If there’s one thing we love around here—oh, besides candy and shoes and stickers—it’s models. Specifically off-duty ones. So, when we stumbled across fashion photographer Rob Oades’ side project of candid model Polaroids, our hearts went boom. The photos, lovingly or jokingly scribbled-upon by each of the girls, are cute, fun and ultimately super revelatory of each of their personalities. We caught up with Oades to talk personal connections, destroying an image, and what the f@$% to do with all these photos!
This is quite a collection! How long did it take you to amass so many Polaroids? Any idea how many different shoots and locations are represented here?
These are just a selection of a greater amount I still have locked away that I have collected over about four years. If I am honest, I have no idea on the amount of shoots or locations, but it’s a big box.
What prompted you to start taking and saving the photos? Was it a conscious idea to create a photo series or did the project evolve organically?
It started from castings. Then as I started to travel, I just started to take them on set. From then on, every time I could, I’d take the Polaroid and then let them do what they wanted to it.
What are some of your favorites from the series and why?
My favorite images are the ones that I have a personal connection with. Sometimes I would shoot the same model on several different outings, which meant I built up a personal friendship with them. Some are now good friends. Others I like are when they just go with the mood of the shoot. I found the bigger the personality, the more they play with the photo.
Did you use prompts or leave the doodling open-ended?
I never prompted, I just let them do what they wanted and left them to it. I also never showed them other models Polaroids, as I wouldn’t want them affected by others’ ideas. Originally, I just let them sign them but when they started little drawings of faces I think it shows their personality—even if they almost destroy the image.
Will you continue adding to the collection? What do you plan to do with it? Show it—published it?
I am still adding to it at every opportunity and as long as I’m still taking photos, I don’t see it finishing any time soon. I think the beauty of the project is that I don’t hold a famous model above a new face; all the pictures are equal to me. I’d like to display them at some point along side each other. Maybe one day they will be published but I have a lot of collecting and shooting to do before then.