Summer of 1972, I got to go to a science summer camp like thing.

Genuine Polaroid Picture

That promising young lad? That’s me, age 11.

That’s a scan of a real Polaroid instant picture, apparently taken on a Big Swinger 3000.

My friend John’s father was a science education teacher at what was then Northeast Missouri State University. Now, it’s Truman State.

If I recall correctly, it wasn’t really a science summer camp, but rather a seminar on teaching elementary school science, held for elementary school teachers. John’s father needed some pupils for the teachers to try pedagogy on, so he rounded up some kids who were likely to not cause trouble.

One of the things we did was take some pictures with Polaroid cameras. Somehow, John and I figured out that the camera mechanism allowed double exposures. So we exploited it. We put a piece of tape over the bottom half of the lens, took a picture, moved the tape to the top half of the lens, then took another picture. You can see the results, marvelous!


My friend John scrounged up this picture, probably from the same faraway summer of 1972:

John Settlage and friend with polaroid camera

That’s clearly a Big Swinger camera of some model.

Originally, I had written that we used an SX-70 camera to take the double exposures, but that can’t be true, as an SX-70 ejects the film mechanically after each exposure. The Big Swinger 3000 does not, so we could do multiple exposures per negative. A Big Swinger 3000 also produces images of the proper size, 3.25 by 4.25 inches, same as the ancient print I imaged above.

Thanks, John! You’ve stayed golden all these years.