Born in 1986 in Israel, Ariel Shelleg moves like a fish in the water of the visual world. A producer, a director, and an editor of documentaries, television series and music videos among others, he has a counter-time career where the image is everything to him.
His “encounter” with instant photography, according to him, wakes up a passion and a new source of work with the subconscious and the force that exerts in the day to day of the human being.


You have worked in the world of the image from a very small age, tell us a little more about it.
I have, well, though not always as a creator, but being a child actor and a musician for the most of my early life, image making and art has always surrounded me.
Growing up in a family of successful academic and performing musicians made me want to try and pursue a different artistic path. I knew that music will always be there regardless, but I was looking for a visual way to express myself, so, I took a bet and went to a film school. I was 22. Out of all the different arts I’ve experienced at school, and even though I was a film ( as in motion picture ) student. I insisted on being a part of one course in the stills photography department: the dark room man. I waited for these 3 hours a week all week long. That was my outlet. And gradually I found myself spending more and more time there, developing, printing and listening to delta blues music for hours.

During the second year in school, I started a little business: shooting and editing videos for multiple purposes and clients. After a couple of months I made a decision to leave school and within a year my little business became a medium sized production company, creating and producing commercials, documentaries, animation, music videos and much more.

Time passed by and my love for film and stills photography got somehow lost in all this mess and stress of handling an independent business in Israel. I did keep the still muscle going by shooting digital for culture and travel magazines.

A little after the Impossible Project started manufacturing film and refurbished cameras and I had the pleasure to encounter one, sitting in a glass cabinet at my local photography store, this little plastic beauty and a piece of history to me at that time – it absolutely fascinated me.

So naturally, I got it. and a bunch of film. I took a few random shots back home and left it for about a day or two in a drawer. When I opened it later, BAM! the chemicals smell hit me and sent me straight back to my favorite place on earth: the dark room.

Texts are great, but to me, a picture should evoke emotion before thought so i believe it should always be
an interesting and beautiful thing to look at first.

I specifically remember looking at the pictures and thinking to myself how amazing it is to have this instant thing that produces reality the way i see it without me having to f*** with it. And how beautiful it is that you simply cannot f*** with it: a perfect match.

Finally a visual medium where you have to be fully present at the time of taking the photo and not in the post process.

I read everything I could find about Polaroid and PackFilm ( which I discovered while reading about Polaroid history ) and within two weeks I already had an SX-70 and a land camera 250.
I shot everything that moves for about a month, until I realized the film costs and rarity.

With time I acquired different skills and equipment.

My first trials at actual art were self portraits which I continue to do and gradually develop. Shortly after, I started shooting women, some of them were models, some friends and some lovers. Sometimes I direct a scene, an idea or a feeling.

Sometimes it’s a random stop for a snapshot turning to be a lot more. Nevertheless, I take a camera everywhere I go.

I use my music video sets as a playground for Polaroid.

Whatever it is, it is always real. It always represents a personal moment, sometimes even private.
A moment to remember and that can never be reproduced. It’s the story of my life in pictures, and I try to make it as beautiful and as communicative and relatable as possible, no matter how sad it can get.

Texts are great, but to me, a picture should evoke emotion before thought so i believe it should always be
an interesting and beautiful thing to look at first.

How does photography influence your everyday creative process in other areas of the visual world in which you work in?
Even though the basics of almost everything I do starts with writing a script or creative content for production development, I constantly visualize everything while doing so. Everything I do starts with an image. So even when I write, I basically translate an image that I have in my mind into words on paper, later to become an image again in one way or another.

Describe your creative process a bit from when you start with an idea and visually process it, resulting with a snapshot.
There are many scenarios that can move me to create. Music and sounds in general is my favorite. It is my home base.
One of the most basic scenarios for creating is my state of being at a given moment, where I simply shoot what i feel and by doing so, I address the matter that I capture in that moment.
One of the most interesting things is that even when I carefully plan a scene and a location using a model or myself, I usually find myself drifting form the original concept and framing, letting myself tap into the moment.
Especially while using expired films – I tend to think of my ideas as a guide to start with and I work with the film from there. I take a first shot to see that I got the meter right and to understand what film I’m working with today.

Expired film is a living breathing thing that carries memories of a journey in time and places and thus has its own unique characteristics to consider each time.

How could you describe your characteristic photographic style?
Romantic with a hint of disturbing.

How do you see the future of instant photography?
The Polaroid community is getting bigger by the day.

Polaroid Originals are growing, along with world wide exhibitions and general awareness and interest in instant photography everywhere in social media.

And having Doc and the amazing superheroes at SuperSense completing their SAVEPACKFILM campaign just recently – I would say it couldn’t look any brighter.

To transcend or to transgress?
To transgress in order to transcend.

What do your photos smell like?
Pure love.
Unless they’re expired, that sh*t really stinks, but in the best way possible.