Polaroid “painting” – the camera and the film.


I’m often asked about the technique I use for my Polaroid photographs.  The first essential is an SX70 Polaroid camera – these come in a few different variations  – I have 3 of them ( just in case !) – and a variety of lenses. The camera looks impressively like a brick when it is closed, and when I  first got one on Ebay I had to google for more information on how to actually open it !


What makes this camera so special is that it used film variously called SX70 or TimeZero which did not harden immediately . This made it possible to manipulate the emulsion for a period. Although there is still a little of this film around it is nearly all pretty expired by now and so very temperamental to use. This is the film I started off with though – a combination of great colour and ease of manipulation.

Now that I am working with mostly expired film and also with some “last gasp” Polaroid film that they made with old chemicals before closing the factory down, the results are a bit more unpredictable. Even more unpredictable is what I should really say, as part of the fun was that you could never be entirely sure of the result.

However there are glimmers of light on the horizon. An enterprising Austrian, who has been sourcing and selling the last stocks of Polaroid film ,has now taken on “The Impossible Project” . He has bought the old Polaroid factory in Enschede ( The Netherlands) and has set himself the task of resuming production within a year.  Ambitious doesn’t even begin to describe the project, but everyone who has ever enjoyed shooting with Polaroid film will be crossing their fingers.

If you do have an SX70 camera lurking in your attic there is one other solution for the time being. Although discontinued and fairly pricey, you can still obtain Polaroid 600 film. You can’t manipulate it – but it will give you a bit more time shooting. There are a few technical issues in using this film with  an SX70 camera – but the easiest method , in my opinion, is to stick a reusable filter over the film before inserting it. You can make your own, or order them ready made.


Thanks to PushPixels  for reminding me about the wonderful little corporate promo film made about the SX70 camera .


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