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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Expired Polaroid Spectra Film Is Cool

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Expired Polaroid Spectra Film Is Cool

This is a great example of a classic portrait framed in between the fades bands of washed out colors of expired instant film.  The hair, sunglasses and the suit with a Hawaiian shirt add to the effect.  Notice at the top right the small area of dried chemicals that were not developed.

I have always liked instant film. Even as a kid there was something about instant film that was magical. Within a few seconds after taking a photo you held a photo in your hand, passing around the exposure showing everybody that was in the shot.  Even when instant film was everywhere, it was never economical, it cost a pretty good bit to have an instant film exposure that you could share instantly with your family and friends.

2008 was the last time Polaroid made instant film. You can still find some expired Polaroid film out there, however as time goes on, the likelihood of the expired film working grows less and less. Happily there is a company that is making new film for Polaroid cameras, Impossible Project. It is expensive and it does not use the same chemical process that Polaroid was making prior to 2008, because the many companies that made the chemicals for the original Polaroid film, no longer exist. Right now I still prefer to shoot expired polaroid film, it has a certain look to it now and also develops a lot faster than the current instant film that is available.

This month I took seven polaroid spectra instant film photos, here are three of them. As you can see this expire film has the center with a nice blue colors in between two bands of faded colors, at some of the corners you can see chemicals parts that were dried out as well. This is the look that you cannot get from film that is not expired. Every time you take a photo you are not sure how it will turn out. That is the beauty of expired instant film, you take a photo that you have no idea if it will even develop or how it will look in the end. It is one shot, one moment in time frozen forever on an exposure of instant film.  Once the camera ejects the instant film, you are holding it in your hands, looking at it. You don't have to worry about your SD card becoming corrupted, the photo is ready for you to share it with the world.

I love shooting with digital film, I've probably taken over 60,000 shots with my digital cameras over the years. However, with instant film, it's about a dollar or two for every exposure. Every time you take a photo with a Polaroid camera you will get a result. You must frame your shots, think out your shots, make sure you have lighting for your shots, and with expired film you are not sure that anything will develop.  Perhaps this element of the unknown makes every exposure of expired instant film, a small work of art no matter how the results turns out.

Sure you could take a digital photo and try to make it look like instant film.  However, those of us that use expired instant film, can spot a fake from a mile away. It takes a little more time, a little more money, and a little more planning to take photos with instant film. However if you invest this time, I think you'll love your instant photos as much as I do!  If I ask you to be in one of my instant photos, it means that you are special and worth a dollar an exposure, there is no higher honor that any photographer can give you.

So go out there and get your hands of some instant film and let the magic happen. It will change the way you think of photography.  The photos and memories will be there forever, instantly developed for the ages!  Rock and roll!



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There the sun giving great lighting in this snap shot.  The subject is between the bands of washed out colors.

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One of the few working pay phones with nice lighting, clouds, stop sign, intersection and the truck make for a cool photo.

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