I’m down to my last three rolls of film to develop. I came across this gem a few nights ago after developing and scanning a roll of fuji Neopan. I don’t usually gush over my own photographs, but I absolutely love this picture. I find myself sitting at the computer and pulling it up just to look at it, probably not healthy, but oh well… I’ve also come to realize that I really prefer the Neopan to the Tri-X that I shot in Paris. I read on rangefinderforum the other day that you should shoot tri-x at 200 when in Paris, maybe this was the problem, but I think in the end I really prefer the higher contrast of neopan, even when developed in D-76.
Back to the picture: taken with my Bessa R and the 15mm Heliar. This sculpture sits in front of Saint Eustache by Les Halles in Paris. It’s a little over 2 metres tall and usually has kids climbing all over it. To fill the frame I got very close with my camera to take the shot.
I was excited as the next person when the impossible project came out with it’s first film, Silver Shade. Being able to buy new film to use in my classic SX-70, and black and white at that, was a dream come true. A dream until I actually used some. I was disappointed with all the necessary steps to make it work (develop in the dark, store at a certain humidity, cut slits to improve the lasting of the pictures), when the original polaroid film had none of these issues and was cheaper. I realize that they have overcome great odds to create this not quite perfect film, but this is similar to me trying to build a car from scratch: with enough time and money I could probably make one work, but it wouldn’t be very good and I wouldn’t be able to sell it for much. What really struck me with the impossible project is that they are selling largely untested products, and we the consumers are paying to test the product for them to improve in future iterations (sounds a bit like the Microsoft Windows model…)
Checking out the impossible project website this week, I was briefly excited to see PX70, the new colour polaroid film for sale. I had heard rumours that this new film had been given out to world class photographers who had extensively tested it out. I headed over to their gallery to see what kind of gems this new film had produced, and to my horror, the film was absolutely terrible! The pictures are all low contrast and so un-saturated that they are practically monochrome!!! It’s suggested that the film is “reminiscent of expired time zero film”. No it’s not. I have used plenty of this, and even shot over-exposed on the SX-70 it had a whole lot more colour than these do.
On their FAQ for this new film, under “Why are my pictures not very colourful” they post this reply:
The PX 70 First Flush materials color characteristics are very dependent on good lighting conditions. The more light you are shooting in the more colorful your pictures will get. Furthermore, the First Flush Edition is from the very production run at our Impossible factory in Enschede and provides a first taste of our expanding Color Shade universe. The first version of the highly complex color system that we used in this production run produces images that are reminiscent of expired Polaroid Time Zero film material. First samples of upcoming PX 70 generations already promise a much wider color palette.
Provides a first taste? ie. it’s not really ready yet, but we made a bunch and screwed up so we’re going to sell it to you the sucker of a consumer so that we don’t have to throw it all in the garbage…
The upcoming generation promises a wider colour palette? ie. the next batch isn’t great either, but it’s better than the first. Hopefully we’ll get it right someday…
Interestingly enough, they have a Pioneer Card Reward System which gives you points for every pack of film you buy to be redeemed at a later date. On this page they actually state:
For all our customers who don’t want to wait until our films are perfect
That’s all of us!!! We’re all the guinea pigs, not just those who sign up for this ridiculous reward system.