My SX-70 broke two or three months ago, and in between moving house and packing, I staved off sending him away for repair until I was all settled into my new place. I was unpacking some of my boxes of cameras recently and dusted my SX-70 off to pack for posting; but not before quickly giving him a test with an empty cartridge re-filled with used shots. Surprisingly, he seemed to be firing again, which is what he had stopped doing despite my best efforts all of those months before. To be sure, I gave the camera a good clean inside and manually wound the mirror down. Lo and behold, I have one of my favourite cameras working again – happy face. 🙂
I like all of my Polaroid cameras for their different capabilities. The SX-70 is great for getting closer to what I’m photographing and with the cable release, self-portraits are a bit easier. It’s also wonderful for creating longer exposures, particularly at night. So needless to say, I’ve been shooting rather a lot this past fortnight. I had a pack of 600 film with silver Round frames, which I used without an ND filter both at night and indoors during the afternoon. At night I turned the light/dark wheel all the way to lighten. And during the day I did the opposite and dialed it down to the darkest setting. In both conditions it worked well, and since the film is expired there are some funky colour results (which I like).
I’ve taken about 50 Polaroids on my SX-70 since repairing it and last week I was cutting up one of those Polaroids to make an emulsion lift. This was when I discovered that it had a negative. I haven’t noticed this on any of the other film types from Impossible, and I even cut up a few others from previous batches just to check. The lift that I made I ended up not liking, and so I scanned the negative after giving it a bit of a clean in warm water. The emulsion doesn’t lift that easy so it got scratched up quite a bit – another thing I like the look of, to be honest. Then I left it to dry on a worktop, which can be a precarious decision when you have cats! However it survived the process and I ended up with an eerie looking scan.
This discovery inspired me to cut up a few more Polaroids shot on the same batch of film to find out if there were more negatives, and I was happy to see that there were. It’s testament to the beauty of the SX-70 and it’s design, how much detail is in these negatives. The original shots didn’t look quite as crisp as the scans of the negatives do, which is ultimately why I’d been making a lift out of the first cut up Polaroid. I tend to do that a lot with Polaroids I don’t really like the look of, since emulsion lifts can add a new texture and ability to ‘re-shape’ an image. Anyways, here are two more of the negatives that I scanned.
After several years of using Impossible film, it’s thrilling to still be discovering wonderful new ways to work with it! You can view the detail in these scans more closely, along with more of my new work, in my self-portrait gallery – www.elegia.co/lionheart/cellar-door 🙂