April 11th, 2016

Impossible Project’s I-1 Looks to Keep Instant Film Momentum Alive

impossible1

Forged in the wake of the Polaroid bankruptcy with a mission to keep instant film alive, the Impossible Project is moving on to its next project: revitalizing the instant film camera.

The fruits of that labor are the I-1, the company’s first instant film camera. The camera accepts the Impossible Project’s Instant 600 film (a variant of the discontinued Polaroid 600 Instant Film).

The camera has a prominent LED ring flash that automatically adjusts intensity based on ambient light and focus distance.

In one of the big departures from instant film cameras of yore (and today), the I-1 can be control remotely via a free iOS app that lets you control aperture, shutter speed and flash settings as well as take advantage of some creative features (as yet unspecified).

The camera goes on sale in March for $300. More info is promised then.

unnamed

 

March 15th, 2016

Can Fujifilm’s FP-100c Film Be Saved? [Update]

Photographers greeted the news that Fujifilm would be discontinuing sales of its FP-100C instant peel-back film with dismay. But it may not go quietly into the night.

Peel back proponents are making a last ditch effort to keep the format alive.

The centerpiece of the effort is a petition on Change.org beseeching Fujifilm to keep the film alive. As of this writing, it had garnered 16,141 signatures.


Florian Kaps, a co-founder of the Impossible Project, which resurrected many Polaroid instant films, has also taken up the mantle. According to his blog, Kaps is in Tokyo meeting with Fuji executives to see about preserving the format. There’s also a website, Save Pack Film, which is soliciting testimonials from prominent artists and photographers about the importance of the film.

We reached out to Fujifilm representatives in the U.S. to see if there was any chance the company would change its mind. According to a company spokesperson, the decision was final. The spokesperson declined to discuss just how much film would need to be sold to make it worth Fuji’s while to resume production.

We’ve reached out to Kaps for an update on his progress, but for now at least, it looks like an uphill battle.

UPDATE: Kaps is not set to meet with Fuji executives until March 17. We’ll know more then.

UPDATE II: Kaps has published a blog post detailing his meeting with Fuji. Long story short, they appear to have shot down his proposals, but he remains optimistic about pushing onto the next level of company management. Here’s an excerpt from his post:

None of my 3 detailed proposals immediately created a promising reaction.

BUT YES! I have at least been promised that my proposals and my detailed presentation as well as this WONDERFUL and impressive list of signatures (which I printed out) will be passed on to the next level in Tokyo and that MAYBE I will receive feedback.

At least, that’s better than nothing and I would not have expected a straight and simple YES even in my most positive dreams. BUT, to be completely honest, I’m frustrated right now as Jun and I have been waiting the whole day for the confirmation that my meeting at the Tokyo Office will be called on again (after being put on hold beginning of the week). By now the hope to have a chance to explain my proposals in front of the next level of FUJI management has gone.

Still, according to some super supportive FUJI insiders that I had the pleasure to meet here and also due to some Japanese press contacts, this must not be a final dead end street.

UPDATE III: We’ve spoke to Impossible Project CEO Oskar Smolokowski who informs us that while the company wishes Kaps well and hopes the format can be saved, they won’t be purchasing Fujifilm’s equipment and won’t be taking on the project themselves. “We don’t have the resources to buy new machinery and take on a new format, we’re constantly invest in our own factory,” he says.

November 14th, 2014

New Book Explores the Rich and Wacky History of Toy and Novelty Cameras

 

The Charlie Tuna camera,  manufactured in 1971.

The Charlie Tuna camera, manufactured in 1971, could be had for three StarKist tuna labels and $4.95. Photo by J.K. Putnam.

Early in his career, renowned fine-art photographer Stephen Shore made a project using a Mick-a-Matic, a snapshot camera shaped like the head of Mickey Mouse. True story.

It’s funny to imagine one of America’s foremost photographers out in the world making art with a Mickey Mouse head hanging from his neck. But many artists have used toy and novelty cameras. For Shore, the Mick-a-Matic allowed him to explore snapshot photography as a concept and phenomenon at a time when photography as an art form was formal and almost exclusively shot in black-and-white.

Other artists are drawn to the unpredictability of toy and plastic cameras. Photographers “love these toys, they love the authenticity of the unexpected,” says Buzz Poole, co-author of Camera Crazy, a new book that recalls the history of mass-market cameras, from the Eastman Kodak Brownie Camera, released in 1900, up through present day toy cameras. The book is a delightful look at the fascinating and, at times, ridiculous forms cameras have taken. In addition to popular and well-known cameras from Diana, Holga and Lomography, there is a Fred Flintstone camera, soda and beer can cameras, a Charlie the Tuna camera, a Looney Tunes camera that talks, and a spy camera shaped like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups package. “That is just a weird product,” Poole laughs. “[The manual] tells you how to trick people into stopping so you can get a clear picture of them without them knowing.” (more…)

September 27th, 2010

Dutch Group Announces New Color Instant Film For Polaroid Cameras

The Impossible Project, the Dutch group engineering new analog instant film for vintage Polaroid cameras, premiered a new color film last week at the Photokina imaging fair in Cologne, Germany. The company also announced a new black and white film for Polaroid 600 cameras, and used their film for the first time in the 20 x 24 Polaroid camera.

The color film, is dubbed the PX 70 Color Shade First Flush, was created with vintage SX 70 Polaroid cameras in mind, however the film can be used in Polaroid 600 cameras that have an exposure control.

Polaroid stopped producing instant film in February 2008. In 2009, The Impossible Project signed an 10-year lease on Polaroid’s former factory in Enschede, Netherlands, and began developing new analog instant film packs with all new chemistry and components, the first of which premiered this past spring.

This first color film offering from the Impossible Project is not without its quirks. For instance, once a photograph is made, the photographer has to shield the film from light immediately for up to two minutes. And instructions on The Impossible Project Web site also note that, “Initial spots or other anomalies in the picture will disappear after 24 hours.” Original Polaroid color film did not have these characteristics.

The PX 70 Color Shade film is currently being offered in a three-pack that totals 18 exposures for $44.

An image shot with PX 70 Color Shade film, courtesy The Impossible Project.

A new black and white film, the PX 600 Silver Shade UV+ for Polaroid 600 cameras, was announced as well. The new film, which will be available in October, features a UV sheet that the company says will improve image tones and increase the stability of the film.

The famed 20 x 24 Polaroid camera also made an appearance at Photokina. At an evening event The Impossible Project introduced its first experimental film for the camera and made nine portraits of guests at the event. The Impossible Project also renewed its commitment to making 20 x 24 material commercially available in the future.