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Instant Nostalgia

Revisiting Polaroid’s instant slide film

in Film , Tuesday, April 10, 2012

One of those things I’ve been meaning to get around to for ages, I’ve finally done: revisting my small collection of Polaroid instant slide film photos. Instant slide was probably not one of Polaroid’s better known product lines, but I was a fan until it was discontinued some 10 years ago.  I mainly used it during the late 90s, when my photography was beginning to take shape. Back then I was strongly influenced both by my then over-riding interest in illustration and narrative as opposed to photography for photography’s sake (which I considered a bit pointless), and by my then girlfriend, an abstract painter who’s artistic education and skill was way out of my league.

I was also exploring early “cheap” digital cameras as the time, and loved the instant feedback (well, except for the huge Fuji thing I had which didn’t have an LCD), but not so much the quality, or indeed the cost of the batteries. So Polaroid instant slide film, coupled with my pair of Canon A1s, was a great alternative.

Apart from illustration I was very much into the early stages of the multimedia explosion, and in particular QuickTime VR, and so a lot of my photography was providing input to labyrinthine (in several senses) assemblies of navigable, interactive panoramas (and anybody who’s being following this blog can guess where that led!)

Polaroid produced several different film types, including Polapan, Polachrome, and seriously contrasty Polagraph.  Polapan and Polagraph were, as far as I know, the only positive black & white slide films made other than Agfa Scala. As far as I remember there was also a high saturation colour film designed for graphics, like Powerpoints and stuff like that. Very Old People may remember that there was a big market back in the day for outputting direct from Powerpoint to 35mm transparency. Anyway, digression.

So here, for your entertainment, a couple of shots from a deserted Borough Market, South London, July 1998, shot on Polapan 125, in these examples with a red filter to make it even gloomier.


Check back soon for some examples of the actual quite remarkable Polachrome, and the seriously gothic, graveyard-special Polagraph!



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