Why Brett Eldredge Ditched His Smart Phone for a Polaroid Camera to Make More Honest Memories

Brett Eldredge; Photo by Greg Noire
Brett Eldredge; Photo by Greg Noire
Brett Eldredge; Photo by Greg Noire

Over the past year or so, fans who keep tabs on Brett Eldredge’s social media presence have doubtless noticed some big changes. For starters, the singer went dark at the beginning of 2019, explaining that he was stepping away from social media to get back in touch with himself and his artistry in order to create the music that would become his forthcoming album, Sunday Drive.

When he returned, though, Eldredge’s Instagram offerings began following a curious new trend: Instead of posting conventional snapshots, the singer was uploading photos of physical Polaroids.

Documenting his life on tour, special moments with friends and even a trip to an Australian zoo, Eldredge began leaning heavily into the use of his Polaroid camera in order to create memories. That choice was no accident, the singer reveals.

“There’s a lot of meaning behind the Polaroids,” Eldredge explained during a recent virtual roundtable, as the singer discussed the batch of new music that he’s been working on over the past year.

“I have been guilty, and I think a lot of us are, of looking towards the next moment or trying to make every moment perfect. Trying to make it look great, or whatever,” the singer says. “I love the fact of how a Polaroid captures a moment for what it is. I can take 500 photos with my phone, but with a Polaroid, you get one shot.”

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POLAROIDS taught me a lot about living in the moment. With a Polaroid, you capture the beautiful imperfections of life. Maybe you weren't posed right or your hair was all whacked out or someone was in the background looking like they are a zombie eating nachos, whatever it is, you aren't swiping to find the perfect one, you take what you get and that's LIFE. This journey has been fun and really is a huge part of the rawness my music has became over the past year. I will probably forever carry a Polaroid around with me, but it's time to tell a little more of the story. I hope you are ready, because all of this being gone has gotten me very excited to show you somethin that hopefully you've never heard, let's go.

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If you’re going to get technical about it, of course, you could take a long series of Polaroids, he adds with a laugh — but the cameras only come with ten shots, and you’d still have to wait for the 30 seconds it takes each one to develop in between them. More importantly, though, using a Polaroid camera changes the singer’s mindset about documenting the moments he wants to remember.

“It really makes you appreciate the moment, and the imperfections of life that make it beautiful,” he goes on to say. “That’s what I was really going for, if I go into the deeper message of all of this.”

The mindset shift that Eldredge brought to his social media feed was just the beginning, he adds.

“It’s what I was going for in my personal life and my music — embracing those imperfections,” the singer muses. “Maybe you’re not capturing the best pose in the photos. Maybe you’re making a weird face. But it’s real! It’s honest, it’s pure, it’s life.”

Eldredge has said that one of the most difficult challenges of this album-making process was getting comfortable with vulnerability, and taking Polaroids is a literal way to come to terms with his imperfections.

“I learned a lot from Polaroids that way,” he says. “Finding that vulnerability through sharing my life in that way was a really powerful thing. It changed my outlook on how I share my life, as well.”

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