I first came across Kyler Zeleny earlier this year when I stumbled into his series of squatter pictures from ‘Ready, Set, Squat!!!’ that documented his experience of living with squatters in London over a period of months. Last week he got in touch about his current project called ‘Found Polaroids’, a large all encompassing series – officially launching on 17th July 2015 – that needs collaborators to create alternative fictions out of his found images.
Over the last few years Zeleny has been collecting polaroid images from different places. Over 6,000 images have been collated are are now online and its his hope that people from all over the world will begin submitting flash fiction stories – 250-350 words each – based on one of the images found on the website. The story must be relevant to an event, or based on the life of those in the photo, a story that goes to the heart of the character in the photograph, that somehow defines what we see. It’s a fascinating project if only because photographs have become so ubiquitous in this age of digital technology. We spend our whole lives making up stories and imagining histories associated with images we see online and in print and now we have the chance to articulate it. We can put ourselves into this polaroid universe and create an alternate world, a place that seems archaic despite being relatively recent.
So if you’re interested in getting involved here’s how to do it:
Select an image you feel resonates with you from the ‘home’ page
Write a short story, or a number of stories based on one of the images found on the home page. The story must be relevant to an event, or based on the life of those in the photo—a story essential to the individual’s character, a defining moment—or must explain, beyond what we can observe, is happening in the image.
If an image has previously been written about, please feel free to contribute an additional story. Your story can be entirely divergent, or can be one that builds on a previous submission. In this sense, not only are the images inspiring, but the previous stories become a source for creativity.
The idea is to try and glimpse into the life of this person, who they were, what they did, what motivated them, etc. The short stories should be fictional and should express some intimacy towards the individual in the image. They should be written from the perspective of the individual, a friend or family member, or an impartial observer.
Submit your story on the ‘submit a story’ page. Before submitting, please fill in the name that you would like to appear beneath your story. If you have a personal website to which you would like to refer readers please include that in the appropriate space. We will post your story as soon as possible.
Initially the stories will be shared on our website and through our social media channels. Once an engaging and diverse collection of stories has accumulated, a selection of the submitted stories will be curated into a book to be published by The Velvet Cell.
Following the release of the print publication, our attention will be focused on turning ‘Found Polaroids’ into a travelling multi-media exhibition.
For more information just head over to the website.