It feels strange writing this with opposing sensations of elation and great sadness.
The joy I am feeling is due to my explorations yesterday with trusty Nikon loaded with firstly a roll of analogue Polachrome film, then subsequently a roll of Polapan film. The film had expired back at the beginning of 2001, so I guessed to 40asa colour film would need a bit more light, so exposed at 25asa. I shot quite bold contrasts, colours and figures purposely – somehow I had an anticipation of an image akin to an old autochrome transparency, rather than ektachrome quality.
Upon returning home, I unpacked the Polaroid autoprocessor for the first time. I read the instructions twice and, as Frankie Boyle once suggested of the shuttle, I read them a further time. Finally it was time to load the developing pack, then the film, close the lid and start winding the handle, which was hopefully going to process my film. After the final step, I opened the processor up, and removed the film canister. Eagerly I pulled out the film, wondering if there was anything there…sadly most was blank, dark, but traces of the images I shot were visible. I noticed that the negative gloop from development was smeared across the film, and to my suprise I discovered that removing this revealed my images. Washing the film removed the opaque residue and I was astounded to see finally that every image had come out perfectly. The actual film speed was probably lower than 25asa, but the rich colours of the slightly dense images was better than I could have hoped for!
The roll of Polapan black and white film, also needed washing following processing. Although I had again anticipated a loss of film speed, my compensation actually resulted in slight over-exposure, but rather beautiful images none the less.
Earlier I mentioned sadness, and yes despite the joy of the results I obtained from these two films, it is something of a tragedy that this Polaroid film is no longer available, with examples of their 35mm film increasingly hard to find. Had Polachrome continued to have been produced by Polaroid, I’m sure my fridge would be stocked with the stuff! So I guess it’s a message to those fantastic folks in Enschende at the Impossible Project to ask – can you make 35mm polachrome?