Nordland in Polaroid

During our time spent exploring northern Norway in search of the Midnight Sun - in between navigating our tiny car around the fjords and constantly running for shelter from the never ending rain and hail, we shot through two cartridges of instant film on a vintage Polaroid OneStep we purchased off Gumtree the week before we left home.

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We were unsure if it was worth bringing our new belonging with us on this trip as the only two test photographs we shot on the drive home were hardly promising. The photographs were completely over exposed despite having the camera set on the fastest setting and the rollers that help pull the photograph off the cartridge had a bad habit of creasing the images. We had envisioned some photographs we wanted to take on this trip and with some convenient extra weight left over in our checked baggage this potentially average camera, despite its shortcomings, had found free passage to Norway. 

The constantly cold weather above the Arctic Circle seemed to help mitigate all of the downfalls of the camera that we had discovered in Australia. The crispy atmosphere significantly slowed the chemical process down of the developing film and also helped create the wonderful cold feels that resonate throughout all of the images below. It’s a nice thing to see how a place can leave a tangible finger print on an analogue medium. 

Polaroids have become quite expensive and due to finite amount of photographs contained in each film pack, we began to become strategic with how we would shoot them. Of the last three images left, we shot two atop Måtinden during our final night in the Arctic Circle, as we stood in awe bathed in the golden beams of the Midnight Sun. As much as we could have shot one more on that vista, the final polaroid was put aside for a perfect Kanelsnurr. This pastry had become part of a daily ritual during our trip so there could be no better ending to our trip than to immortalise a good cinnamon knot on some moody polaroid film. 

Of all the kanelsnurrer we consumed, our favourite was baked by the sourdough gods at Handwerk in Oslo. On our way to the airport, we stopped off and purchased some coffee and pastries and decided to fulfil our destiny and immortalise this all important moment - but just like those failed first images we shot in Australia, the photograph of this beautiful treat did not work out at all either in the warmer climes. Since this trip, we have optimistically taken the camera on several more trips but the images never come out as atmospheric as they did in Nordland which leaves us with an ever deepening fondness for the photographs below. 

We hope you enjoy this Polaroidic essay of our time spent exploring Norway’s beautiful Arctic archipelagos, albeit minus a portrait of a kanelsnurr.