I have had quite a bit of Polaroid Type55 film in the closet. Don’t ask me why I hoard these things. I just do. Though their expiration dates had whizzed past me, I was convinced that I would one day use them all up. Couple of weeks ago, I got my chance. I decided to experiment with an old WISTA, 4×5 field camera. Larger the negative, sharper the image when enlarged. That’s if you have a negative at all. I didn’t. Read on.
I set out to do some portraits of my family at a birthday party. I brought in studio lights and my brother, Ananth, meticulously pulled the negatives off of this special Polaroid film that creates both an instant positive and a very brittle black & white negative. It’s a messy process, replete with toxic gooey paste dripping off the film. I must admit I hadn’t this before. I had shot with a 4×5 camera, but the film I had used was transferred quickly onto paper; a process entirely different from what I embarked on this time.
The sodium sulphite solution that the exposed negatives were supposed to be dunked in must have been terribly concentrated and I sure didn’t clean the negatives right away as prescribed. That aside, we were all very happy with the results. Instant image = instant gratification.
The negatives were all toast, though. I left them in a box full of water and that’s exactly what I am NOT supposed to do. I picked one negative up from the water bath and the emulsion slipped right off of it. The emulsion was gone. Poof! I think I will be a whole lot better prepared next time around. If anyone of you has worked with this Polaroid Type55 film, please email me. I would love to tickle your brain with questions.