivate “hobbies” that progress to more than just dabbling.
The Porch: What is your favorite website?
The Porch: What makes you most happy?
GH: Wow. I doubt I could name just one thing. Watching my daughter grow up, spending time with my family, knowing that people like my photographs, making something like a book, movie or photograph…