Thursday, June 2, 2011

Photography Magic from The Impossible Project!

Fun Fact: The "I Got a New Camera" song sounds suspiciously similar to the "I've Got a Dollar" song.

Just in case you were wondering.

So, I could tell you a long drawn out story about how I won this delightful new camera you're about to hear me brag about, but the camera isn't really the important part. Neither is the film I got for it, which is a photography thing I've been lusting after for the last 4 years.

The important part, really, is that this film exists at all.

Some of us might remember, back in the long long ago, when analog roamed the earth, that there was a thing called print photography. But humans, being the impatient, insatiable beasts that they are, decided that printing your own photos, by hand, was too long and arduous a process. They wanted vacation snapshots nownownow.

And, lo, a company called Polaroid was called forth from out of the void, and gave unto us INSTANT FILM. Pictures that were developed AS YOU WATCHED. With all the chemical doohickeys locked in the image itself! It was the stuff of magic. Magic and endless snapshots of your dog, and your feet, and anything else you could imagine.

The colors in Polaroid instamatic film weren't as clear as the colors in regular ole film. The edges were never quite as sharp. But who cares. (I never did.) They were PRETTY and they were FAST and, if you were the creative sort, there were all sorts of neat modification-widgety things you could do to your film.

Then digital happened. And, let's face it, digital killed the analog star. Polaroid film couldn't compete with this new wave of cheap, instant photography. The company folded their film production division in 2008. SAD TIMES.


Shortly after Polaroid broke all of our instant photograph-loving hearts, several intrepid ex-Polaroid employees came together to save the world. Or maybe just start making instant film again. With their 500 years (combined) of accumulated knowledge and experience with Polaroid film, cameras and production, production machinery purchased from Polaroid, and even the space of an old Polaroid production plant, our heroes swore Nay! We shall not let analog instant photography shrivel in the sun of new technology! We shall invent anew, and give rise to a new, better, instant analog film type! And we will save the 300,000,000 already existing Polaroid instant cameras from living sad lives on peoples shelves, and in closets, and in landfills!

Then, with a mighty roar, and some explosions, and a Tesla coil or three, they made it happen.

(Ok, I made most of that up. The details, anyway. The facts are still true.)

I followed the story of The Impossible Project from the second it was announced, waiting, anxiously, for them to give me new film to feed my Polaroid I-Zone.

(This is a Polaroid I-Zone, a last-ditch effort from Polaroid in 1999 to drum up interest in analog instant photography. Targeted at the Teen/Tweenager market, it took postage stamp sized pictures with an astounding lack of clarity or depth. It sucked. I loved it. There is no way in hell The Impossible Project, or anyone else in their right mind, will ever make film for it ever again.)

In 2010, TIP began production of its new films, PX 100 and PX 600, made for use in Polaroid's most common instamatics, SX-70s and 600s. (And some others, like the Spectra. You have an internet, you can Google these things.) Like many specialty products, it was priced just beyond my price point for fun things. So I gazed longingly at the website, and dreamed of a day when I would have the disposable income to play with my Polaroid cameras again.

Fast forward to the other week, when I mindlessly (but excitedly) entered a contest on Jeff Hamada's most excellent blog, BOOOOOOOOM, to win a camera and two shiny new packs of Impossible Project film. IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT FILM, I thought. HOT DAMN YES PLEASE.

Sometimes I forget that Boom (sorry, Jeff, I can't keep counting those O's) is a super popular blog with a brajillion readers - so I was a little surprised when my inbox was suddenly flooded with the thousands of responses the contest generated. Since I was a tiny speck in an infinite sea of awesome entries, I mostly forgot about it.

Til last week, when Jeff emailed me to tell me that I'd won.

Wait, what?


So here we are now. I opened the door today to find this (and this is where I spare you the boring pictures of things like a standard size USPS shipping box sitting on my doorstep):

please enjoy this cameo appearance from everyone's favourite vibrant, healthy, long-lived cactus.

A new (to me) Polaroid Sun660, and two packs of Impossible Project film - 1 of their new PX-70 Color Shade PUSH, and 1 of the PX 600 Silver Shade.

While I am COMPLETELY aware of the irony in using myNikon CoolPix digital to take pictures of my NEW POLAROID CAMERA AND FILM, I just couldn't justify using such wonderful, anticipated new product on a shot of - well, itself.

I have grand plans for these 16 shots. Some Rock Paper Scissors Championship action, to be followed up by a road trip to Montana/Idaho with @woodardj, destination: IronMan.

In the meantime, I'm going to go back to grinning at my new film, figuring out how to make Instant Film Transparencies, and singing the I've Got A Camera song. (It's pretty terrible. Not as terrible as the I-zone. But I love it all the same.)

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