When I got my hands on some expired Polaroid 690 film I really wanted to do something special with the film. I decided to take some photos of a specific neighbourhood in my old hometown in Malmö in Sweden called Möllevången (or Möllan according to the locals).
I grew up in Malmö and I have spent almost 25 years of my life there before I had to leave the city some years ago to move to Germany. Being an expat I have developed a very strange relationship to my home. I have a longing for something that used to be, a place and time that is since long gone because life moves on. Day by day more and more disconnected from the place you used to know so well because that place continues to evolve and change without you being a part of it. Very familiar in a way, but more and more distant as time passes. A memory frozen in time with less and less meaning. A loss worth crying for.
For me “Möllan” has always been something really romantic and exciting. I didn’t grow up in that neighbourhood but I visited it often as I was a child and I often went shopping there with my mother on the local market. Later in my youth I moved to an area just nearby and as I got older I got to know it more and more. Now looking back it feels like I have been to parties in almost every building, spent un-countable nights dancing my arse off in local illegal establishments that were selling everything from cheap imported german beer til moonshine with a crowd high on all kinds of substances. Not a bar or store I haven’t visited, shopped in or wondered how they ever are able to make a living on selling that stuff. Soooo many many late night snacks. I’ve lived on €2 falafel for several years. So much fun even though I haven’t even been a hard-core Möllan resident. I’ve had lots of friends living there but I always prefered to keep some distance and lived somewhere else in the city.
Back to the pictures. I shot the expired Polaroid on my EE100 special instant peel-apart camera. I was quite pleased with the outcome of some of the photos but I wanted to try something more experimenting with the negatives. Unlike the Fujifilm FP-100c it is not possible to bleach the backsides and get a transparent scannable negative. I did scan them all but the outcome wasn’t very exciting. By curiosity I started to wash the negatives to get rid off the white smearing from the developer of the pictures. That’s when I discoved something really interesting! The colours of the negative “melts” in contact with water. The more they are washed the deeper the colours get washed away. It has several layers of colours on to it. Letting the negatives dry on the back only changes the colour composition a little, but by chance I let one of them dry standing. As it got dry some of the colours had moved towards the bottom and the picture got really smeared out. It looked very melancholic. To me it illustrates perfectly the feeling of longing home and being disconnected to a place I love so very much.
Internet is fantastic. Eventhough Polaroid stopped manufacturing their films almost 10 years ago it is still possible to get your hands on some expired film on the internet. On ebay I managed to find an offer to buy 8 packages of instant Polaroid film expired in 2004. Not the cheapest offer but still less expensive than buying the newly manufactured version from Fuji. Then again you get something really special for the money.
I wasn’t sure if it was going to work at all since it was expired more than ten years ago so I was a bit nervous when I put the film in the camera. Just deciding what to shoot with this really special film was difficult since felt like I had a responsibility not just to waste it.
The Polaroid 690 is a 125 ISO speed film which was manufactured by Polaroid. It has a more yellow, or warmer tones to it than other films. It is a peel-apart type so you also get a negative to play around with. It turned out that the yellow tones were enhanced by the aging of the film so the film came out with an extreme yellow tint to it.
The above shots where taken outside Tjörnarp in Sweden and from Möllevången in Malmö. The camera I used was a Polaroid EE100 Special and I scanned the pictures using an Epson Perfection V700.
I like the films from the Impossible Project. When I first read about this film which only consists of different colours blue I became really curious. I bought one copy in the local Impossible Store and later I bought two more online on the internet when they released the 600-version (which I have to use together with an ND-filter to prevent over exposure) in my SX-70 camera.
Unfortunately this film ended up being a big disappointment. Only in three out of eight exposures it was possible to even recognize what it was supposed to be. Three just came out blank out of my camera and in one of the shots I was able to make something visible after some heavy burning and dodging in Photoshop. The reason I do analogue in the first place is to avoid too much postprocessing so you can imagine my frustration. At the price of €2 a shot five failures becomes really annoying.
Maybe its my camera that doesn’t work properly, maybe it is the film. Anyway it sucks… I still have two more film packages to use but I sort of feel it is a waiste to time and energy. I’ll definitively stay away from their new purple coloured version.
OMG, OMG, OMG. This is THE reason to do black and white Polaroid photography. I own several different softwares and plugins to Lightroom to emulate different instant films but there is not a chance that they can simulate anything remotely as cool as this. Its dirty messy (handling the negative side is a horror out on a trip), they are easily scrathed and damaged and there is beforehand not a chance to even guess what is going to come out in the end. I love it!
The Fujifilm FP-3000b consists of two sides. One positive print and a negative which you normally would throw away. The negative has got the film emulsion on it so it is really sticky and dirty (probably unhealthy aswell so I would advice everyone not to touch it without gloves). If you let the negative dry for a few hours it is possible to scan it using a decent scanner. Inverting it in photoshop will leave you with a “normal” black and white photo, but with a very different look. It concists mainly of greytones. The blacks and the white tones move slightly to grey so the photo gets a really interesting look to it. It is actually somewhat sharper than the positive print (of you are careful with the negative and clean it properly without damaging the surface) and the dynamic range is somewhat increased. It is for example possible to see alot more details in the shadow area in comparison to the positive print.
The benefits do not end there. The negative gives you an amazing creative freedom to play around a little. You can decide to leave the emulsion on or clean it off. Cleaning it will make the picture a lot sharper while leaving the goop on will give it a more “dirty” look. If you clean it too much some of the negative might wash off and then it will look in a complete different way. The most interesting thing I have discovered is the ability to solarize the negative. If you separate the picture before, or on time with the developing, it is possible to solarize the picture. Hold it under a lamp or leave it to dry the negative in the sun and you will see some really nice effects. The complete dark areas will turn out white while the grey tones are left intact. Very nice.
If I will ever find another deal on cheap FP-3000b I will definitively stock up some more. This is really fun to do and delivers fantastic results. I wasn’t especially impressed with the FP-3000b positive print but this makes it all worth it!
The Fujifilm FP-3000b instant peel-apart film was actually the whole reason I bought a Polaroid EE 100 special in the first place. I wanted to do instant photography for quite some time but since I was busy with other cameras I never really had a reason to buy a whole new system. But since I do “some” reading on the internet I came across an article about Fujifilm discontinuing their black and white peel-apart film called FP-3000b. I thought it was “now or never” and immediately bought myself a camera in the local photostore. The film, since it is being discontinued is very expensive. For a pack with ten exposures I had to in the beginning cough up with €20 which is a bit too hefty… The polaroid EE100 special camera is not exactly the easiest camera in the world to handle so a lot of photos get waisted. With €2 a shot a failed photo becomes very, very annoying. I have probably waisted two packs of film just learning how to handle this type of film. I almost gave up since almost every photo I took in the beginning ended up in the garbage can.
After a while I’ve learned a few tricks. Breathe slowly, press the shutter button gently, and always make sure the scene is well lit. The brighter it is, the smaller the aperture becomes and the more depth of field is available. Low light situations are just ridiculous. I still haven’t managed to produce a single indoor shot that I have been satisfied with. Eventhough the film is rated ISO3200 the Polaroid camera is not very sensitive to light meaning that the shutter times are way longer than I expected in the beginning. Motion blur can be such an annoying thing…
I almost gave up… but then I slowly started to like the film more and more. I still prefer the colour film from Fuji (that one i also a bit cheaper) but the greytones are just amazing and it is possible to do some really cool stuff with the negative (maybe some more about that later). When I get a photo I like it really becomes worth it. Luckely I managed to find some packs on the internet for about €15 a piece on so now I have stocked up a little for future use. My plan is to never use it in my current polaroid camera. I have now bought a better version (a Mamiya Universal with a Polaroid back) very very cheep at ebay. I guess there will more about that later aswell. Hopefully that will suite this type of film better!
I’ve managed to find myself 8 packs of Polaroid 690.
Does anyone know how to use this film?
Can the negative be scanned??
Does it need to be peeled after 90 seconds or is it self-terminating like the FP-100c???
I will probably use it on my Polaroid EE100 special.
I am curious if it even works. It was expired in 2004.
This has been my fourth attempt with the Lomochrome Purple so far. Since I hade problems with the exposure levels in the other two films I recently used, I came up with the (not so) great idea of changing the ISO-settings in the middle of the film. That was a bad idea and most of the photos where beyond saving. Since I haven’t got the right batteries for my Konica Autoreflex I hade the idea of changing the ISO to 400 instead of 200 which I used on the previous two rolls. I knew that my last to rolls where overexposed so the idea was to trick the camera to be able to make shorter exposures. This didn’t turn out very well and most of the pictures had to be thrown away.
I managed to save a few which all have a really weird colour cast to them. They also turned out extremely faded, with a lack of detail in the shadow area and yellow instead of purple.The only one pictures which where shot with the right ISO-settings is the one in the header and the one with the flowers in the bottom.
I wonder if this was caused during development or in the camera?