I miss Polaroid

I do.  I really miss the proper, original Polaroid 669 and 665 (colour and B&W, respectively) peel-apart film.  The likes of Impossible Project (or whatever they’re calling themselves now) have done an admirable job of trying to resurrect instant film but they’re still much more finicky and you just can’t do the same type of transfers like you could with the original.  Probably has something to do with the lack of caustic, Eco-hostile chemistry that was integral to the process.  So, I suppose from that perspective, it’s a good thing.

I dug out some transfers I did onto Arches water colour paper.  The longevity of these things is quite amazing.  I did these back in the late 90’s.  I have one that I use as a bookmark that is dated 1998 and it’s still going strong.  These are a combination of emulsion transfers, basically cooking the top emulsion off in hot water, and direct transfers from the chemical negative.  The beauty, is that even if you were doing transfers of the same image, each one was unique since you never really knew how the transfer would take or how the emulsion would settle on to the paper (glass and metals could also be used).

You can still find packs of the original film on online sources but they’ve been expired for a dozen years or more and are selling for some pretty eye-watering prices.  I checked on eBay and found that the average price for a 2-pack of 669 colour film (10 images/pack) was about $120 USD, plus shipping.  Makes it pretty pricey for something that might not even work any longer.  But let’s say I was inclined to give it a shot (pun completely intentional), I’d need to get myself a land camera.  The silver lining here is that unlike the film, they can be had relatively inexpensively if you go for some of the basic, plastic lensed options.  The proper, glass lensed versions (180, 185, 190, 195) are a different kettle of fish.  Now that it’s down here, I might have to give it some more thought.

Without a camera, like I did with these, transfers could be done via a Vivitar Instant Slide Printer.  Coincidentally, the slides were also from another extinct Polaroid product called Polapan.  It was a 35 mm B&W (-ish) slide film.  I say -ish because it was very unique in that it almost looked like it was printed on metal so neither the blacks nor the whites were overly contrasty.  Daylab was another company that put out a Polaroid slide printer but it was quite a bit more expensive.  However, they allowed for a higher level of adjustment and you could also get attachments to allow you to make prints up to the 8×10 inch peel-apart packs.  I noticed you can still find both these brands of units on eBay.  Worthwhile if you can get the film, I suppose.


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