Saturday, 25 February 2012

How To: Do an Emulsion Lift on Polaroid Film

  I have recently discovered the joys of doing emulsion lifts on polaroid film and now im highly addicted.  Shooting polaroids is fun in itself but the different manipulations you can do with the film after you've got the image are amazing.  I currently only have 2 Polaroid cameras cameras that shoot both SX70 and 600 film so i haven't yet been able to try this with peel-apart pack film but im on the lookout for a pack film camera.  A bit of interent research has shown me that apparently this doesn't work on the original Polaroid SX70 and 600 films but will work on all films made by the Impossible Project.  I decided to give it a try using some Orange Flash film i recently got from them.  It worked great so i thought i would write a tutorial so you can all have a try too.

For starters you will need the following equipment:
  • 2 trays
  • at least 2 small soft bristled brushes
  • watercolour paper 
  • a sharp craft knife or a pair of scissors
  • warm and cool water
  The first step is to put some warm water (between 30 and 40 degrees celsius) into one of your trays and some cool room temperature water into the second tray.  Now use your knife/scissors to start removing the white borders around the film.  One this has all been stripped off you should be left with a transparent plastic rectangle with your polaroid image on.

  Now, put your polaroid into the warm water and push it around a little for around 20 minutes.
You may see the film start to wrinkle up a little-thats fine, its just the water getting in.  The corners may start to lift a little also.
  Now, use one brush to keep the polaroid still and use the other to very slowly and gently peel the emulsion up off the white under layer.  Take your time doing this as it is very easy to tear the emulsion.
 Once the emulsion is all off gently lift it out of the warm water and into the tray with the cool water in it.

   Now place in a square of watercolour paper and lay it under the emulsion.  Use your brushes to spread your emulsion out into the shape you want above the watercolour paper.

  Once you have it laid out how you want it then its time to lift the paper out.  A handy tip is to find a coaster made of cork and slide it under your paper.  This floats the paper with the image on to the surface of the water, allowing you to remove the paper without the emulsion sliding off.  Once your paper is out leave it somewhere to dry for a few hours then admire your finished article.

  And that's it!  Simple really.  Have a try yourself - you can even stick the emulsion to other materials like wood if you fancy!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Fleetwood Marsh Wrecks

  Don’t ever go to a marsh when the tide is in.  And if you do go don’t take your wife who, although lovely, has no balance whatsoever.  Such was my lesson learnt after a few hours at Fleetwod Marsh Nature Reserve one sunny Saturday afternoon a week or so ago.  The marsh is located on the west coast of the UK, just north of Blackpool and aside from housing a variety of wildlife contains multiple wrecked and rotting boats which i had seen online and was rather keen on shooting.  When I, my wife Jess and our friend Paul went the tide was in and the water had filled the metre or so deep channels that ran from the coastline inland towards the footpath full of very cold water.  These are what Jess kept falling in up to her waist.  I really felt sorry for her as she isn’t warm at the best of times and this water must have tipped her over the edge.  She braved the outside for a further hour or so after her final fall though – all credit to her!  It was a bit of a rushed shoot as i wanted jess to get somewhere warm so i shot a quick roll and we piled back into the car with the heaters on full blast on the journey home.  When i developed the film at home i discovered my developer had expired so my negatives were covered in streaky blues.  Useless.  Jess on the other hand had had taken a beautiful shot of one of the wrecks - the colours were fantastic and the composition spot on.  She really does have a superb eye for photography and you can see her shot here

  Following my C41 failure I decided to take a Friday off work and head back to shoot in black and white.  I checked the weather and i was promised sun so when Friday came i packed my bag and headed out.  The weather was just as good as my first visit and i had timed it so that the tide was fully out.  Having been there before i had a good idea of some of the shots i wanted to take and what gear i would need.  I love shooting with other people but sometimes its nice to be alone to really take your time and get the exposures and compositions right.  With the water back out to sea the land was mostly very soft mud which prevented me from getting right up to the shoreline so i stayed a little inland.  Getting up to the wrecks took a little manoeuvring but it was so much easier with the channels empty.  It was nice to have the time to picture the finished shot in my mind and compose/expose accordingly. 

  I developed the film as soon as i got home and im really happy with the results.  I’ll probably head back at some point soon-im wondering how the shots will turn out with the infra red film i have in my freezer...