Impossible Project Silver Shade Film: so very temperature sensitive

The Impossible Project (the IP) has been releasing their re-engineered integral films for use in Polaroid cameras this year, and before trying out any manipulations or lifts, Elizabeth took two versions of their monochrome film for a test drive in a Polaroid 600 camera to view their unique characteristics.

Writer and photography / Elizabeth Graves

PX600 First Flush (exposed cool)
PX600 First Flush exposed while still cold from the refrigerator.

PX 600 First Flush is an early version of the IP’s experimental monochrome (sepia) film which produces cool tones if exposed while cold, and warmer tones if exposed while warm. Here is a sample of images taken within 20 minutes of the film’s removal from the refrigerator, with the top images taken when the film was cold, and the lower right taken as it thawed.

First Flush images are not considered to be stable and come with strict storage instructions. I shot these recently, and have not yet observed how they will age.


Samples of PX600 affected by hot weather
Samples of PX600 affected by hot weather

A later edition of PX 600 film arrived during a May heat wave of about 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 C). All of the warnings about the temperature sensitivity of this media proved immediately true: the first images I took were nearly illegible squares of solid orange-brown. I put the remaining two packages of film into the refrigerator, and decided to try again in July. The initial heat impact proved to be permanent: the images shot on a cool, partly cloudy day were orange-brown and lacked any dark tones, which limited its contrast:

The heat-impacted images also proved unstable: here is what they look like now:

PX600 faded after storage in a box
Heat-affected PX600 8 weeks later

The Impossible Project’s new monochrome Silver Shade integral film has a great deal of potential, and can make some lovely images: the temperature requirements of early versions of the film and its lack of long-term stability are challenging, and may be impractical for some users.

The IP is coming out with new versions regularly, each with a slightly new composition: keep in mind that this media remains experimental, and choose the experiments you choose to use on it with this in mind.

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