Playing with expired Polaroid

terri

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My darkroom refrigerator finally gave out a few days ago - I felt lucky we noticed it right away and were able to clean it out quickly. It's mostly film, with some expired film too. The enlarger is also in our basement with no running water, and the "basement" can only be accessed from the outside. So, it's become more a convenient place to store everything, rather than a working darkroom these days.

The big surprise was realizing how much Polaroid film I still have. Some years back, I got depressed and detached from photography when, within a couple years' time, both Polaroid and Kodak HIE (best IR film ever, IMO) were discontinued - along with a few favorite enlargement papers I used for bromoil prints, lith prints, and other alternative photographic processes, like Agfa. Straight photography bores me for the most part - I like using my negatives as a starting point for other processes. That's my jam.

Anyway, my silly carelessness just allowed my remaining stash to get even MORE out of date. It hopefully won't matter as much with the 4x5 Type 79 sheet film, but matters a lot with the 4x5 pack film. The pack film also holds its own battery, and they will definitely give out and refuse to eject each piece of film over time.

Quickest way to find out if the pack film (re-named Artistic Z) was headed for the trash was to just open a box, and load it into one of my SX-70 Land cameras. I used the one on the left. :1247:

SX70 cameras.jpg


Once you load the film and close the camera, when the battery is working the dark slide automatically ejects. Eureka! I was happy it still works! This film is called Artistic Z, the last batches made by Polaroid - it replaced the fabled Time Zero film, which I used to use a lot to manipulate the soft emulsion. This film contains different dyes due to environmental concerns, so it was never as bright and clear as Time Zero. But color is never an issue for me, so that's a secondary concern.


A couple of the pieces of film did stick, but most came through fine. These prints show the film's age. The dyes have faded and run together in some areas. But the emulsion is still manipulable, even though I pounced too soon - should have waited a couple of hours, but I didn't and it shows. :lol:


Miss Finn sat for a portrait:

SX-70 Finn - resized.jpg



Front yard:

SX-70 House Front - resized.jpg



Snake plant:

SX-70 Snakie - resized.jpg



Flowers on the deck:

SX-70_Flowers - resized.jpg



As far as manipulating technique, using my old burnishing tools, I did a fairly terrible job. :lol: Too impatient, and the areas where I pressed too hard can be seen as blobs. But - so what? The film batteries are holding!! The expiration date is 9/09. I'm gonna say the refrigeration helped.

I'm pleased enough to order some slide film, so I can pull out my Daylab slide printer, which is made to accept this pack film. I love my SX-70 cameras, but prefer to use my Pentax MZ for better photographic control. I can scan, hand color, etc., once I get a better manipulated piece of film. I consider this exercise a successful test run.

Next up: the Polaroid 79 4x5 sheet film test.

For an alt-process geek like me, it's happy dance time. :boogie:
 

zulu42

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Amazing these are beautiful!
 

vintagesnaps

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I particularly like the last one of the flowers. This seems familiar, like I've seen photos of yours like this before? So cool.

I have an SX-70 like that, I love using it. (Have you seen the vintage film short of Charles and Ray Eames?) Maybe you'll motivate me to get something out of my stash in the fridge, I hadn't been out doing anything this whole pandemic. I still have The Impossible Project film in there which was already not spreading the goo well! So by now it ought to be real interesting.

What tools do you use? Realized since I took printmaking I have a couple of tools I didn't have before. I've never triedmanipulating it. I didn't get into Polaroids til they were at the tail end of the Time Zero, etc. so I missed out on that.

I still have some of the last peel apart Polaroid Paul Giambarba film in sepia, chocolate, and blue. The other two were still good but the blue was already shifting to pink and I don't know what! It's a surprise if nothing else.
 
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terri

terri

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I particularly like the last one of the flowers. This seems familiar, like I've seen photos of yours like this before? So cool.

I have an SX-70 like that, I love using it. (Have you seen the vintage film short of Charles and Ray Eames?) Maybe you'll motivate me to get something out of my stash in the fridge, I hadn't been out doing anything this whole pandemic. I still have The Impossible Project film in there which was already not spreading the goo well! So by now it ought to be real interesting.

What tools do you use? Realized since I took printmaking I have a couple of tools I didn't have before. I've never triedmanipulating it. I didn't get into Polaroids til they were at the tail end of the Time Zero, etc. so I missed out on that.

I still have some of the last peel apart Polaroid Paul Giambarba film in sepia, chocolate, and blue. The other two were still good but the blue was already shifting to pink and I don't know what! It's a surprise if nothing else.
Thank you!

To answer, here's a quick snap of the main tools I use. Most are burnishing tools with double heads, various sizes. The golf tee is great for crescent shapes.

Manipulation tools.jpg



This seems familiar, like I've seen photos of yours like this before?

I worked with Polaroid a lot, back in the day! When the film was fresh and easy to get. Mainly I used my Daylab 35+ and had all the bases for it for all film types, except 8x10.

This was Polaroid Sepia 4x5 film, I photographed several old coins and did emulsion lifts. Loved that project. Sold almost all of them at art fairs, I think I kept one.

This one sold, and I wish I had it back. That sepia film was beautiful!

Walking Liberty coin, 1945:

Walking Liberty 1945 1.jpg




With the current film I have, I hope to be able to do more like this one. I originally shot this using my SX-70 camera up there, with these box cameras just set up on the driveway. It was sunset, and their shadows were long. I manipulated the print, but that driveway made the background very gray and dull. So I got the idea to scan SX-70 print, and print it out on an inkjet paper that accepted my photo oils, and hand painted it.

It's this kind of process that I keep in mind when I see the results from the expired film up there. The colors mean nothing, as long as that emulsion can be manipulated. ;)


the box cameras.jpg



Maybe you'll motivate me to get something out of my stash in the fridge, I hadn't been out doing anything this whole pandemic.

Do it!!!! If my old stuff is still firing, yours could be, too! Would love to see some of your work. :)
 

jcdeboever

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Beautiful renders. I love these. So creative.
 
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terri

terri

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Those are all winners Terri......! Love the Miss Finn the best.....but I love cats so,,,,,😼
Thanks, Scotty! I meant to comment that both our cats are used to looking up and seeing some weird boxy thing in their faces. :lol: At least they don't run away.

And I agree. Cats. :586:
 

VARiccardi

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Thank you, JC!
Hello Terri,
I just joined this forum to ask you a question, since you seem to be an expert on Daylab 35. I purchased one years ago to do image transfers on water color paper and just pulled the machine out to use. However, I can't find 3.25x4.25 instant film to print on. I don't have any other size bases.
My question to you--is anyone making the 3.25x4.25 instant film anymore? If not, do you know where I could find a larger base that is compatible with another size instant film (whatever size that is) that's available?
Thank you so much for your help.
Victoria
 
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terri

terri

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Hi Victoria, and welcome to TPF! Unfortunately, the kind of Polaroid film that fit into the Daylab is out of production. There are new instant films out there being made, Polaroid 600 and Fuji instant for example, but these emulsions aren't going to behave in the same way that the original Polaroid emulsions did, for lifts and image transfers. These processes call for peel-apart film, and the new ones are integral films that develop in front of you.

Head over to Polaroid online to see their new lineup. The film speeds and new emulsions are what prevent them from being compatible with your Daylab.

I have some very old stock that allowed me to play with an image transfer, but when I tried an emulsion lift, it disintegrated into a hopeless mess of goo! :(

Daylab was made for a niche market of Polaroid film enthusiasts, and it sounds like you are one of them! As much as I applaud their continued output of instant films, they work best now in certain vintage cameras for straight shooting.

If you still want to pursue another Daylab base, ebay would be your best bet. And you can look at YouTube for innovative ways people are trying for image transfers with various films, without using the Daylab.

I was heartbroken when these films went out of production. 💔 Using a Daylab was a joyous way to get some unique photographic imagery.

Hope this helps.
 

VARiccardi

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Hi Terri,

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and very helpful reply. I apologize for the delay in getting back to you.

How sad to know I won't be able to create the unique transfers I once made, given the lack of proper film available for my Daylab. However, to your point, I will look on YouTube for other ways to do image transfers.

All best,
Victoria
 
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terri

terri

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Good luck with it, Victoria! You could likely find a way to manipulate some of these newer films.

I hope you do, and then come back here to share your work with us! :)
 

VARiccardi

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Thank you, Terri. Likewise, please let me know if you discover some clever way to do the same!

Cheers,
Victoria
 

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