Camera-less Polaroids

All you need is polaroid film, scissors, a Darkroom bag and a rolling pin…

Feather by Jo Howell 2019

It’s not a pretty way to work but I just had to try it. Wear gloves if you try it yourself because the chemistry in the polaroid is a caustic paste.

I carefully popped open some black and white polaroids in a darkroom bag. I prepared feathers, newspaper, and a rolling pin ready to use next to the bag where I was opening the film pack. Do this carefully as the batteries are Mercury.

The first round I have ever tried this process, and it could definitely do with refining! I’m heavy handed at the best of times but this was possibly a bit far. I didn’t get very even chemistry mixing because of it. There were still some points of interest in terms of texture and colour, but ultimately wasn’t what I was looking for.

I have an sx-70 that is broken, so I am going to take it apart to nab the roller to make something a bit more sophisticated, and hopefully get easier to control results. I also wonder what the difference would be in the colours created if I used a colour film stock?

Some of the best images that retained something of the object were the ones where I left the leaf or feather in place when rolling, so these are more like pressure imprints than actual photographs.

I’ll revisit the process soon. Does anyone have any experience of the process have any handy tips?

Do comment below, as good writing on the subject was fairly thin on the ground.


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