Polaroid Image Transfer equipment – how Gary Auerbach works

The Polaroid transfer technique is both easy and fun – once you’ve figured out what equipment to use and where to find it. Gary Auerbach shares his experience.

To send us your experience and information on which equipment you use and where you found it, email info and images to us.

Writer / Gary Auerbach
Photography / Gary Auerbach

Polaroid Image Transfers

Noba stand
The Noba stand shown in this photo has a 8×10 Rajah retrofited. Normally, the Noba body and Heliar lens would have been on it. The stand is on wheels, and has a crank which raises and lowers the camera body, allowing for fast portrait work… not having to deal with finicky tripods. This camera/stand is no longer in my main line of equipment.

Early in my career, at my first studio, I experimented with Polaroid image transfers. I was working with a 4/5 Noba Studio camera ($500.00) and a Heliar older style lens ($250).

This is controlled by an air bulb… which will give a consistant speed shutter but is definately not mechanical.

I would encourage participation of clients on Downtown Saturday Nights the local arts walk. I offered to do three transfers for $15, they would keep two, and I would keep one. I got to make the first selection.

This was 15 years ago, so price was not too out of line. Doing it like this, I got to build a portfolio of polariod image transfers quickly. Two of them are showing here.

I would do a warm transfer on the back of a light box, using Arches paperfor a full laydown, or use Cranes stationary paper if I wanted a more abstract version, with more lift.

Noba 4/5 camera
Photo of the Noba 4/5 camera with 30CM, 300mm 4.5 lens.

Notice the air inlet for the pneaumatic bulb ( soft squeeze gives you 1/10 sec exposure and hard squeeze gives a 1/25 exposure. The electric cord gives me a X’ sync. The 300 Heliar gives a sharp focus on the image plane, but softens considerably in foreground and background. It has a special quality of diffusion. The shutter that works behind the Heliar lens is a packard shutter.

Shooting direct 4×5 type 59 film in a polaroid holder gave me a sharpness in the final image that I have not been able to get through enlarging a smaller negative.

Gary’s images

Polaroid image transfer.
Alice (1991) © Transferred onto Arches paper. Polaroid image transfer.
Polaroid image transfer
Donine (1991) © Transferred onto Cranes paper. Polaroid image transfer.

That’s it! Hopefully you can now get started with the Polaroid techniques.

Gary Auerbach… having seen his early work deteriorate, Gary searched for the more permanent photograph. Platinum became his medium. He also works in Polariod image transfers

Recommended reading on Polaroid Emulsion lifts and transfers, and suppliers
Polaroid Manipulations: A Complete Visual Guide to Creating SX-70, Transfer and Digital Prints

Polaroid Manipulations: A Complete Visual Guide to Creating SX-70, Transfer and Digital Prints

by Kathleen Thormod Carr

Detailed hands-on instructions and step-by-step procedures.

Photographer's Guide to Polaroid Transfer: Step-By-Step

Photographer’s Guide to Polaroid Transfer: Step-By-Step

by Christopher Grey

Tutorials from the winner of the Nikon Certificate of Excellence.


Leave a Comment