Sometimes there are lucky coincidences in life that expand your image creation possibilities. One of my daughters found a previously enjoyed Polaroid OneStep CloseUp camera. The challenge with a Polaroid camera is that Polaroid stopped making film for it. But luckily The Impossible Project came along with some remarkable people with the idea of creating new instant film for old cameras.
Instead of simply making the same films that were made before, The Impossible Project went in a bolder direction with their first film by choose to create a monochrome sepia-toned film called Silver Shade. The images are dreamy and soft with variations in the colour happening when the temperature is different. It’s lovely and magical and unpredictable which is one of the pleasures of film.
The design of the camera is quite interesting. It takes Polaroid 600 film, which is ISO 600 film that comes in a pack with a battery. The film and battery (and chemicals to develop the film) are all within the pack that goes into the camera. The camera has a flash which flips up to take a picture. The focus is fixed with a plastic lens that can be adjusted to two focus ranges - closeup (2 feet to 4 feet) and the normal setting (4 feet to infinity). A very simple and inexpensive camera when it came out in the late 90s.
The film arrived in the mail from The Impossible Project and I eagerly opened it. Inside the beautifully-designed package was the pack of film that I put into the camera. When I swung up the flash the dark slide popped out with the distinctive sound of a Polaroid motor ejecting a print. The first thing in a pack of Polaroid film is the darkslide, which protects the unexposed film beneath it and that is what gets ejected first. For The Impossible Project they made each one of their darkslides special by turning them into collector cards with different challenges and messages on them.
The camera appeared to be working, so I ran outside and took a picture of the car with the kids waiting in it. The picture popped out and I shielded it and shook it to assist the development. It worked! Then I took a couple of pictures of the kids and then it stopped working. Either something jammed in the camera which drained the battery or there was something wrong with the film. The Impossible Project very generously sent me another pack of film to test out. While waiting for the film I searched on eBay for another camera and purchased. Before that camera arrived, the replacement film did, and that worked, so I’ll have two identical cameras to take Polaroid pictures with.
It’s a magical experience to take instant pictures with the unpredictability being part of the thrill. Embracing constraints is fun and I look forward to creating some instant images with sepia-toned film and look forward to the other films The Impossible Project are working on.