The Gentle Giant

Today, I got another once in a lifetime opportunity, courtesy of Hallmark! I worked with a 20×24” Polaroid camera! There are only six of these cameras in the world and Polaroid is on the verge of discontinuing the film! It was yet another fun and amazing experience!

The only thing I could think of to photograph was my family but the exposures with the view camera are often long and it requires a vast amount of light so it is difficult to photograph small children with. The sheer size of it is enough to intimidate an adult, let alone a child! My children thought it was just as neat as I did and we managed to get two images with all of us looking and smiling! We could feel the heat rush coming at it as the wall of lights went off! We now have a rather unique and very large family portrait that few people in the world have!

One rather amusing tidbit we discovered this afternoon is that my children have no idea what “film” is! They think every camera has a little screen on back to view the image on! It was fun to watch them see the Polaroid process and their delight in seeing the “film” was great! Isn’t it amazing how far the world has come in the past few years? My seven year old does not know what film is and if she has a question she can’t answer, she automatically suggests we google it and find the answer on the internet!

The passing of one era, this beast of a camera will soon become a distant memory in the photography world and I for one find it quite sad. I am hoping this week to get another chance to work with it, only I want to try a still life with it! A two foot pear would be a rather interesting piece of artwork to put in our home!

The 20 x24 inch “portable” view camera:

The gentle giant, Dragon Hare Studios

Jorah stands with the view camera behind her:

Scale, Dragon Hare Studios

The wall of lights used to light our family picture – 3 separate 2400 w/s packs!


My instructors process the Polaroid by matching the negative in the upper chamber with the positive in the lower chamber. Hanging down would be the equivalent of what used to pop out the front of a little Polaroid camera.

Developing, Dragon Hare Studios

The image on the positive, Jorah and Kadin were fascinated by the process!

Magic, Dragon Hare Studios!

I Did It!!!

Today was my portfolio review and my final portfolio passed! I am so happy and relieved at the same time!

As the day wore on, I started to become more and more nervous. My daughter had begged me to come to my review because she really wanted to hear what they would say about my portraits. We talked to her about how she’d have to sit really still for a long time and her teacher even gave her a “practice” session that morning at school! Brian went to go and pick her up at lunch time and when they returned, they brought with them flowers and balloons! My heart melted and my nerves were steadied then! My seven year old daughter became my rock! She held my hand and snuggled up to me all afternoon behaving like a perfect angel, and when I heard those wonderful words of “portfolio accepted”, she brought me her flowers and said “I love you Mommy”! My gosh, she made me cry! The only thing missing from the event were my youngest two children but I knew there was no way they could have made it through the afternoon! This really was a family effort. My husband and my children were definately my biggest cheerleaders and supporters, as well as my most favorite models!

I had a fellow classmate, Chaz Cruz, photograph my review. It was fun to look back at them because I remember so little of the actual critique. I just remember hearing “Kimberly, portfolio accepted”

After being called to the stage, we wait to hear if my work is accepted:

Upon hearing the word “accepted”, I turn to Bri….


for a giant hug, Jorah jumps up to hug me too…
a mommy pile

Jorah then ran off the stage and brought her flowers to me. It melted my heart and the tears started…..
flowers for mommy

Pauline started the review with going over each of my images giving me suggestions for improvement…..

Pauline reviews

And here, Bobbi continued the critique after stopping to tell us that Jorah had made her cry too!


The panelists who are reviewing my portfolio are Bobbi Lane, Pauline St. Denis and David Silver. Bobbi and Pauline both spoke at Hallmark during the guest speaker series so it has been nice to see them both again.

The reviewers gave me some great positive feedback! It was a wonderful feeling to walk off the stage knowing that after all of the worries, hurdles, sacrifices and stress, I had really done it! My portfolio passed and I will graduate from Hallmark Insitute of Photography! Let the next chapter of our lives begin!

May 20, 2010 - 8:11 pm

Cody - Thanks for documenting the experience! I’m a prospective student who is reading through as many blogs of current and past students that I can find. This is great.

Also, wanted to bring your attention to the “i-did-it” entry – the photos have somehow gone missing… Thought you should know.


Making the Impossible….Possible

A year ago, I had a dream of becoming a professional photographer. It seemed like a distant dream to a stay at home mom of three young children. Out of sheer frustration, maybe even desperation, I applied to Hallmark and was accepted into the program within a week. I was shocked and still believed it impossible but my husband encouraged me to take a chance.

It is funny how when you want something bad enough, life just falls into place. Before I knew it, we had given up our home, our furniture, our family and friends and moved to Massachusetts where my children entered daycare for the first time in their lives. It was a huge adjustment for all of us but Hallmark Institute of Photography proved worth the sacrifice.

From the moment I walked in to the first day of school, I loved it. Finally I was learning all of things I hungered to learn! Not only that, but I was surrounded by staff and students that were just as passionate about photography as I was! For the first time in my life, I was living and breathing photography. To this day, I still can’t wipe the smile off my face! I cannot get enough of photography!

And now, a year after my husband encouraged me to go after the impossible dream that I wanted so much, I am handing in my final portfolio at Hallmark Institute of Photography! As I turn in my portfolio, my “team” of my husband and children will be by my side. They are my greatest pride and joy.

To all of my models, thank you for your time and trust. I truly enjoyed meeting each of you. And to my first client, Jane, who lead me to the most rewarding job I have ever had, thank you for your encouragement, praise and smile.

Click the link below to view my final portfolio, it appears in the order it will be presented at my portfolio review in early June.

Kim’s Final Portfolio