The Bentley Centenary Polaroid Shoot

Behind the scenes at the Bentley Polaroid shoot

The Bentley Centenary Polaroid Collection

The Bentley Centenary Polaroid Collection showcases ten landmark Bentley cars like never before. Capturing the ten iconic cars on the giant 20×24 Polaroid camera has created the most unique Bentley photographic collection ever.

“A Bentley Polaroid is an analogue creation in an increasingly digital world”

Stefan Sielaff, Bentley Motors Director – Design

It would have been easy to shoot ten iconic Bentley cars from a century of grand touring and racing using the latest and finest digital cameras but we at Opus, chose a gigantic bellows camera to take portraits of the cars. The ultimate analogue medium. A Polaroid.

Polaroid built five of the giant cameras in 1976 at the height of instant film popularity. The world’s largest Polaroid cameras were built in the Polaroid workshop to showcase their latest film – the results were spectacular! Originally used to photograph the detail in oil paintings and tapestries, Polaroid then gave the camera to the most noted artists of the era in return for a print to live in the Polaroid archive. Andy Warhol was one such artist to use the camera and soon the camera itself was recognised as a landmark camera in the evolution of photography.

The giant Polaroids created measure 20 x 24 inches. Each has its own unique DNA fingerprint created by the exploding pods at the top of the image that develops the photo. Sadly, with the evolution of cheaper digital photography, the demand for the Polaroid film dwindled and the production of film for the giant camera ceased several years ago. With only a very limited amount of film remaining, the camera is soon to become a museum piece. This makes the Bentley Centenary Polaroid shoot a never to be repeated, one-of-a-kind special event.

Sometimes there is beauty in the unexpected

The analogue approach to the photoshoot was refreshing and unexpected. In modern times we are so used to taking digital photos on SLR cameras or smartphones. The unpredictability of film and chemical errors are lost on a pixel generation that are accustomed to pin sharp, white balanced photos as the norm. During the Bentley Centenary Polaroid Shoot there was a chemical mismatch that resulted in an unusual print that although did not meet our requirements, possessed a charm that reminded us that we were creating art, we hadn’t chosen the easy option and this resonated with everyone who was part of the shoot or visited on the day.