Photo essay: Travel by Polaroid Portraits from Peru

Photo essay: Travel by Polaroid Portraits from Peru

I love polaroid photography! Polaroid photography requires you to think about your shot (you basically only got one) and you have an everlasting memory on paper (instead of on your computer). However, most importantly it’s fun and starts conversations!

Polaroid portraits from Peru

During a recent trip to Peru I brought my polaroid camera with me and took and gave away polaroid photo’s. This often led to unexpected, unique and memorable encounters. It was much appreciated that we gave a portrait back instead of just taking a portrait. Often people insisted on giving a small gift back varying from a cup of tea, a key-chain or a homemade cake. Of some people I also took a photo with my DSLR together with their polaroid photo for the Travel By Polaroid initiative and a few of these photo’s can be found here.

Ernesto, the cop who loves his job 

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The shy girl in Pisac 

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Vince, the kind museum guard who helped us rescue a pigeon 

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Young taxi driver Julio who drove us to the Bolivian border 

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Luz and Lisandro from Juli, who helped us found our way around Lake Titicaca

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Nicolas and Alejandra of the souvenir stall where I bought a small beautiful backpack 

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Inka cola and friends (and free tea for us after the photo ;))

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The beautiful pink market ladies 

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Video about the magic of giving away a polaroid in Mongolia

The polaroid camera

Yes, it’s a huge thing to carry around, but I still love my Fujifilm Instax 210 Polaroid Camera. The polaroid photo’s of the Instax 210 are of good size (99 mm x 62 mm), have space for a nice caption and are of good quality. The camera itself has a comfortable grip on the right side, flash and a close-up lens. The disadvantage of the camera is its size (both your DSLR and polaroid camera in a daypack is quite a lot), the vulnerability (the camera is made of plastic) and the automated flash (which you cannot turn off). Still, because of the size of the polaroid photo’s it is still my number one choice for traveling. The Instax 210 is about 60 USD. Read the full review here. 

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Travel by Polaroid

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These photo’s were taken for the ‘Travel by Polaroid‘ website. This inspiring website -founded by world travelers Grietje Evenwel and Izabel Kapteyn- encourages people to take polaroid photo’s while traveling. On their website you can find polaroid photo’s and the accompanying stories from all over the world from Botswana and Indonesia tot the USA and Colombia.

Taking polaroid photos is fun and rewarding, because:

1. You can give something back to the local community ‘Not only do you take a memory home, you also leave one behind’.

2. Giving away a polaroid often ends in special encounters ‘No more nameless portraits anymore’

3. The appearance of the polaroid on the photo paper remains something magical and brings wonder and joy to people

4. Taking a polaroid photo’s is something you do with great consideration (not from anyone, not always).

Travel by Polaroid’s answer on ‘Why you should travel by polaroid?’:

BECAUSE WE HOPE THE QUESTION:
Can I take your picture ?

MAY BE FOLLOWED BY:
And can I give it back ?

What do you think? Will you take a polaroid camera with you on your next trip? 

Meet 'travel mastermind' Manouk: a 29-year-old sassy girl from Rotterdam, the Netherlands. With BoB she inspires you to explore the world, meet the unexpected and follow your dreams. Happy travels!

14 COMMENTS

  1. They still make polaroids and polaroid film? I thought the company had gone out of business. Dang… this brings back childhood memories :) loved those insta-photos that just popped out like that. Makes me smile reading your post.

  2. They still do Rashad! They even got all kinds of sizes and styles of polaroid camera’s! If you love the insta-look I would definitely recommend to take a camera with you on your travels some day :)!

  3. Ik vind dit echt een heel mooi iets ❤. Wil al een hele tijd weer een polaroid camera en ik kan geen betere reden meer bedenken om er linea recta één te gaan halen nu. De ontmoetingen in het artikel zijn zo mooi!

  4. I loved this photo essay! Really enjoyed all the captions that went with each photo too. I’d be interested to hear the story about saving the pigeon :)

    • Hi Bryna! We were in Arequipa and there was a sick (dying?) pigeon on the sidewalk. All people just walked around it (which really stressed the poor bird out). Together with the Vince, we brought the pigeon to the monastery nearby where it could rest in the grass of their garden. So, it was a semi-saving action. We at least we’re able to save it from the busy sidewalk!

  5. This is awesome! We love taking photos of kids and showing them on our LCD screens but this takes it to another level! One time we printed a bunch of photos and gave them out to a group of kids we’d gotten to know in Mexico. The photos of the people with the polaroids are beautiful!

  6. Wat een tof idee, en ook nog eens mooi uitgevoerd. Prachtige foto’s zitten erbij, erg leuk! En Peru is ook nog eens één van mijn favoriete bestemmingen…

    • Hi Sheelagh! Dank, de eer gaat natuurlijk met name naar de dames van Travel By Polaroid! Misschien ook iets voor jou :)?

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