The Polaroid image transfer technique is both easy and fun – once you’ve figured out what equipment to use and where to find it. Wendy Cook shares her experience.
I became intrigued by polaroid emulsion transfers many years ago. Soon after I discovered the process, I was on the qui vive for a Polaroid 180 land camera and searched ebay until I found one in good working condition. Unlike using the daylab printer – which is a wonderful tool – I decided to use the camera because it was so spontaneous and because I did my transfers outside in the elements: right on the side walks of NYC! I was never really certain what my final results would be.
I enjoyed the mystery of it all and was never disappointed.
I didn’t have a method to picking my subjects. I would just wander until something caught my eye or if the light was falling just so.
I carried with me a clipboard (to hold my paper), a jar of vaseline for my fingers (so they would slide easier on the back of the film as I rubbed), wet wipes to clean up and a thermos of hot water. After shooting the photograph, I would pour the hot water from the thermos onto my receiving paper, place the peeled portion of the 679 film onto the paper and rub the back with my fingers. I like to check the image by lifting a corner before I completely peel away the backing.
I believe the temperature of the air and the water as it cooled throughout the day created variations in the prints, but that made it sort of an adventure. In NYC there is a trash can on just about every corner, so clean-up was easy.
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