THE ONES THAT MAKE IT: Sean Kerrick Sullivan’s Polaroid Odyssey

A small gift from a well-meaning friend can spark an adventure down a spiral highway. In my case, two packets of Polaroid film sent me on a five-year instant-film shooting spree. There was no goal at the beginning, but the rampage spanned four continents, 13 countries, seven U.S. states and six cameras, and produced thousands of photographs. My soul needed it. Social media was watering down the black magic of photography and I needed flavor. Instant film served a creative double shot—straight up. The price and bulk of film makes each frame precious, and the anticipation of hunting for the moment to push the shutter, the disappointment of blowing a shot I’ll never get a chance to shoot again, the excitement of holding a good photo in my hands—these possess a mystery that digital just doesn’t have.

I filled a file cabinet drawer with Polaroid frames, chasing and riding the high. I was shooting for myself again, like I had before this was a career. The same friend who gave me those first 16 frames asked casually if I knew about Polaroid emulsion transfers, and poof, bon voyage, I set sail into parts unknown…

Subscribe to start your collection of the world’s best flyfishing publication


The FlyFish Journal Mailing List

We respect your time, and only send you the occasional update.