Portrait of a Polaroid: Fire & Ice

Not too long ago, an online friend of mine said facetiously, while defending his choice to use toy cameras and expired film, “It’s just a matter of praying as hard as you can for the end result not to be crap.”  Of course, the opposite of that statement is true.  If you want your end results “not to be crap” when working with toy cameras or expired film, you must work hard, as you would with any other tools, and pay attention to what you are doing.  Possibly even more attention than when working with ordinary equipment and media.

I learned as much when I found myself in the unenviable predicament of being required to work with expired film if I wanted to continue to work with my preferred film and camera combination.  Of course, there wasn’t really a choice.  It’s not that I wanted to continue to work with Time-Zero film in my SX-70.  I had to.  I had spent a lot of time observing my camera’s behavior in different situations, but with the high cost of even expired film, it became more necessary than ever to quickly discover the limitations and features of an expired pack to best incorporate the attributes of the film into the photos.  Each pack is unique, making the task even tougher.  I miss my non-expired Time-Zero film, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some of the results I’ve had from my expired film.

Here’s one of my favorite models again.  She is also a photographer, and we were shooting together on the ice of Lake Superior.

The Fire in Her Eye

The Fire in Her Eye

From the same day on the ice…

Aurora Borealis

Aurora Borealis

Sometimes the results can be singular…



Sometimes the additions to what the photo might be are like gold…



My hipster daughter…

Old School

Old School

The reds from expired Time-Zero can burn red if the light is warm enough, as is the case here.

the light of sweet remembrance

the light of sweet remembrance

While the welcome accidents certainly play their role in shooting expired film, planning goes a long way to ensure the judicious use of precious film.  I will keep shooting till the money runs out.

The second in a series chronicling the transitions and decline of an aristocrat of film types, Polaroid Time-Zero film… Polaroids by Elinor Scott-Sutter.

Portrait of a Polaroid
Painted Light
Fire & Ice
The Blues



One response to “Portrait of a Polaroid: Fire & Ice

  1. Allright! Rock On you stellartist, you!


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