Wednesday, January 03, 2007

urban landscape

Do you ever feel like you just have to get outside the box? Even though you might be very absorbed in a long term project (a box of sorts), you still just have to taste something different. Not a change of diet, just a different flavor for the palette. That's where I am at this moment.

For me, it's looking more and more like a return visit to my much-favored toy camera genre - the Polaroid. In this case, the Polaroid 680 SLR simply because I can still get film for it (not so for my favorite SX 70 cameras). The camera itself is actually very sophisticated - it is an SLR, has a glass lens, AF, and wide range of aperture/shutter settings (albeit auto) - but the prints are rather toy-like in as much as the color, contrast and print size are all "pure" Polaroid-centric.

The one digital-era variation on those Polaroid-centric characteristics is that they are now open to digital darkroom mods. My plan is to scan the originals to preseerve the Polaroid-centric characteristics with the possible exception of print size. Well scanned and enlarged Polaroid prints are, IMO, very intriquing.

My choice is also based on the fact that the digital domain has me extremely addicted to instant feedback and, at one point in the analog past, Polaroid was the only game in town for that. Speaking of the analog past, I also have an ever stronger desire to use film, to be at least partially analog. I'm not at the point where I'm ready to start dragging the 8x10 with color neg film around, but I'm getting close. I figure the Polaroid thing will help stave off that particular inevitable for a while longer.

I am not going to replace my dslr photography with the Polaroid. I'll just be bringing it along where ever I go.

Anyone else feeling, or, felt the same way? What are/did you do?

the photographs - I mentioned in my previous James Brown post that I did a Day-in-the-Life (of Pittsburgh PA) project for Pittsburgh Magazine. One of my areas to photograph was the Hill District, Pittsburgh's once pre-eminent and thriving - then and now decaying - black neighborhood.

I photographed the assignment entirely with Polaroid cameras - SX-70, SLR 680, and a Spectra Onyx - although I did carry 2 Nikons on my shoulders so people would take me seriously. The photographs are from that assignment. New Granada - SX-70 camera and Time-Zero film. Before the Funeral - Polaroid SLR 680 and 600 film (faster than Time-Zero film).

FEATURED COMMENT: anonymous wrote: "Film does exist for the SX-70, called SX-70 Blend. It's available from"

publisher's response: Thanks for the link. I am very pleased to know that someone has picked up the manufacturing of SX-70 film albeit a different film. I will give it a try a some point, but at $38 US + shipping per 10 photo pack, I won't be using it to get the current Polaroid monkey off my back.

Other original SX-70 film (Time-Zero) characteristics aside, does anyone know if the emulsion on the new stuff is as maleable as the old stuff? I really enjoyed making photographs like these with Time-Zero film - something not nearly as possible with 600 film.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Film does exist for the SX-70, called SX-70 Blend. It's available from As an alternative you can tape a Rosco neutral density filter on top of a pack of 600 film.

1/03/2007 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger punctum said...

Yes, anonymous (above) is right.

And what a coincidence, I too am playing with polaroid, and terrific fun it is too.

The 'new granada' photos are simply wonderful - keep going!


Toby Lloyd-Jones

1/04/2007 05:35:00 PM  
Blogger gravitas et nugalis said...

thanks guys

Toby - love to see some of your polaroids, and thanks very much for the kind words.

1/04/2007 06:26:00 PM  
Blogger Billie said...

I've done a lot of work with a holga. Now I have a holga lens attahed to the body cap for my digital camera. Same bad lens with fuzzy edges but no vignetting. I want the digital combo to work but I'm not sure. I think part of the reason it isn't going to work is because I have a different attitude with the holga in my hands than I do with a dslr, no matter if the lens is the same. It is going to take some time so see how it goes but there may be no Holga but a holga.

1/04/2007 08:02:00 PM  
Blogger Vanda said...

I really like that polaroid triptich. I have always like polaroids, they have a visual quality that no photoshop filter can replicate.

8/24/2008 08:07:00 PM  

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