One Take: Portraiture, A Study

In which we gave Little Rock photographer Nancy Nolan a Polaroid, eight frames of film and one take to get the shot.

I WAS THINKING that I was going too far outside the box—like, playing too loose with the rules—but I just couldn’t stop myself. I wanted to break it out a little bit. I used to use Polaroids a lot, because I’m old—but I never did a point-and-shoot thing where you couldn’t control the aperture, you couldn’t stop the flash from flashing. When the camera came, I had to sit down and really think this one through. And then I thought, well, I could do portraits. Portraits is what I want to explore and portraits is what I’m about—but how do I make that, how do I take that and make that interesting without being able to speak through my lighting, speak with my aperture, speak with my focus, my depth of field, all of those things I’m able to manipulate to tell that story I want to tell. And then it hit me: If you’re exploring a subject and you have eight frames to explore, why don’t you cut it up? Why don’t you look at a hand? Look at an arm, look at a waist and put that together? The constraint of the assignment is what sparked that for me.