Friday, January 29, 2010

The value of using the good stuff

You know what's fun?  Making Polaroid transfers.  In a nutshell, it involves taking a photo (or copying another image) using Polaroid peel-apart film.  And then prematurely separating the negative and positive of the Polaroid and using the negative of the Polaroid film to transfer the image onto another surface.  Many people use watercolor paper as the transfer surface.

I'm enchanted with the process, but it takes a number of different steps and there are variables -- wet or dry paper, how warm to keep the paper while it's developing, how much time to allow the film to develop before separating it, etc.  I've experimented with a lot of different ways of doing things and it's always educational, even if I don't get something I like.

A few months ago I was out of watercolor paper, so I bought a different type of paper from what I had used previously.  It was sort of environmentally friendly paper, which was a plus.

So a few weeks ago I got out all my Polaroid-transfer-making equipment to make a batch of transfers and ack!  Everything I got was awful awful awful.  This made me a little sad because no matter what variables I experimented with, they all looked terrible.  Such as this guy:

Then I got a notice that a local art supply store was having a sale on Arches watercolor paper, which is sort of the gold standard of watercolor paper.  It's beautifully made and has been made beautifully for something ridiculous like 600 years and it's what I'd been using prior to my other watercolor paper experiment.

That's more like it.

To learn more about the Polaroid transfer process, check out this entry on AlternativePhotography.  Relatedly, see (terrific) local photographer Jane Linders's post about making Polaroid emulsion lifts here.

(For more Polaroid transfers, see Tiffany Teske's amazing work here.)

No comments:

Post a Comment