June 13, 2008
The end of Polaroid
As you probably gathered, the
Polaroid Manipulation page hasn't been updated for about four years. Partly because I've been experimenting with other photography, but mostly because the film used to manipulate Polaroids (SX-70) has been discontinued.
I experimented late last year with some expired SX-70 film but the results just weren't as vibrant as the ones using the 'fresh' film back in 2003.
Now, Polaroid itself - the iconic instant film - is going the way of the dodo, and it's sad...
There are petitions on Flickr and Facebook to save the Polaroid, but fans are fighting a losing battle.
A deal was hoped to be reached with Ilford who might have been able to take on production of Polaroid film but no agreement was reached.
It is inevitable that digital was going to take over, but sometimes you just want a throwaway image in your hand, or a one-off image that can't be duplicated in its original form. There is something romantic about the Polaroid and it doesn't just appeal to older folk who are used to film.
Presumably some 3rd party will begin making equivalent film as there's certainly a market for it.
August 22, 2004
Piccadilly Circus Polaroid Manipulation
Another SX-70 Polaroid Manipulation (no Photoshop). I didn't get around to manipulating this until several hours after I took the photo, so it could have turned out a little better- the emulsion tends to harden very quickly. Ideally, you should do it within 15-30 minutes maximum after the photo develops.
Barcelona Polaroid Manipulation
An older Polaroid manipulation I hadn't gotten around to uploading! Taken on the beach near Port Vell, Barcelona. December 2003.
June 14, 2004
Abbey Rd Polaroid by Kim Gilmour
It's been a while, but here's a new Polaroid Maipulation - this one's of Abbey Road, St John's Wood. It's a fairly short walk to the studios, and despite it being 8.30pm (and still light) there were quite a few tourists milling around. If I'd been there a few hours earlier, the colours would have turned out more vibrant. Still, I'm happy with it because it's been many months since I've done one!
Also: did you this site has an RSS feed?
March 18, 2004
St Pauls Cathedral Polaroid
It has been a while since a new Polaroid has been posted. Winter seems to drain the light and colour out of London, two things that you need for a good Polaroid photo. Stay tuned for more colourful Polaroid Manipulations as Spring approaches.
In the meantime, this is St Pauls Cathedral photographed as usual with an old Polaroid SX-70 camera on a rather drab day. I manipulated the emulsion while it was still wet to give it a painterly feel.
November 07, 2003
London Telephone Box
Yep, it is a red london telephone box. It is a polaroid which I've manipulated using the famous wooden skewer. No photoshop.
Above, tools of the 'trade'.
October 30, 2003
Leicester Square, Empire Theatre
The famous Empire movie theatre in Leicester Square. That's pronounced "Lester", not "Lye Sesster" as I've overheard many an American say.
It is an SX-70 Polaroid Manipulation. I shot the Polaroid while walking to work this morning, then sat down for 10minutes with a wooden skewer smushing the emulsion around. Voila.
You can see all our Polaroid Manipulations here.
London Tube Map, Manipulated
A bit of craziness here. This is a Polaroid photograph of the London tube map. While the emulsion was still soft, I smushed it around and around and around like chewing gum until I was left with this. It is complete nonsense, but maybe closer to the geographical truth than the official map.
October 25, 2003
Trial and error with Polaroids
It's probably also worth putting a few somewhat failed attempts at SX-70 Polaroid Manipulation in this gallery. Not everything can turn out like Van Gogh! Here's what happens when the manipulation's initial exposure meant the photo came out way too dark, coupled with messing around with the emulsion when it was too wet (like about two minutes after I took it). Last of all, the actual subject matter wasn't too hot, either. This is not a particularly arresting scene. It is not a total failure though so I thought I'd put it up here anyway. Check out the other more successful ones we've done :)
October 24, 2003
Another SX-70 Polaroid Manipulation, this time of the new Jubilee Bridge across the Thames in London. Taken on a cold and windy October 24th and manipulated using a wooden skewer while on the top deck of a London Bus!
I have noticed that certain colours are more suited to manipulation, especially blue and red. This probably has something to do with the emulsion layers and primary colours.
October 22, 2003
Trafalgar Square Lion, plus Polaroid close up!
You may be wondering what one of these maniupluated Polaroids looks like close up. Well, here's one I did of one of the Lions at Trafalgar Square, London (black doesn't smudge well!) and underneath is a close-up example of what it looks like!
October 19, 2003
Cutty Sark, Greenwich
The famous Cutty Sark tea clipper, now in Greenwich, UK.
This is a polaroid sx-70 manipulation, which is to say I used nothing more than a wooden skewer to smoosh around the emulsion of a polaroid shot. There is no Photoshop here and no digital effects.
October 18, 2003
Tower Bridge, Thames
This is Tower Bridge on the Thames. The Polaroid on the left is an SX-70 manipulation by me, the one on the right by Kim (easily the best of the two), both photos being taken within a minute of one another. The yellow dots are due to a defect in the old camera, but I kind of like it.
October 13, 2003
We went to Walthamstow markets (postcode: E17) for the first time yesterday. An extended Leather Lane/Chapel Street (I work in Clerkenwell) for the senses, a Portobello Rd without the tourists (or the antiques), a mile of shopping without the fashion, and a "cacaphony" of activity. And what photo do I take? A brick building just above one of the market stalls for Polaroid purposes. I did take about half a dozen photos with my film camera, but there are still 30 left on the roll so it'll be a while before those are seen.
Special thanks go to the people who have linked to this site - in particular, we were Coolstop pick of the day on Saturday, and mentioned in a whole string at Things Magazine who didn't find this through the weblog index listings but through, believe it or not, Reflectoporn - but the link isn't as bizarre as you may think. The magazine I work for coined the word, and a colleague registered the domain. To drive more traffic to my old site I put a Reflectoporn gallery on it and from there, Things Magazine found my new site.
A word about my old site
The three or four people who used to visit KimGilmour.com have been wondering what's happened to it. Well, I just got bored of it! I can't think of anything else to put on it, really. I'm not looking for work, so I'm not going to turn it into a CV, and I don't want to turn it into a weblog again. And so it's gone into hibernation, but when it comes up for renewal next month I'll re-register it.
October 11, 2003
Who needs Photoshop...?
Well, although there was no Photoshop involved in the manipulation of this SX-70 Polaroid film, I did use it when scanning this image in of these Trafalgar Square smoochers! But apart from the scan and a slight sharpen, there are no special digital effects here. I used a keyring, a stick and a skewer to get these effects. The photo was taken at around 4.30pm today. No one was actually in the fountain - it's getting a little too cold for that! I purposely left the sky as it was.
SX-70 Polaroid Manipulation, Nelson's Column, Trafalgar Square
Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square, London today. This is a polaroid manipulation - using a nailstick I moved the emulsion of the Polaroid around about 15 minutes after exposure.
October 10, 2003
More Polaroid Manipulations of London
Some more Polaroid manipulations, sans Photoshop.
SX70, or TimeZero, film consists of photographic emulsion sandwiched between plastic. It takes several hours to harden and can be smushed around while still soft using keys, skewers, cuticle sticks, coins, or anything else. You need somewhat of a decent photograph to begin with.
October 03, 2003
Millennium Bridge... Van Gogh-like?
This is a photo of the London Millennium Bridge taken with an ancient Polaroid SX-70 camera bought for L7 off eBay. The emulsion stays soft for hours after taking a photo and can be manipulated using sticks or anything sharp that you can find lying around. So there is no Photoshop in this picture.