Category Archives: Impossible Project

Protection Film

“I’ll stand in front of you, I’ll take the force of the blow. Protection”

I wonder if Dave Bias and the chemists at The Impossible Project had this Massive Attack lyric in their heads all these years? For those of you immersed in the Polaroid subculture the announcement of a new stable, easy to use film is a big deal, if you do not care you should still read this, because you might get interested.  You see, since the death of Polaroid as we know, the company known as Impossible has been hard at work resurrecting the old factory, but they have fallen just short of solving the problem of light sensitivity. In short, using the film is a science project of sorts. Some of us are up for it, but many are not. Impossible has used some brilliant marketing skills to convince the desperate loyalists that this partially defective product is valid because the flaws make unpredictable photo art. They do have a point, and they have been able to ride this horse all around the world. I have been on that horse the whole time.  Now comes the big news…….THEY HAVE FIXED THE PROBLEM!  Now, you push the button and the photo pops out. Instant photography….what a concept.  Here is the official geek version lowdown:

“Thanks to an innovative color protection formula that greatly improves the opacification process – Color Protection Film finally allows for easy shooting without the need for immediate shielding of the photos. It also delivers a never-before-seen color saturation, a completely new level of detail and sharpness and overall stunning image quality. It’s finally bringing back the unique iconic performance and look of the most successful classic Polaroid films”

You mean I don’t need to carry around a lead bag and sunglasses to take pictures?  Seriously, wow, no more having to give my customers a twenty minute briefing on why Granny’s SX-70 camera ain’t what it used to be?  The flea market vendors are back in business because we can sell you film for your vintage cameras again, and this time around we can sell it with authority.  I applaud the folks at Impossible, especially the genius that cracked the chemical code. So one more time:

“This girl I know needs some shelter, she don’t believe anyone can help her, she’s doing so much harm, doing so much damage. But you don’t want to get involved, you tell her she can manage. And you can’t change the way she feels, but you can put your arms around her.”

Image

With the new Protection Film this will actually be a barn.

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Honey Have You Seen My Polaroid Camera?

“Honey, Have you seen my old Polaroid camera?”

“Yeah, I gave it to Goodwill along with your vinyl records because I heard they stopped making the film.”

“You did what????”

If you don’t own a Polaroid camera, you probably know someone who does.  Most likely a parent, or grandparent, or cousin. Where are these cameras now?  Probably in a closet, or trunk, or buried in a heap up in the attic. Or, you might find one for $4.00 at a flea market.   No respect, considering what Popular Photography Magazine said many years ago, ” Like television, Polaroid photography is one of those processes that permits technically unsophisticated mortals to perform technological miracles.”  And so this is how these instant cameras were marketed, sold at Kmart and at the drugstore as an easy way around complicated photography.  They were sold door to door, and on TV, and everyone had at least one.  When my Father passed away, I found a Land Camera and two pristine SX 70’s up on a shelf next to a shoe box containing a Colt 45 pistol…

Then we had the era of Warhol and Mapplethorpe, and suddenly things changed as the artists discovered the inherent beauty of this once thought of utilitarian device.  Fast forward to the digital era and all those “unsophisticated mortals” now have a new way to capture an image instantly, and so Polaroid dies an ugly death, leaving the old school artist’s in the dust.  ( sorry for the drama)

Enter the Impossible Project, a group of visionaries on a quest to resurrect Polaroid film.  Well, they have done it, but apparently not to perfection.  You see there are a few secrets of science that lay buried in the ruble, thus we have to wrestle a bit it with these new films.  Which brings me to the point of this post. PHOTOWORKS IS HAVING A CLASS ON HOW TO USE THE NEW IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT FILMS!  Here are a few photos that show why a class and some simple tutoring will make using the new films more enjoyable.

oops, I didn’t know that you had to shield this from light, looks cool, but I might try again.

okay, that’s getting the hang of it.

by James de Leon ( what you will learn how to do in this class)

So all of you Polaroid shooters dig out that old camera, and come on down to photoworks on April 22nd to see first hand what all the fuss is about surrounding the new era of Polaroid. http://www.facebook.com/events/320455021347683/

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The Impossible Photo Lab

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.

In stock and ready to rock

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