Friday, February 22, 2013

Say "Cheese"


As headlined here, yesterday was the 66th anniversary of Edwin Land demonstrating the first instant camera - the Polaroid Land Camera - an invention that was significant in the lives of many femulators in the second half of the 20th Century.

A joke: How many femulators does it take to change a light bulb?

Punch line: Three. One to climb the ladder to change the light bulb, one to hold the ladder, and one to take photos of the event.

Before Polaroid, in order to see the photos of the changing of the light bulb, you had to take the film somewhere to be developed, such as a camera store, drug store, etc. These establishments were just middle-men and sent the film out to a photo lab to be developed, but you had to wonder, did Mr. Gower take a peek at the photos when they arrived back from the lab? Did he see you and your "girlfriends" changing that light bulb in all your feminine glory?

You never knew and that lack of knowledge dissuaded many girls from taking photos of their femulations unless they had their own darkroom. (I know of one instance where a femulator built and equipped a darkroom just so she could avoid having her "pretty photos" developed by strangers.)

The Polaroid camera changed all that.

For example, the only photos of my earliest days of femulating were from my first Halloween outing en femme. I did not dare take any photos of my deep-in-the-closet femulations until I obtained a Polaroid SX-70 camera. The camera did not have a self-timer, so I rigged up a mechanical remote control in order to take "pretty pictures" of myself.

And despite their expense, I took a lot of pretty Polaroids. But sadly, many were lost in "The Great Purge of 1983."

And so it goes.


  1. All of your points about photos and femulators are valid. I say that as someone of whom there are fewer than 5 known femulation photos ever taken.
    I think that I have read your entire blog and I do not recall reading about 'The Great Purge of 1983'. Let me know if I have missed something, or, if you have not written about that event let us know why.

  2. Stana,

    I really like your cute Polaroid picture.

    I had an SX-70, too. The pictures were ok, but film was so expensive.

    I took a few pictures of myself femulating in the late 70s. I did not use my Polaroid for those. Wish I still had those. I was much more slender then. When the pictures came back from the drug store, I removed the Linda pictures before showing the others to my then girlfriend. For some reason, she looked at the negatives and wondered why the drugstore had included negatives of some young woman when they gave me my pictures.

    Reading that last paragraph reminds me that, for many people a bit younger than us, "getting pictures back from the drug store" or "having negatives" is as foreign a concept as starting a car with a crank.

    I liked your reference to Mr. Gower. I think your audience skews a bit older so most of us probably got it, but I wonder how many didn't.

    I, along with many of us, have gone through several purges, great and small. You seem so confident and at ease with yourself that it's difficult for me to understand that you went through a great purge in '83. Like Pat, I'd also be interested in the story if you're comfortable with telling us about it.


  3. As always very graceful and feminine in all your pictures stana!

  4. First--- What awesome legs girl!!!!

    Yes I too use the instant polariod to take my first pics.

    What a horrible picture it was,

  5. I took Polaroid photos with a black and white film. One photo I sent to a "transvestite" newspaper possibly "Femanine" published by Tania Volen, Inc Tennent, NJ about 1991? The photo I sent was published in the newspaper. Of course like Stana a copy of the newspaper and other photos of me dressed went out in a purge. Found a copy of "Femanine" Vol. 2, No. 11 on eBay for $5.00 but that one was not the issue with my photo. Also another crossdresser magazine Alicia's TV Girl Talk, Vol. 4 No. 2, published by A.M.L Ent. Montclair, CA 1992 era also on eBay for $5.00 and have them in my collection.

  6. Adding more about the Polaroid camera. I purchased a timing device at a camera shop made for Polaroid cameras. The device was spring mechanized and could set the time from 10 seconds to one minute. The device snapped on top of the shutter release button. There was a small pin that pressed on the button of the shutter release when the time setting ended. The flash attachment used large flash bulb lamps and used three "C" cell batteries I believe. I eventually sold the camera to a collector some years ago for $10.00.

  7. I had a polaroid, but before that, when I was in high school (in the late 1600s, I think) I had a decent SLR with a built-in timer and a darkroom. Somewhere, even if the prints got purged, I still have the b&w negatives.

    One of my first excursions into "I don't care what others think" was to bring film to the camera store.