The recent buzz around the re-branding of Impossible Project instant film as Polaroid Originals got me pulling my last roll of PX600 from the fridge and incorporating some 'Polaroid' images into an ongoing project. The results got me thinking further about the nature of the resulting images and the process of making them.
One thing I've been experimenting with is darkening the exposures with the slider on the camera. This seems to help get better results especially with detailed images of structures and preserving textures in the images. I've also learned to compensate for the slightly offset lens relative to the viewfinder and finally mastered the process of pressing the shutter button so as to shoot only a single frame, not two at the same time. All this has resulted in me being able to get workable images with each exposure, something I had difficulty with earlier.
This practical stuff is secondary, however, to the nature of the images themselves. Anyone looking for photo-realistic images from this film will probably be disappointed. That said if you are looking for images that create emotion and surprise this is a worthwhile route to explore.
I've begun to think of this film as producing 'memory fragments' as opposed to straight photographs. Each image, though brand new, looks and feels like a long ago memory as if one were closing one's eyes and thinking about the past. They all seem to have an almost dream-like quality that provokes nostalgia and imagination. These qualities are just right for the project I'm working on right now. I seem to be producing fragments of memories that were never mine, though maybe, just maybe, they were some other persons memories. We'll see.
The ability to generate this kind of abstract thinking is perhaps the greatest benefit of shooting Polaroid film.
Which reminds me that I need to get more film.