Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Single Tree on handmade Paper #1

Last year I took a workshop on making paper with Barbara Fletcher at Western Avenue Studios. I took the course because I knew I wanted to explore handmade paper as a medium for some of my photography. This is the first of that experimentation: Polaroid emulsion lift on handmade paper.

One of the things that is first noticeable is that the image is very glossy compared to when placing it on a flatter surface. Also, the gel regent seems to contract due to not being able to find a harder surface (like commercial watercolor paper) to stretch across. The result is that with the very "topographical" nature of hand-made paper, the image basically hangs between the valleys and pits of the surface and eventually splits and breaks off, so I may have to coat this in a gel medium or something in order to prevent further deterioration.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Impossible Announces PZ 600 Image/Spectra Film for Polaroids

This is just so cool... Impossible just announced that they're selling Polaroid integral film which will work in the Spectra line of cameras. Those are the bigger Polaroid cameras which would shoot wider-format images (as opposed to the typical square) under the names "Spectra", "Image", "1200" and "990". I've always been a bit of a purist when I got into Polaroid and I focused on the older "peel-apart" films. The SX-70 and 600/Onestep cameras were cool with their automatically-developing process, but the images were so small! Spectra kind of fixed that, giving you an image which was about 1/3 bigger. Doesn't seem like a lot, but when you have a small image, it's a big difference. Of all the film that's hard to find, the Spectra/Image/1200 film is probably the hardest. It seems to go bad really fast, faster than the 600 stuff. Don't know why. So this news is good news for me... I'll have to pick up some film from Impossible soon.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Lowell Sun just ran a story about my show

Maxine, the Loading Dock Gallery curator, just told me about this story in today's Lowell Sun, in the "Steppin' Out" section. This definitely ups the anxiety a bit. I actually haven't been anxious that much, but something like this means a lot of people I don't know will pick up the paper, read this story and show up with their critical eye, so there's that voice in me that says "friends will say your work is nice, but strangers can be honest if it's not", so I'm really hoping people enjoy the show. I've been very busy getting ready. And of course the whole crew at the Loading Dock Gallery have been busy as well. I'm pretty excited about tomorrow night. Everyone is invited to the show at 122 Western Avenue in Lowell. The reception is Friday night, from 6-9pm. And I still need to figure out food!

If you're on Facebook, you could put it on your calendar here

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The "Impossible" is about to become possible

When Polaroid announced several years ago that it would be hanging up film products for good, the world responded with a resounding "I though you were already dead?" There were a few folks, like myself, who were still using Polaroid and buying up stashes of Polaroid, but most people weren't too alarmed. Those that were alarmed wiped away the tears and immediately jumped online, started blogs, Flickr groups and even companies devoted to satiating Polaroid fanatics.

Sites like "Save Polaroid" led to sites like "" where you could buy all those crazy film fantasies in the form of Lomo and Holga cameras, Polaroid films and more.

Then something interesting happened. Unsaleable magically became This new Polapremium company specialized in only Polaroid, but not only that, they offered films unavailable and even unknown to the majority of Polaroid fans like myself. "Blue" Type 100 Polaroid film? "Soft focus" Spectra? Even "Chocolate" Polaroid, previously only available to those wealthy enough to afford the 8x10 positives and negatives which ran about $200 a box, but now available for less than $20 a box for your Type 80 or Type 100 camera.

Around the same time, a story came out about some Dutch Polaroid ex-employees who got together to buy up Polaroid's equipment and lease their factory to do what seemed the impossible: bring back Polaroid. This endeavor became known as the Impossible Project, a name coined from a phrase said by Dr. Edwin Land, founder of Polaroid, who said "don't undertake a project unless it is manifestly important and nearly impossible. This group at the Impossible Project decided they were going to make new Polaroid film and even try to make it easier to manufacture since the old Polaroid films used dozens of resources just to make one print. The folks at either company didn't make a big deal about it, but a lot of people noticed that the people with the Impossible Project were connected to Polapremium. Not only that, but Ilford was involved.

Today, we see that this wasn't just talk. Polapremium has changed its name once again, and this time it's "Impossible", a clear connection to The Impossible Project (even the URL gives it away). While much of its stock is depleted, it is clear that Impossible (Project) is serious about an announcement they'll be making in late March, apparently about some new developments they've made for future Polaroid films. 

All I can say is if they announce new large format peel apart film -- especially my beloved Type 55 -- it'll be a great birthday present! Otherwise, I'll be content with some new film for my Onestep.

Imagining Past and Present: a Photo Retrospective by Jeffrey Engel

Not too pretentious a title hopefully! I'll have a solo show from March 3 through 28 at the Loading Dock Gallery in Lowell, MA. An opening reception will be held on Friday March 5th from 6 to 9pm. Some of the work that will be in the show will cover a wide range in terms of age as well as media. I'll have photos from the early '90s, and I'll have recent Polaroid emulsion lift pieces. There is no over-arching theme other than most of the pieces tend to be landscapes or environmental photos.

I'll also have a few hand-made silver-gelatin prints available. I made these at Bill LaPete's lab in South Boston. Bill is a master printer, a genius at his craft, and he'll impart some secrets you never learn in art school if you use his darkroom.