Out of his personal interest in found photos and family albums, for several years now Canadian visual sociologist Kyler Zeleny has been collecting found Polaroids from flea markets, thrift shops and, more recently, eBay – to this day, he has amassed a very unique and special archive of over 6,000 images. His original intent was to give the images back to their owners; but having succeeded in only three cases, he had to throw in the towel. But he decided to put the images to a creative use, instead.
Earlier this summer, Found Polaroids was launched. It’s an online platform where you can browse through a curated selection of more than a 100 Polaroids from Kyler’s archive. Besides looking at the pictures, Kyler invites everyone to submit a short story, no longer than 250-350 words each, inspired by any one of the images on the site: “If one of these images features yourself or someone that you know, please contact us. We would like to hear your story and reunite you with your lost photographs. However, if these images do not belong to you, and you do not know the individuals featured in them, we would like to invite you to write a story creating a new meaning and ultimately altering our understanding of their context, one that moves beyond the surface level“.
Several stories have already been published – if you’d like to contribute one, head over to the site for details on the submission process.