we are stardust by Flavia Dima

we are stardust

Period: March 2014 – August 2016.

Place: The flat I rented in Cluj-Napoca.

Camera: Polaroid 600.

Film: combination between vintage Polaroid film stock and Impossible Project.

Exhibited at: Reactor de Creație și Experiment (Cluj-Napoca) and Tipografia (Brașov), as part of a booklauch dedicated to Mesaje din Cluj (graphic novel; co-authored with Vlad Forsea),

 

I started taking these photographs during my second year of college. I had an old, dusty Polaroid camera which I had gotten as a gift from some relatives living in America, back when I was a teen. However, it was just then that the Polaroid factory had closed down, so it was nigh-impossible for me to obtain film stock – I had two packs which were seemingly produced somewhere in the 80s or 90s. Thinking I’d put it to better use sometime later (even though the concept of instant photography was mesmerizing), I left the camera untouched for almost five years.

 

Back to 2014. I was witnessing how people around me were starting to shoot pictures on film, which reminded me of my Polaroid camera. I have to admit that the very first two or three pictures I took were more of a gimmick – I wanted to have a keepsake of a specific moment, and since I didn’t have a way to obtain film stock yet so I didn’t take my camera out of the house.

 

At some point after those first couple of picture, the idea of the project started shaping in my mind. I was studying journalism at the time, so questions about mediums and mediality were popping up in my head all the time – I was growing increasingly dissatisfied with digital photography and the fact that the vast majority of images it was producing were dispensable, that a shot could be taken countless times and then the best one would be chosen. I searched for something that was essentially imperfect and naive, something at which you had an only shot to arrive to and that would be it – and Polaroid offered me exactly that.

From that moment onward, I made a point of taking pictures of most people who passed through my house during those years, knowing that I was passing through a very, let’s say, un-permanent period of my life. Everything was a subject to change, everything seemed fragile and temporary – contrasting this with the fact that I was producing an instant of those moments which would oftentimes prove more resilient as an object in itself, rather than the circumstance it was depicting.

These pictures are of people that at one point I was closer than in others, people just passing through, people who would end up changing my life & perspective of it, who would enrich my life with countless new experiences (and then disappear). There’s ex-boyfriends, exes of my friends, people who moved in an out of the apartment, old friends, people from other towns and parents, or the odd self-portraits in here. They are not in any sense picture-perfect, the compositions are sometimes conventional or outright faulty, but the story of each picture and, above all, their atmosphere is what interests me. The title of the series is inspired by a song called „Woodstock”, by Joni Mitchell.

 

 

My future plans include a series of pictures of the some of the most important women which are a part of my life, which I hope to complete until summertime. I’d also like to manufacture a Rubix cube whose sides would be composed of Polaroids, maybe.

 

– Flavia Dima

 

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