I’ve decided to start blogging about my experience with different types of films and cameras to throw a little pro film love “out there” … a small part of me hopes it drums up more interest in the art of film photography. 😉
My good friend, Billy Baque, has nudged me a few times about making a blog and I’ve never really had the inclination to. That all has changed over the past month.
I regularly browse CraigsList ads in the hopes that I’ll find a good deal on any number of cameras on the ever-growing want list. About a month ago, a Polaroid Sonar SX-70 popped up for $20. I was lucky enough to get a hold of the guy before anybody else did and within about an hour I had it in my hands. Because of my inner-geek, I raced home, set up some studio lights, shot a photo on FP-100C of the SX-70 on a Mamiya RB67, bleached the negative, let it dry, scanned it and then admired the pic with all its bleachy-scanned-goodness. Why not right?
Anyhow .. back to the task at hand …
I have known about and seen Impossible Project film for quite some time. Billy shoots a lot of it in the San Francisco bay area and has been raving over the stuff for months. Up until last month, the only camera I had that could have used it was an older Polaroid OneStep Flash. I really didn’t want to test fate and use that for my first experience with Impossible film. I ordered a few boxes of film from the Impossible peeps and was pleased when it arrived within a couple days at my door (their shipping times are quite fast I’ve found).
The first box I shot was PX-100 Silver Shade and I , for whatever reason, did not read the directions before hand. The first couple exposures were pretty blown out and then I realized that I needed to crank the light/darken wheel all the way down to get a decent exposure. I didn’t capture anything that was really good from that first box, but the challenge was something that tugged an inner chord in me. The best from the batch was from a car show that I went to with a friend of mine. At this point, my interest was growing, but I hadn’t really seen what all the fuss was about.
I had also picked up two boxes of PX-70 Color Shade (one regular and one NIGO). I saved those and used them when I visited my friend’s ranch in Texas. I had learned by this time that Impossible Project films were a little unpredictable and needed to be babied in order to get the results I wanted.
The first image I took with PX-70 Color Shade at the ranch was of a pair of purple coneflowers. I shot this in the shade about 8:30 in the morning when it was probably 60-65 degrees outside. I tucked it away in a box and snuck a peek at it after about 2 hours.
I experimented with a couple shots in direct sunlight and made the quick realization that the emulsion couldn’t handle it. Later on I read on their website … “Truth be told, the speed (light sensitivity) of this film is not totally where we expected it to be for the average SX 70 camera, and especially in bright summer light, the tendency for overexposed images is high.”
Throughout the rest of the week, I babied what little film I had to shoot and shot the rest of the two packs I had brought with me. I did notice different variations between the regular pack and the NIGO pack. The NIGO pack must have had a different developer mixture as it rendered colors differently and there were no undeveloped patches. Check out some of the results ..
All in all, I am VERY pleased and impressed with this film. It has a unique,artistic quality that is unparalleled in the world of photography. There are no other films out there that can create an organic, analog, classic image like the Impossible Project Films do. They provide a rare, original medium in which to create art.