Tuesday, 18 February 2014

(Don't) Shake it like a Polaroid Picture - testing out Impossible Project film

My collection of original Polaroids..

Years ago, just before the end of original Polaroid film I discovered a brilliant polaroid camera in a charity shop on my lunch break (below). Just look at his happy grin! I took photos with my Tasmanian Devil cam at parties and weekends away and eventually built up quite a stack of polaroids that I now cherish. I love how 'spur of the moment' they are. My favourite is probably one I took of my friends forming a human pyramid in my old flat. If this had been taken digitally I don't think it would quite have captured the 'QUICK - get on top!!' moment when my friend Laura bravely (and precariously) climbed to the peak, before the everyone in the pyramid collapsed to the ground.

I was sad when Polaroid film became extinct, and ended up buying quite a few out of date films from eBay but they gradually declined in quality and the pictures became too dark to make out. So I was happy to hear that the Impossible Project were making Polaroid films available again, though sadly my budget prevented me from purchasing their film. I did buy a second-hand Fuji Instax Mini which worked very well, and the films were okay in price if bought in bulk, but I still missed using my original Polaroid camera. So last Christmas I dropped a big hint to my brother, and he kindly bought me 3 packs of Polaroid 600 film, with coloured frames! Hurrah! I couldn't wait to try them out.

Above: a new Polaroid compared to a Fuji Instax mini photo

 For anyone wondering about the quality of the film there are a few things to bear in mind before forking out..

1. They like the darkness
Unlike the old films, these ones need to be put into a dark place straight away if possible, to develop - straight into a pocket, or a drawer for example.
2. Wait... and wait
Instead of developing in front of your eyes, they take around 30-40 mins to fully develop. But this can mean you forget about the pictures you've taken, only to discover them in your pocket the next day!

3. They can be unreliable outdoors

The ones I've taken outdoors so far (above) have been quite shaky and not great in quality. I wondered if this was because there's a lot more light outside. The ones I took in the evenings with the flash came out fine, perhaps as they weren't as exposed to sunlight when they first popped out of the camera.
4. They're best for shots of people a few metres away
..at least this is what I've found. So they are great for parties or events where you'd like to capture a unique shot of friends.
5. The colours aren't quite as vivid as they could be
One shot I took turned out quite sepia in tone, but I like it anyway! So overall the quality isn't as spot on as the original Polaroid films, but they are still worth buying and experimenting with if you share a love for all things instant. I'd quite like to try the black & white films next.


  1. I got a Polaroid camera for a few quid, but one pack of film was £25 and I find myself scared to use it, I have to 'plan' the photos (sounds quite sad haha), because I can't risk them coming out badly. I love Polaroids though, and will probably continue to fork out for the film. These coloured ones look great don't they :)

    1. I know what you mean about having to plan your shots! I decided to just use my first film when I got it but the other two packs are stored in my fridge and I'll be saving them for special occasions!

  2. I never used the original polaroid film but I am enjoying using an old polaroid camera and have bought some impossible film. I have only taken a few pictures so far and agree the quality isn't as high as I would have thought for £2 a photo but I still enjoy the nature of the photograph. I'm keen to get some gold frame ones, but wish they did them in black and white instead of colour.

    1. The gold and silver frames are lovely.

  3. You have a fantastic collection of memories here, and as you say digital just wouldn't have captured that spontaneity in quite the same way. I've been to a few weddings recently that have featured Fuji Instax but it's such a shame not to see Polaroids around so much these days. I love these colored frames, what a brilliant present! Long live Lo Fi photography!

  4. I like the idea of going back to film for some of my shots, it would be interesting to have the mystery of not knowing exactly what's on the film again! Excellent camera, my bro would have loved that when we were kids :)

  5. Agreed and agreed. Yours turned out great!


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