On December 21, 2022 I headed out of Nashville on I-40 towards Camarillo, CA for the holidays. I barely outran the “bomb cyclone” storm just past Oklahoma City and had pretty good weather for the next 2 weeks.
I brought a few cameras, but the wildcard was my mom’s Polaroid 600. She was an elementary school teacher from the 1960s thru the beginning of the 2000s and she used her Polaroid to take pictures for the bulletin board of the spelling bee winners, high math score students, or Halloween costumes and special events. I’d had this camera for at least 10 years and had never used it.
Before the trip, I bought a “roll” (8 sheets) of Polaroid 600 film, did no testing, and hit the road. I crisscrossed the old Route 66 multiple times, and there were so many Polaroid-friendly photo ops on the Route that it became a real challenge to figure out what to shoot with no re-takes and no clear idea of what cool stuff may come later.
Tucumcari, NM: This is possibly the coolest town on Route 66. This motel is, I believe, currently operating.
Cadillac Ranch, Texas Panhandle: Cadillac Ranch is an iconic stop. Some guy buried Cadillacs in the desert years ago, and now, people apparently think it’s appropriate to spray paint bright colors on these classic cars.
Teepee Curios – Tucumcari, NM: This is the side wall of an awesome souvenir shop on Route 66. As stated above, Tucumcari is a quintessential Route 66 town.
Grand Canyon, South rim, AZ: No camera can truly capture the experience of standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon. In a strange way, I feel like the Polaroid did about as good a job as any,
Prada – Marfa, TX: This was a wacky sideshow on the way back East. Marfa, TX has some interesting artistic sights. This is a standalone building about 20-30 miles outside of Marfa that was set up as an art installation in the early 2000s and displays the 2005 Prada collection. It’s a quick stop, not a whole lot to see, but well worth it, in my opinion.
All in all, a great trip and an amazing test of discipline with only 8 exposures to shoot in something like 4000 miles. I had other cameras and shot plenty of other images, but this is what I got (except for a few throwaways) from my trip. Random, spontaneous, and uneditable. Perfect.
Share your knowledge, story or project
The transfer of knowledge across the film photography community is the heart of EMULSIVE. You can add your support by contributing your thoughts, work, experiences and ideas to inspire the hundreds of thousands of people who read these pages each month. Check out the submission guide here.
If you like what you're reading you can also help this passion project by heading over to the EMULSIVE Patreon page and contributing as little as a dollar a month. There's also print and apparel over at Society 6, currently showcasing over two dozen t-shirt designs and over a dozen unique photographs available for purchase.