Maison Europeenne de la Photographie

Faced with another rainy day in Paris, it was off to the Maison Europeenne de la Photographie.  It’s a fantastic photography gallery with several floors of photographs, both permanent and rotating exhibits from around the world.  There was a wide variety of photographs, from fine art to street photography, colour and black and white, film and polaroid.

Exhibits are rotating often so be sure to visit if you’re in town, located in the Marais.

Silver Shade PX100 Impossible Project Review

It’s been a while since I bought the box of Px100 at Prophot, but I had just put a cartridge of 600 film in the old SX-70 so I wasn’t in a hurry to use them up.  I don’t believe in using a filter for the 600 film, so I stick to cloudy overcast days when the film over-exposes, but doesn’t blow out completely (as it does on sunny days).  I like the look that it gives, some would call it “vintage”.  This PX100 is Silver Shade, and not the “first flush” variety sold earlier on.

After reading up on the Impossible website all the do’s and don’ts for this film, I was ready to take some shots.  While I think it’s fantastic that this film has been produced, it’s interesting that it’s far from perfect, and even seems to be in more of a development stage, with us the customers being the guinea pigs (at our expense too!).  So although you may have already read this, after taking the shot you need to immediately cover the exiting polaroid with your hand (or some other object) to keep the light from striking it.  It then needs to develop in a dark location.  On top of this, the film needs to be used between 17-24 degrees celsius.  Finally, they are now mentioning some “crystal” problems where you get funny marks on the edges of the pictures, they advise using a desiccant, and in fact now provide it with new boxes of the film.

Here for comparison are (from left to right) : first shot with PX100, shot with expired 600, and second shot with PX100.  When I left the apartment, the temperature was only 15 degrees, however the film and camera had been stored in the apartment which was in the low 20’s, and I kept the camera in my bag until I was ready to shoot.  I immediately covered the shot with my hand on both and then put it in my messenger bag while it developed.  The picture is a bit hard to see, however you’ll notice that although it is a black and white photo, it does have a slight sepia tone, and that there is very little contrast.  The photos are also not very sharp. My wife mentioned that it looked very “vintage”.

I liked the pictures, and was happy they turned out as it seems some have had far less luck than I have, however I would have liked more contrast.  So later in the day I took a yellow filter from my Bessa R and held it in front of the camera while I took the shot.  To be fair, I did not compensate with the brightness dial, however as you can see in the picture above, it did nothing to increase contrast, in fact it might have actually reduced it.  The photo also got even more of a toned look.  I would have thought that on a bright sunny day the yellow filter would have helped things out, but apparently not.  I would have liked to experiment more, but the film costs about 2 euros/shot, so I’m not game to waste anymore film.

Looking back at one of the photos later in the day (8 hrs.) I noticed these strange marks on the side of the picture. They look similar to the “killer crystals” that they talk about on the Impossible website that are due to humidity, but I find that hard to believe that this was caused by humidity as it’s fairly dry around here right now.  I’m hoping this doesn’t spread further across the photo, but only time will tell.

So in summary, it’s great to have more film to use with my SX-70, but the quality isn’t all that great (not too sharp an image, low contrast).  The lack of sharpness isn’t a whole lot different from the old 600 film, so this could be related to the camera I guess.  The fact that the film is so finicky, and that the early adopters are paying for Impossible’s research and development, I can’t say I’m over the moon pleased with the product.  Finally I feel the price is reasonable, however the shipping charges can be astronomical depending where you live (I as lucky to get it in a store).

Impossible Project – PX100 Silver Shade

While at negatif+ the other day, I managed to pick up some PX100, the new black and white polaroid film.  I’d been excited to try some however the shipping to Canada is ridiculous.  Waiting till Paris I managed to pick some up for 16 euros, not too bad.

I haven’t had a chance to try it yet as I had just loaded one of my last cartridges of colour 600 film into my SX-70, and with 7 frames to go, I’d rather not rush it!  This film is of the latest batch (not First Flush), so hopefully I’ll get some better results than what some were first reporting.

Polaroid Plaque Mount

I love polaroids. From the opening of the SX-70 to the anticipation as the film spits out the front of the camera, I love it all.  My only problem is I end up with stacks and stacks of polaroids, and besides leaving them in stacks around the house, I don’t have much else to do with them.  There was the mechanics desk, but it’s full now and that’s a fairly immobile object.

I needed a gift for mother’s day for my wife. We generally like to make each other gifts and don’t really believe in going out and spending money on things we probably don’t need or won’t use after a month or two.   I saw something similar to this on the net a couple of years ago, sorry I don’t recall the link.

It’s quite simple and inexpensive to make, it’s just pieces of 5/8″ mdf cut to size and painted with mat paint (I used tremclad, it’s thick so you don’t need too many coats).  The photos are actually not the original polaroids, but scanned and then inkjet printed so they’d be easier to glue and then I’d still have the originals to leave in piles around my house…  The pictures are stuck on with contact cement.  A picture wire is on the back to allow it to be hung on the wall.  I stuck the white blocks onto the black background with double sided tape. I actually meant to glue and nail gun it, but I didn’t have the right size nails, and I ran out of time, but the tape has worked so far and it’s been over 2 months, cross your fingers…

Uppercase – First Thursday: Crowd Sourcing Show

Uppercase, an awesome little shop in Arts Central, hosts a monthly “First Thursday” show which has had many themes over the years.  This month the theme was “Crowd Sourcing” meaning that anyone could come and bring their own work of art and display it (and sell it if they wished) for all to see.

From the Uppercase blog:

A creatively uncurated exhibition of works by friends

of UPPERCASE and one communual canvas collaboration!

It was quite a fun night with many works of art all over the building showcasing a variety of different art styles and talents.  There were also some people dressed as knights walking around advertising an upcoming military museum demonstration, unfortunately they got away before I could snap a picture…

Here’s a closer look at the work I submitted. It’s entitled ‘the Grumpy Grocer’, it’s a picture of a little grocery store in Paris where the shop keeper was less than helpful considering we were trying to spend money in his shop.  The shot was taken with an SX-70 on Polaroid 600 film (no filters).  The polaroid was then scanned and printed on an 11×14″ canvas.