Monday, April 11, 2011

Muir Woods

Photos from a trip out to Muir Woods a week ago.  Thanks to my brother, I now have my car back and [hopefully] that means more roadtrips.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A ballerina from a dream

New images for a new project.  Shot all today.  And edited.  Because yeah, I'm crazy excited like that.  I suppose it's a study between grace and strength.  Between the known world and taboo all coexisting in one beautiful place.  Much like the lucid dreams that I've been having lately.  They're filled with weird events, things and people that don't necessarily belong all together but hell, it's a dream.  And yeah, I'll go with it.  Perhaps I shouldn't eat so close to bedtime but lately, ALL my dreams have been vibrant and extremely poignant contradictions. 

Anyway, let me get back to reality and say this:  If you see a ballerina on a train, you sure as hell ask her if you can take her photograph.

All images taken at the Legion of Honor Museum

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Polaroid Emulsion Transfers

It's been a while since I last posted and that's probably due to my recent midterm schedule.  But now that they're over and I have some free time before jumping into my final projects, I wanted to take the time and do a tutorial on Polaroid emulsion transfers.

I've done Polaroid transfers in the past and when you go online, some of the tutorials are a bit complex and nonsensical.  So a lot of my image transfers have been a product of trail and error.  For my projects, I ended up shooting two boxes of Fujifilm FP-100C 3.25x4.25.  (Polaroid stopped making their instant film a few years ago and now instant film users turn to Fujifilm.  I've used Polaroid Type 55 and 59 when shooting 4x5 and I must admit my sadness over losing such great film.)

Remember that the FP-100C is pack film and meant for pack film backs.  So make sure you read the label before purchasing, don't confuse it for the 4x5 sheet film kind that Fuji also sells.  The camera I used was a lower model Polaroid 430 Land which consequently takes pack film.

To begin with, you'll need a few household items to assist you in the emulsion transfer process.  Try to find old pie plates or pans that aren't used for cooking and eating since you will be handling photo chemicals.

1.  Begin by boiling some water.  This water will be used in your "hot plate".  You'll also need to fill another plate full of room temperature water, otherwise known as your "cold plate".

2.  Once the water begins to bubble, not boil, pour it into your hot plate.  Check the temperature of the water with your thermometer.  Make sure it reads to around 150-160 degrees.  Any lower and the chemicals won't melt, allowing you to peel away the emulsion.  And any hotter, the emulsion will begin to "texturize".  (Kind of like film reticulation)

 3.  Place your polaroids into the hot plate using your tongs.  Be sure to fully submerge the polaroid into the bath and try not to agitate or touch the emulsion itself.  Allow the hot water to begin melting the chemicals behind the polaroid for about 4 minutes.  You'll notice small bubbles form on the surface and underneath the film.  You'll also see the edges begin to curl or wrinkle.  The water will begin to turn magenta.

4.  While the polaroids soak in the hot plate, spray mount the surface you want to place the polaroid on.  In my case, I experimented with vellum paper.  I've used other surfaces like rocks, wood and linen in the past.  Paper-wise, watercolor paper will hold it's shape the best after drying.

5.  After the polaroids have been sitting in the hot plate, take your tongs and lift the polaroid by the edges into the cold plate.

6.  In the cold plate you'll be lifting the emulsion.  Start at a corner and gently scrape away the emulsion with your finger.  Once you have a good grip on the corner, slowly peel the emulsion all the way to the opposite corner.  I recommend peeling with both hands starting from the top to the bottom of the polaroid to avoid ripping the emulsion. 

7.  With the emulsion lifted, place it on your prepared surface.  Mold and manipulate the image to your satisfaction.  I recommend spraying the image one more time with photo mount to secure the transfer in place.  Allow 24 hours of drying before any scanning.

Good luck and enjoy.  The possibilities are quite endless.