Tag Archive for 'instant'

Impossible Film

For my birthday my brother and sister bought me a SX-70 Land Camera. I have a fairly large polaroid camera collection including a one-step SX70, but not the SX70 Land Camera so it was a great addition to my collection. I was really excited to try it out and buy my very first Impossible Film. One thing I learned from Tiffany during her Polaroid Image Transfer class was that when the Impossible Project purchased the last remaining Polaroid Factory to try and save instant film, they only got the building and machinery, but not the chemistry, materials and instructions. Impossible Project had to start from the ground up, with the help of a few previous Polaroid employees, they had to redevelop an instant film of their very own. So Instant film is NOT Polaroid film at all. They’ve had to go through the exact same learning curves that Polaroid had when they first started out, such as light and temperature exposures, etc. How cool is that?

I got my first pack of Impossible film a couple weeks back but have been a bit afraid to take the leap. When you purchase the film they send you many instructions (via email, with your receipt and inside the film box) that there are extra steps compared to your standard old-school polaroid films. Number one being that you need to shield the film as it comes out immediately. They actually sell shields and bags to protect your image from light. I figured I could just rig something up myself and I thought I was pretty clever while patting myself on the back about it. I read reviews where people complained about wasting so many pictures before figuring it all out. I thought “I’m not going to waste ANY pictures.” Haha, yeah right.

first 3 impossible film

Here are my first 3 pictures (L-R in order of taking them). The #1 picture I took was of Bishop (if you look you can see him in there) and it got jammed because of my handmade cover prevented the picture from coming out. I think it was folded in 3 with just a little tab sticking out. I couldn’t get it out and the only way it came out was by taking another picture, wasting #2. #2 even had some chemistry on it that had shot out of the first picture when it jammed. So, I goofed up. I realized I need to not use my homemade cover and just shield the picture the best I can while it comes out. So I tried again. I’m not sure if this is how all of these cameras work, or if it’s just mine (or maybe the film), but apparently when I take a picture it sits for a few seconds and then the picture starts coming out. I wasn’t sure if that meant it was exposing the picture immediately and then delaying the spit out, or if I press the button and then the camera lens is open for seconds at a time? For #3 I took the picture and because I was in such a hurry to protect the image I immediately spun into action, and apparently the camera wasn’t done taking the picture because I got that fun little dotted light blur. Fun, yes, but not what I was aiming for.

4th impossible film
Finally this morning I decided to take a picture with the camera outside in good light. I got the focus just right, took the picture, shielded it and ran inside to develop it in the dark for 40 minutes. The instructions say the most important shield time is for the first 2 seconds, but that it continues to develop for 45 minutes or so, so I kept it in the dark the entire time and this is what I got. I had the focus on the horse’s face really crisp, so I’m not sure if that it is result of my camera’s focus being off, me still rushing it a bit when taking the picture, or the exposure time being long and thus my hand being unsteady for the duration of exposure.

Lesson learned. Everywhere I read, they said Impossible film is a finicky product and takes some time to master and as usual I laughed and blew off warnings, thinking I would be able to handle it. I’m now on picture #5 and I am having fun playing with it. Hopefully by the end of this pack I will have at least a couple pictures that I really like.

Impossible Project has film for several different Polaroid cameras, including 600, which is the pretty standard size camera people had before Polaroid shut down.

One last thing about Impossible film… as long as people keep purchasing, using and supporting their products they will continue to experiment and develop instant film. I had fun supporting Impossible finally and look forward to doing it again in the future.

Fuji Image Transfer

Tiffany Teske is a superstar and has been featured and published in several magazines. One of those publications is Cloth, Paper Scissors and in the Nov/Dec issues from last year she was featured sharing her processes for fuji image transfer. As I explained yesterday, I have long wanted to explore emulsion transfer lifts and signed up for one of her image transfer classes thinking that is what we would learn. Last minute I realize that it wasn’t emulsion transfer after all, but as fate was working on my side, the class ended up touching on emulsion lift (enough to figure it out and do on my own later) AS WELL AS learning an entirely new-to-me technique that I think is a bit more involved and interesting than emulsion transfer, so I really lucked out. BOTH techniques ended up being something that I could do at home on my own, and didn’t even know it before.
polaroid colorpack II land camera
The image transfer and emulsion transfer techniques were something that was originally done with Polaroid films. Not all Polaroid film can do this and that was what prevented me from trying it myself at home. Since Polaroid has stopped production on their instant films, Fuji (and The Impossible Project) have picked up where they left off and started producing many films that can fit in Polaroid cameras. When people think of Polaroid film nowadays, they mostly think of the point and shoot and pop out pictures that develop in your hands, shake it like a Polaroid picture! But these are, for the most part, not the types of film you would use for these techniques. Land Cameras like the one pictured above and below, that take pack peel apart film. Fuji now produces 100 film that will fit Polaroid Land cameras. This is the type of film we used for the class, and can be used for both image transfers as well as emulsion lifts.
It wasn’t until the class that I realized that this camera and the film I had been buying already, would work for the technique I’d been dying to try out. Sometimes when I feel really dumb I picture myself, walking down the sidewalk, whistling a happy tune, joy in my heart but not a brain in my head, when suddenly from out of no where a brick comes flying at me and hits me in the head, wherein a trip to the ground. Finding out that I could do emulsion transfers with a camera and film I already had on hand felt like that. Long ago, after reading up on the emulsion transfer lift process and realizing it was a camera and film I didn’t have access too, I just since imagined it was one of those really obscure things that probably also died with Polaroid.

I’ll quickly describe the techniques, but if you are interested to tack a crack at this yourself I’d encourage you to purchase a back copy of the Cloth, Paper Scissors where Tiffany shares her techniques, or just peruse the internets. There are fabulous tutorials and videos out there now. Yeah, if only I had thought to do that myself in the last 5 years, doh!

For the class we did not use cameras, but instead brought our own developed photographs and then Tiffany introduced this amazing machine called the Daylab Copy System Pro. It allows you to place any image on  a glass flatbed, load the pack film, and with mirrors and a flash, transfer your image onto the pack film. If you had a camera that loaded the pack film then you could do it straight from there. Normally, after an image is transferred to the film you would wait, then pull apart the film and negative/chemical side and find your photograph fully developed. In the image transfer technique you do not allow the film to develop to the photograph, and instead peel them apart immediately and place the negative/chemical side onto a porous surface where you want your image to transfer. For emulsion lift, you use the same exact film, let your pictures develop and soak them in VERY hot water until the “emulsion” with image separates from the backing paper. It is transparent and more plastic and durable as compared to polaroid which was more gel like and would rip and tear easily.
During the class I was able to do about 10 transfers and I would say it is definitely something that takes practice, but is fun. The transfer image is more rugged and rough, so if you are looking for a pristine image this might not be the technique for you. Also, depending on your timing, as well as paper quality and texture, etc., your image can turn up wildly different. I do like a weathered image, but I also realized I had a harder time trying to accept that my images didn’t resemble my original closer. I loved everyone else’s grit, but had a hard time accepting that my own was “good enough”. I think this was because I chose pictures that I had taken and that were somewhat already close to my heart. If I was working straight from a camera, I’d never really know what the original would have looked like. I have so many ideas I’d love to explore more, like double exposures and writing and drawing on the surface of the paper before transferring the image. I would also LOVE to get my own Daylab. I’ll have to keep my eye open on ebay as well as at the flea markets and garage sales. I’m sad to think I might have even passed one of these up recently because I didn’t know exactly what it was.

The above two photos are examples of image transfers that I did in class. The image on the right pages are the originals that I brought in, the bottom pictures on the left are the photos developed on the fuji 100 pack film (they should be fairly light because most of the chemistry should actually end up going into your image transfer) and then the top left images are my image transfers on watercolor paper.
So this happened today - fuji image transfers with Tiffany Teske
An instagram of the image transfers I did in class.

The class was great. I had fun experimenting, and learned way more than I expected… such as… did you know that the Impossible Project purchased the Polaroid factory that they work from, but not the chemistry, or instructions to create Polaroid film. They’ve had to hire their own chemists and have to figure things out for themselves. This is why Impossible Project film has to be protected from daylight when first developing, just like early on Polaroid film did. This is because they are working out the kinks on their own, just as Polaroid did when they first started out. Impossible Project film is not Polaroid film, but their own unique formulas. I find that fascinating.

Birthday Presents – Fuji Instax 210

10.5.11 instax
For my birthday I got some AWESOME presents. For real awesome, not just “yay, socks and underwear” awesome. I’ll have to post a couple separate posts to share. My brother and sister in law got me the Fuji Film Instax 210. I’ve been wanting one of these forever, but could never justify spending that much.

10.5.11 instax shot
People, it.is.so.awesome! It’s an instant camera, much like the beloved old days of Polaroid instant. The only (itty bitty) downfall (for me) is that the pictures are rectangular, where my heart really lies in the square format. Thinking about that, it’s kind of funny because in art school we were always ushered away from using a square format because it is harder to create balanced compositions, but I’m a rebel. Back to the camera, did I mention it’s awesome? Because it is. It comes with a lens to take close up pictures. What I would have done for one of those on my old polaroids (shaking fists towards the sky). If you are unfamiliar with instant fuji film, they also have pull apart films that I use on my Polaroid Colorpack II Landcamera. They have a second smaller Instax camera that comes in white and takes itty bitty baby instant pictures. I preferred the larger just because I already have my Polaroid Pogo Printer, which prints tiny digital pictures from your camera or phone.

When Polaroid announced that they would no longer be producing instant film I went into hoarding mode. Sadly, I still have packs left because I was afraid to use them all up, but the film is going bad because they are all REALLY expired. I realized with this new camera, only 2 pictures in, and I’m already being waaaaay to cautious about using the film.  I need to lighten and loosen up and have some fun. I need to take pictures and enjoy my birthday present.

Instant film aside, I realized the other day that it was a good thing that I’d fallen in love with instagram and taking pictures with my iphone because since we moved I couldn’t find our battery charger. If it weren’t for camera phones, no pictures would be taken during this time. A few weeks ago I broke down and just bought regular batteries at the store to tide me over. Next thing ya know, Matt uses them, AND the batteries from my camera, to put into his wii-motes. Yesterday after hunting (for what felt like hours hours) through boxes of storage in the basement I finally had a meltdown. That was all it took for Matt to go to the basement and 10 minutes later return with the battery charger, sigh. Well, now I can take pictures AND Matt can have friends over to play Super Smash Bros.

Friday Archive

polaroid sky, originally uploaded by robayre.

Once again, last minute. Friday’s are definitely busy, because I get off work and then have my art group meeting which usually goes pretty late.

Last week I got a new polaroid camera, and so for today’s archive piece I decided to choose an old polaroid picture I’d taken in 1998. Polaroids have long been a love of mine and have found their way into many pieces of artwork from mailart, to intaglio prints. The idea and image of polaroid often creep into my work. I was of course sad to hear that polaroid was discontinuing production of their instant film, but still hopeful that another company will pick it up. After getting my recent camera, I’ve found that fugi already carries an instant pack film that supports my new camera.

This photo was used in an illustration piece that I can’t seem to find right now, maybe I’ll be able to track it down and post it tomorrow? I had cross hatched with my fine rapidoliner pen, the entire positive space of this piece. The picture was taken out my parents back window, out into their yard.

Anyway, I’m excited to try out my new camera. The film arrived the other day and I haven’t even had a moment to try it out yet, but I’m sure you will see more of that coming soon.