October 24, 2010

The Impossible Project

In 2008, to the disappointment of Polaroid fans everywhere, Polaroid stopped production of its popular instant films. But now there is new hope, and it bears the optimistic title of the Impossible Project. What was thought to be impossible is now being done: Drumroll... Polaroid films are back!

While they can't officially carry the Polaroid name, they're already being produced in color and monochrome for a couple of Polaroid camera formats, and they're attracting a growing following. The one I used here is for a 600 camera: the PX 600 Silver Shade film.

Although the Impossible Project purchased an entire Polaroid factory, the chemical mix is all new. The resulting film packs are still being developed and improved. They're extraordinarily sensitive to temperature and light, and they're also somewhat unpredictable, which adds an extra thrill to the experience of taking a photo with this most extraordinary instant film.

Trinity Church, Newport, RI

I took the first two images in Newport, Rhode Island, and Trinity Church in the historic heart of the colonial town was my intended subject. For some reason, the first photo didn't turn out. But when the camera spit out this second image, I made sure to cover it up immediately and give it as much darkness as possible while it was developing... and it turned out! I don't think 3 minutes ever take longer than when waiting for a Polaroid to develop... which is another part of the ritual and the excitement of using a piece of photographic history.

October 16, 2010

Holga in Rhode Island

It seems like my friends and my family conspired to give me the perfect birthday gifts this year. And the best part is that the all work together: a Holga plastic camera, a set of color filters, a 35mm conversion kit, and a negative scanner. I'm thankful for each gift... every one of which was used to create the images below. My first attempt to take photos with the Holga failed because I didn’t load the film properly… I was happily snapping away, not realizing that the film wasn’t advancing in between shots. But this second attempt was successful. I took the Holga with me on an afternoon walk along the shore of Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay and pointed its plastic lens at anything and everything I found interesting.
First up: flowers. I'm currently on a plants-and-trees from below kick, where I like to take photos looking up. I'm enjoying changing the perspective of the camera, seeing how the world looks through a lens when the camera is placed low to the ground.
The Holga comes with two masks that determine the size of the images on the film, either 6x6 square or 6x4 rectangular. But I chose to use neither, resulting in extra wide images and a bit of vignetting along the sides.
Rhode Island seashore. Taken with the Holga, black and white Ilford film, and a red filter for extra contrast.
One of my favorite spots in Newport: historic Trinity Church downtown.