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“PolaCon” Instant Film Photography Convention & Meetup | Bay Area

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Friday, March 13, 2020 - All Day | Cost: FREE*
*All of PolaCon’s day-time programming is free to attend. Some venues will have limited “seats,” but plenty of standing room, so most events will only be open to RSVP’d guests.

Glass Key Photo | 442 Haight St, San Francisco, CA


“PolaCon” Instant Film Photography Convention & Meetup | March 13-15

Join Instant Film Society members and other instant film enthusiasts from across the country in the Bay Area for the first ever PolaCon outside of North Texas.

Since founding PolaCon back in 2015 – as the world’s first 3-day instant film photography convention and meet-up – IFS members have hosted the annual gathering in Dallas & Denton, Texas, on the last weekend of September each year since, but this Spring IFS teamed up with our PolaPals at SF Instant Photo Walk and Glass Key Photo to present #PolaConBayArea (aka PolaCon 4.5, but, well, that won’t work as a hashtag).

For PolaConBayArea, will feature more than 20 instant photography-related events from workshops, demos and sessions (from cyanotype demos to FP negative bleaching to a loft/transfer demo to “Instax in a 4×5” to instant 8x10s and more) with guest speakers and photographers to Saturday’s Zines & Things Swap Meet (bring your photography zines, small prints or other photo-related art to show, share, swap or sell) to an instant film exhibition, as well as film- and camera-specific meet-ups and demos – in addition to four unique PolaWalks in distinctive, picturesque areas led by IFS members from across the U.S.

Highlighted walks include Friday’s sure-to-be unforgettable Neon-at-Night Chinatown PolaWalk through San Francisco’s historic Chinatown, which is the oldest in North America. Saturday morning’s Mission District Murals PolaWalk – the area is a vibrant must-see stop when visiting the Bay Area. Oh, and there’s Sunday’s San Francisco Bay Ferry ride over to Oakland for a Photowalk lead by the East Bay Photo Collective (EBPCO).

  • On Friday and Saturday, we’ll be hosted by Glass Key Photo at 1230 Sutter Street (between Polk and Van Ness in San Francisco)
    Check them out here: glasskeyphoto.com
    and on IG: @glasskeyphoto
  • Saturday’s daytime events, including the Zines & Things Swap Meet, will all be centered around Thee Parkside, a popular venue and watering hole with a backyard and a small stage that hosts bands from indie, folk and country to experimental, punk and metal. So, lots of character that makes a great background for Polaroids. Thee Parkside 1600 17th St, San Francisco, CA 94107 (Visit theeparkside.com for more info on the venue.)
  • On Sunday the 14th, we will take the ferry from San Francisco to Oakland’s’ Jack London Square. We’ll walk from the Oakland Ferry Terminal in a loop through Chinatown and end up at Nido’s Backyard. You’ll see murals and shops and beautiful old-school buildings along the way.

There are two options for you to choose from for the starting point on this walk:

  • Option A: Meet at the San Francisco Ferry Bldg at 1:15 to board the ferry to Oakland.
  • Option B: Meet at the Oakland Ferry Terminal at 1:50

Because IFS is a volunteer-run registered non-profit, and PolaCon is free to attend, PolaCon is not some fancy-pants book-a-room-for-you convention. No, this is more of a “choose your own adventure”-style kind of gathering where IFS members work with venues to host photographers for day-time events, and then attendees plan their travel and find lodging nearby. So, whether you want to crash on a couch at a friend’s place, on a king-size at one of the many hotels or nab a unique AirBnB, make your arrangements soon as the closer to Spring Break, the fewer options will be available nearby.

UPDATE: Yes, this event was confirmed as still happening (as of 3/12 at 9:20 pm). Things may change rapidly, so please check the website to confirm should you choose to go out. This event may be canceled or postponed at any time without any notice.

Please follow the CDC guidelines to help you determine if you’re comfortable attending.

Disclaimer: Please double check event information with the event organizer as events can be canceled, details can change after they are added to our calendar, and errors do occur.


Free / RSVP


Cost: FREE*
*All of PolaCon’s day-time programming is free to attend. Some venues will have limited “seats,” but plenty of standing room, so most events will only be open to RSVP’d guests.
Categories: *Top Pick*, Art & Museums, Walks & Tours
Address: 442 Haight St, San Francisco, CA

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