I just watched the Time Zero documentary about the final year of Polaroid film production on Netflix. I highly recommend anyone who has a love or interest in film to watch this documentary. I also would love all of the Impossible Project haters to watch this film, to understand what a feat it is they have accomplished.
The photos above are photographs shot on Impossible Project SX-70 B&W black frame film. It is by far one of the best films I have ever shot from them, the image developed almost immediately (highly improved on the very early 30-45 minute development times when they were first starting out!).
One of my first photos on my first pack of IP SX-70 color film, which needed to be shaded in the dark to develop.
Time Zero was sad, but also inspiring, liberating, and uplifting. It also made me want to do whatever I can to go buy a case of Impossible Project film! They are amazing people. I supported them in the beginning and I still stand by them today. Talk of their downsizing makes me a little nervous, but the hope is that the focus will be back on the film itself and making an even better instant film for people to enjoy.
In addition to the Impossible Project there are other instant films out there…
In 2013 I used Fuji Instax mini film for a 365 project, taking one shot on instant film a day for most of the year (until I ran out of money and film in November). The entire project made me fall in love even more with instant film. That same year, however, Fuji announced that it would stop producing one of it’s most beloved films from their line: Fuji FP-3000b. No one else has picked up the packfilm, or tried to save it. Which just goes to show what a big deal it was for Florian “Doc” Kaps PhD and those behind Impossible Project’s to take on the risk and attempt to reproduce Polaroid’s integral films. Impossible Project is still working on improving their current line of films, and said it did not plan on producing FP3000b anytime soon. Understandable, since they are still perfecting on their own formula. However, not all is lost, there is someone else making waves in packfilm production.
Shot in a Polaroid 100 camera on Fuji FP3000b packfilm.
New55 is a project I had been following for years on Blogspot, where Bob Crowley and Sam Hiser were trying to work out how to produce a product similar to Polaroid’s packfilms. They finally decided to get funding to produce on a larger scale with a Kickstarter campaign. As of right now, after the successful funding of their Kickstarter, the New55 project is working on getting the chemicals and supplies needed to produce it’s film in a limited run and shop it around to potential manufacturers.
In the face of adversity, it is refreshing to see companies standing up for film, for the history of film, and not only keeping film alive, but creating new versions of these film products, especially in a digital era. It will be interesting to see what else happens in the world of film, what new frontiers are created and what new artists emerge. I hope to hold a place somewhere at the forefront with these visionaries.
Long live film!