Am I the only photographer who still has any Polaroid Type 85 left? I think I might be. It makes me sad.
Today I had a great shoot with Zinn Star. We worked mostly with my Rollei but broke off for a few minutes to waste away a package of Polaroid Type 85 that I had never put in the fridge for storage. I think the last pack I was able to purchase was in 2006. I’ve been storing refrigerators full of it but wanted to see what a package would do that hadn’t been stored appropriately. I kind of like it a lot.
These are, of course, solarized. A technique of peeling the polaroid apart before it’s fully exposed (about 10 seconds) and then holding the negative up to the sun so it tweaks the chemicals to make the shadows do really amazing things. They become lighter in spots on the negative, where as the shadows on the positive stay completely black. But what happened with the expired film was the brownish erosion at the top and bottom. To me it looks a bit like out of focus vines or leaves trying to take over a scene as if an abandoned building would attract the same.
Sadly, positive/negatives films are being overrun by the environment. The chemicals are getting old and rotting the films like they would old wooden floorboards of a house. I’m glad I have a lot of it left still… this makes me want to preserve it even more. I know those photographers who still have their positive/negative polaroid films feel the same. This is magical to us. We aren’t really into the other Polaroid Types…. they don’t have actual negatives. So I raise a toast to all the photographers out there moaning through each pack of film knowing that you can’t hoard it, you have to shoot it, and the day it’s completely gone will certainly be upon all of us.