New Monochromatic Instant Film.

August 5, 2010 § 2 Comments

Back in the spring, The Impossible Project released their first original run of the next generation of instant film. The beginning of this new chapter in analog magic was marked by crispy monochrome films: PX 100 Silver Shade for use in Polaroid’s SX-70 Land Cameras and PX 600 Silver Shade for use in Polaroid’s 600-series cameras. I scooped some up promptly, and got to work (or I guess I should say “play”) shooting. The so-called “First Flush” of these films are by no means perfect, but that’s one of the things I love most about instant film. You never know what you’re going to get. Factors such as temperature and light and duration of development have always affected the images I’ve gotten using Polaroid’s integral films and pack films, but The Impossible Project’s new films are even more sensitive to light and temperature. Upon ejection from the camera, prints must be immediately shielded from light for the duration of development, and the tonal range of the blacks, whites and sepias will change depending on how warm or cool the print is kept during development. This can be tricky, but also fun because of the unknown results. Additionally, these new films are SO new, SO experimental, that a day or two after having taken a photo, the tones may shift and some solarization may occur. One of my favorite qualities of Polaroid film, Fujifilm’s instant equivalents, and film in general, is the low fidelity, the grain, the imperfections. This new film from The Impossible Project gives us just that. Here is one of the first shots I took using Impossible’s PX 100…

This was taken with my Polaroid SX-70, probably my favorite camera of all the numerous cameras I own. You can see that it’s not true black & white, but more of a sepia, with hints of red. I also love the speckles and the levels of contrast. There’s also a dreamy quality to this image that resonates with me.

This next shot is an example of Impossible’s PX 600 Silver Shade film, designed for Polaroid’s 600-series cameras, such as my trusty SLR 680 SE.

Also super-dreamy, but there’s more warmth in the PX 600. Another example of how temperature variation and light can give you unexpected results, and another reason I love what The Impossible Project is doing. To me, this photo represents conflicting moods. It has an apocalyptic flavor to it almost, but at the same time, it feels comforting. I think the colors give me that mellow, relaxed vibe, while the fact that this was taken at the tail end of the day gives it the ominous vibe. Of these two films, I think I’m more drawn to the PX 600, because of the warmer tones.

Finally, most recently, Impossible released a monochrome film designed for Polaroid Spectra and Image cameras. Last weekend, I had the opportunity to visit The Impossible Project Space in NYC, a place every Polaroid and instant film fanatic NEEDS to check out, and I picked up a slew of film, including the new PZ 600 film for my Spectra. This film didn’t seem as temperamental as the previous monochrome incarnations from Impossible.  After taking the first shot, I slipped it into my pocket to develop, and within about 30 seconds, the image seemed fairly stable.

Interestingly, this photo had more traditional black and white tones at first. In the days since, however, the tones have shifted toward sepia. This next shot experienced similar color changes after taking it. One thing I try to capture in my photographs is a link to the past. I’ve always thought I was born in the wrong era, and I consider the charms of film as a window into another time. This new film from Impossible lends itself perfectly to what I’m all about. When I saw this car parked in the Soho area of Manhattan, I knew it was fate, because I’d just come from the Impossible space and my Spectra was stuffed with PZ 600.

I love this stuff. And I’m very excited about the range of film The Impossible Project Plans to release in the future. They’ve come a long way in the span of a couple of years since Polaroid announced the discontinuation of its line of instant film. The future is analog.

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