For photographer Jonathon Stout, a.k.a. BadJon, the essence of Charleston can be captured through the city’s creative figures who frequently work behind the scenes. His new exhibit at the Revealed Gallery, Meet the Makers: A Black & White Polaroid Series, opening this Friday showcases 50 local makers — painters, woodworkers, tattoo artists, chefs, and restaurateurs, among others — in their everyday environment.

“I wanted to go and capture creative people and people who inspire me to work on my craft, get a picture of them in their surroundings or with something that inspires them while they’re working,” says Stout, who found his subjects, including Rodney Scott of Rodney Scott BBQ, Shuai Wang of Short Grain, BJ Stadelman of Haegur plant shop, and Betsy Butler of The Gilded Mermaid Tattoo, through personal friendships and word-of-mouth references.

Stout first picked up a film camera in the early 2000s on a whim, serving as a photographer for what he describes as “DIY music shows and hard-rock concerts” around town. Soon after, friends were asking him to take photos. Fast forward to around 2013, and the ubiquity of digital cameras and iPhones led Stout to take an unconventional approach to his photography to better connect with the art form and produce images that would differentiate his work.

“There are so many people out there with iPhones and digital cameras,” Stout says. “I’ve always wanted to be unique and do something that no one’s done before, that hasn’t been shot before.”

So he returned to shooting film, but not just any film — Fujifilm FP-3000B Polaroid film, to be exact. Stout uses a fully manual Polaroid 600SE camera, which allows him more creative control, because unlike many Polaroids that only have a dial to adjust brightness, Stout’s camera model allows him to control the aperture and shutter speed.

Soon after procuring his new camera and film, Stout began photographing 3×4 black-and-white Polaroid print portraits of Charleston residents. The final series of 120 photographs was presented in a 2017 exhibit at the Redux Gallery.

Meet the Makers builds on Stout’s desire to showcase “the faces of Charleston” while also preserving the vanishing art of old-school Polaroid photography. There’s just one snag in his creative endeavor: He’s starting to run low on film.

Fujifilm’s FP-3000B Polaroid film was discontinued by the company in 2013, and as supply has diminished, demand and therefore prices have subsequently skyrocketed. When Stout first became interested in shooting black-and-white Polaroids, he connected with an online seller who offered him a reasonable deal for several packs of the rare FP-3000B film.

Because all the film available on the market is now expired, Stout stores his supply in a refrigerator in order to preserve the chemicals so that it remains usable. He is now down to two boxes, which he says he will likely use for his upcoming show and a future project.

Stout says he’s been lucky to obtain the FP-3000B film over the years, but the cost can be prohibitive. “You’re looking at $100 for 10 photos. It’s insane how much the film costs,” he says, adding that he recently saw an eBay listing for 38 packs priced at $3,200.

Despite these obstacles, Stout doesn’t plan to abandon his beloved Polaroid kit anytime soon to return to digital or even traditional film photography. “If I shot regular film, it’d take time to process it and see how the results turned out,” he says. “With this, I have an instant picture.”

But that quick gratification of producing a quality image within minutes isn’t the only reason why Stout remains committed to Polaroid photography. The expense and scarcity of the film have required Stout to adopt a more meticulous approach to his creative process and pay close attention to every element of a photo. Focusing on these details in the moment has helped him further hone his craft, he says. Because unlike shooting digital, in which the photographer can take several shots and then narrow it down to his favorite, Stout essentially has one chance to achieve his desired result.

“With Polaroid not being digital, you have to sit down and frame it and really think about your shot,” Stout says. “It makes me slow down while taking photos. You’ve got to know what you’re doing.”