By now all of you photographers and most of you non photographers are aware of the demise of Polaroid. It’s over but like all great things analog, you cannot kill the spirit. Enter The Impossible Project, a small group of people who claimed the remains of the Polaroid factory in The Netherlands, and without much of a recipe have invented a new line of instant films. The word “impossible” is no understatement, as the technical hurdles rival sending people into space. By some miracle we now have a full line of new instant films to play with, but they are tricky to work with, kind of like a soup that must be cooked in exactly the right way. The folks at IP have come up with a few accessories and tricks of the trade that must be applied in order to make the new films work. So it’s like a science project of sorts but the results are gratifying and I am willing to work to make some instant film magic. Photoworks has been offered the new line of films to sell in our store and we are thrilled to be a part of the instant film resurrection.
I feel some kinship with the Impossible folks because for years I struggled to maintain old film printing equipment. Our lab used to be all Agfa analog printing machines, the look of the prints from those machines helped put our shop on the map. One day without warning, Agfa went under, and we were stuck with a bunch of old printers and no support. I hired technicians to keep the machines going, but over the years parts vanished and eventually I gave up. Like every other photo lab, we bought new equipment. We still print from negatives but not before they are scanned first. You still see film grain, but it’s just not quite the same thing. Over the years we have struggled to maintain our analog identity, but it is not easy, and on some days it feels “impossible.”
It’s amazing that something so commonplace as Polaroid would be such advanced science, and that once extinct would be so hard to replicate. The Impossible Project has not only brought instant films back, they have expanded the line into all kinds of fun directions. This week Photoworks will be receiving our first shipment of Impossible Project instant films. We’ll be the only place in town to carry PX 600 Silver Shade with the Black Frame. Very cool, very analog, suddenly everything seems possible again.