For a long time, I’ve wanted to try Polaroid. I should say “again”; I’m sure that I must have used a polaroid as a kid. Thanks to LoFiCo, I now have one. A basic rainbow-emblazoned point and shoot SX-70.
As I recall, the Polaroid my parents had was the classic OneStep 1000. With it’s mate, a box brownie, in a special cupboard on top of the shoebox with all the important papers. The sound of the Polaroid as it spits out a photo is exactly as I remember it, even if the film is different. The sound reminds me of the smell of those two cameras, and the cupboard with all the important stuff.
If you are reading this blog, then I assume you know that Polaroid instant film is no more. In recent years some ex-employess nabbed some of the Polaroid factory equipment on its way to the scrapyard, got some financial backing and, as the Impossible Project are rediscovering instant film chemistry. Yes, you can buy Polaroid film again, for several different types of Polaroid camera. But it’s not quite the same:
Don’t think I’m selling the film short by showing such a curious image. You can achieve something quite close to “normal” results, especially with their Silve Shade monochrome. But surprises abound, which is something I like a lot.
The prints also evolve. I like to scan them a few minutes after they emerge, when they are still more caterpillar than butterfly. And then, a day or so later, For instance:
This shot was taken with the Impossible PX70. It comes in a few varieties, and this is the default version. It tended to overexpose for me, even with the exposure dial turned to its darkest setting. Others have had different experiences. These cameras are aging, and maybe not all the shutters are firing correctly.
I love the missing section at the top. This seems too be unusual, but I struck it quite a few times, and have seen it occasionally in others’ work.
The WHIRR of the polaroid is so pronounced because the film is run through tight rollers as it ejects. This squeezes liquid developing chemicals out of the pod built in to the bottom border 0 that’s why the bottom border is larger. I cn only assume that the liquid hasn’t reached the top of the emulsion. It may be that the camera does not have enough umph. Or it could be that the emulsion iis missing. Either way, it’s another level of randomenss to spice the composition up.
I’ve experineced my best results wity the PUSH version of the PX-70 film:
See, it’s nearly normal, but not quite! If we use film in this day and age, then isn’t it better to use film that will have a mind of its own, and show us its character? I think it is.
One of the reasons I was always keen to try the new Polaroid film was the dreamy look of the PX-100 Silvre Shade film. I was not disappointed:
By now I think you can tell that I like this stuff. But you should be aware that it is expenive and fussy, and there is a steep learning curve. But it is fun to the point of being addictive.
I’d like to hear what your experiences are wiith the new Polaroid film – or the old stuff. Please continue this discussion, and paste links to your own polaroid work. Do you have any tips? I have a few to share in a future post
I have seven shots left.
(Impossible Project – are you listening. I’m always happy to review your latest batches of film!)