Sunday, 11 April 2010

A how to on manipulating polaroids

The Traditional
Manipulation Technique
By Filippo Centenari & Beppe Bolchi

Filippo and Beppe applied the "classic" manipulation technique that we all know and love from original SX70 film material: applying rounded tools to move the emulsion under the foil as well as using heat and cold to create different tonal ranges.

The manipulation expert Filippo says: After taking your first picture, let it develop for some time, while protecting it from light. Afterwards you can use cool or warm tools to manipulate the color development, for example a lighter/fire/heater/hairdryer to create reddish or orange results at the applied spots or ice cubes which make the cooled parts lighter and less sepia.

You can also apply tools on the surface of the picture in a drawing-like way. Utilize different tools in order to change the outcome of your strokes and patterns (pencils, wooden sticks, etc) which don't harm the foils surface. Start manipulating the film gently and repeat it over the same area in order to achieve the classic SX manipulation result of twisted, artistic, watercolor-like effects.

Both artists explain that higher pressure or a knife will reach the white layer underneath by breaking through the chemical paste onto the back-layer of the integral picture, which can result in beautiful patterns.

When the emulsion is dry after a couple of hours you can also paint on it with a soft pen or watercolors, explains Beppe. Using this “manipulation” method on PX Silver Shade material, you don't have to do it right away, but you can take your time and do it back home, with all the time and tools you need. For impressive result take the image apart after the development process is complete and wait some minutes in order to let the emulsion take air.

Beppe says that the PX Silver Shade emulsion is very soft and easy to manipulate if the transparent foil is lifted from the background. This doesn't have to be done right away after development, but can be done an hour or more after (Beppe successfully tried it 24 hours after development!). In this case, the emulsion is still wet (be careful so you won’t stick to the transparent layer) and it’s possible to touch it softly and gently directly.

The Integral Emulsion Lift
By Philippe Garcia

The emulsion lift technique is possible and quite easy with the new PX Silver Shade materials. Philippe applied a similar process as he had done before on TZ Artistic film.

Material needed: PX Silver Shade film, scissors or cutter, a bowl of hot water, a watercolor brush (for painting) and a surface on which to transfer the emulsion. Philippe recommends watercolor paper for your first try.

Before beginning, take a picture and let it dry properly. This step takes much longer than with many other instant films. Philippe recommends letting the film dry for one full day before attempting the lift technique.

When the film is absolutely dry, you can open it by cutting the edges of the white frame with scissors or a cutter. Then tear all the layers apart, so that all you are left with is the mylar (transparent plastic) sheet, where the image should be printed on the inside. You will then need a bowl filled with hot water, about 40-45°C (about 105-113°F). Make sure your bowl is big enough to hold the new receiving sheet or surface.

Dip the mylar sheet in the water, backside on top. After a short time you should see the emulsion is starting to peel off the plastic support. Use a watercolor painting brush to help remove it from the mylar, starting in the corners and pushing towards the center.

Normally the emulsion will peel off completely and float in the water. You can then dispose of the mylar sheet in a recycling bin for plastics. Turn the emulsion upside down in the water, using the brush, and try to make it float on the top of the water as flat as possible, so that the image is visible in its normal direction.

At this point you can slide the new receiving sheet under the emulsion, and let the emulsion get in touch with it. Phillipe suggests using watercolor paper for a first try, as it is the easiest to deal with, but you can also use many other things as a surface. When the 2 elements are in perfect contact (which happens in time as the paper tends to float and the emulsion tends to sink), use your fingers to keep them together and take the whole thing out of the water.

You can now arrange the emulsion on the paper, and give it the shape you like. If the emulsion gets stuck in the wrong position, just add some water with the brush to help it move again. When you’re pleased with the results, dry on a flat, horizontal surface.

Can't wait to get my student loan so I can buy some film and start trying!

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