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Being Square at the Burn: An adventure with an Instax
What happens when you mix the Burn vibes with the Instax square Link printer? Eveline Gerritsen spent some time in the ‘Binnekring’ snapping some pics, printing them out and gifting them to strangers.
Last month, I was packing my bags to join many creative souls from all over the world to celebrate life during the the Burn festival. The festival takes place in the Karoo but is also known as the wonderland of Tankwa Town. For those who don’t know, the Burn is a seven-day festival where art, music, and self-expression collide into one unforgettable experience.
In my backpack, I was carrying the Fujifilm Instax square Link portable printer, an amazing instant printer that I brought along for the ride. I believe the Instax square Link is a game-changer in the world of phone photography and instant printing. The Burn is already heaven for photographers because everywhere you go you see breathtaking art pieces or someone walking around in a beautiful outfit. During the night, the desert turns into a completely different world, with extraordinary light installations and art cars with the best sound systems.
The festival is all about self-reliance and a gift community, which is incredible for me as a creative person who carries around a very compact portable printer. So, my mission was to create stunning little physical photos that I could hand out as a gift to people that I met during the festival. And believe me, that was a very big success!
The Instax square Link is a well-priced little photo printer that uses the square-sized Instax format, taking a few minutes for the photo to develop after printing.
It’s similar to other Instax cameras, but with this one you print images from your phone. To get started, you need to download the Instax app on your phone. I did that at home already because at the Burn there is zero connection or Wi-Fi. However, that wasn’t a problem when using the printer, since it connects to your phone through Bluetooth.
From the app’s basic Simple Print mode, you can access your phone’s camera roll and pick the photo to print. You can add text and stickers to prints, and there’s the usual suite of tools to rotate, reposition and scale the image to fit the frame. You can also tweak colour and brightness or add a filter. The cool thing is that you can buy cartridges with various colour frames. The same image looks completely different when you print it on a black or a white frame.
Within the Binnekring
The ‘Binnekring’ is the most important road at the Burn and from that side you can walk into the desert to see all the stunning art pieces, the crazy mutant vehicles and the bigger art cars. While I was walking among the festival, I was taking a lot of snapshots with my phone. Later at my camp I could select the images I loved, edit and print them with the Instax square Link app and bring the prints with me when I was entering the ‘Binnekring’ again. After I had a meaningful conversation or just a great boogie with someone, I could grab one of the prints and hand them out as a gift.
At night people walk around with beautifully designed, creative and colourful neon light installations on a stick. I loved to take images of those dancing lights in the dark night with the milky way as a backdrop. During the week, I also started to use the Editable Print mode, which is also straightforward. Normally I am not really a photo frame kind of person, but just like at Instagram, I noticed how creative you can get with those frames, and it worked well for the neon light imagery I shot.
At the festival I was playing around with the AR Print, with this setting allowing you to add a doodle, a text or animated flair on and around your image. I wrote little texts for people saying, “You Are Beautiful” or “Soul full of Sunshine”. The image prints with a QR code in one of the corners of the photo. When you scan it, you can see the text come alive. It requires the viewer to download the Instax Square Link app, so unfortunately it didn’t work at the festival since there was no connection to download the app. But this little message will definitely reach them when they get home, and it is still true.
There is also the Instax Connect feature, with which you can send a digital version of an Instax photo to the contacts in your phone. It was fun to send those to my family members in the Netherlands, after I got back from the festival and dusted off my clothes (I brought home extreme amounts of dust.) As a family, we had a lot of fun with it.
Don’t just take, give
Simple as ABC, the Instax square Link portable printer provides everything you need to get printing with very little hassle, which was great for an occasion such as the Burn. The camera’s portable size means it’s amazing for outdoor events, weddings or a birthday. I also think the square prints are perfect and the printing doesn’t take too long.
I really like that it so easily connects with your phone, because I also take a lot of photos with my phone that I would normally never print; we all know images look very different printed compared to a digital version. It was so much fun to shoot magical moments at the ‘Burn and print them as little gifts for my fellow burners. For great nostalgic fun, the Instax square Link Printer is the way to go.