Thursday, January 14, 2016

Recovering Negatives From Fuji FP100c Peel Apart Polaroid Film

OK! I must admit, this is due to my laziness that I am making a very late blog-post about this. 

While I was still in London College of Fashion, studying BA Fashion Styling and Photography(majoring in photography), I heard about the technicians and sometimes the tutors telling us this recovery method in order to get unusual effects on our photographs. Many of my class mates shied away from this method finding it complicated and many others just shot digital or stick with film but not polaroid. I in the other hand and perhaps two more class mates of that time, wasn't interested in this process because we wanted more colour accurate results, and thus nobody did this resulting a class of 60 Fashion photography students not seeing process or result of this method. 

But today I'm here to change that!

I came across a blog post about this recovery process while I was searching the web for the most affordable Fuji FP 100C since you can find them from £22 to £12. After carefully reading it from several blogs I decided to add my own input. 

For starters, you will need a camera which is capable of taking peel apart polaroid film. In my case I used my Mamiya RZ67 Pro II with Polaroid back! 

So I asked my friend Lolo to take a photo of me! It was bit hard for her to focus under the influence of alcohol but I think she got close enough (no complains).

After the photo is taken, let the negative and positive dry. You don't need to process the negative right away. We shot this on Sunday and I processed it on Wednesday. 

Once the negative and its processing chemistry is dried up the negative part should look like this. (see image above)

Then you are going to need bleach. In my research most bloggers or online forums wrote (regular bleach) So I got the cheapest thick bleach Tesco sells. Maybe in future I'll will test the orange or lavender scent bleach and see what happens.

A straight surface to "wet mount" the Polaroid negative, you can safety tape it or duct tape it but it makes it hard for you to remove it. Wet mounting works best in my opinion as long as you do it right it will hold and not let the bleach pass to the emulation side. 

It should look like this once you wet mount your negative. *see the picture above* (negative side DOWN and black side UP) I used a broken piece of glass that was laying against the wall in my garden which I didn't bother throwing away for 2 years. YAY hoarding and laziness at its finest! I also recommend you to use glass for mounting because they are resistant to most chemicals, and bleach is one thing but the processing/developing chemicals on these polaroids are really harmful to plastics, leather, wood, painted surface etc. 

Pure the bleach on and apply it over the negative, make sure It covers all the negative. Also wear protective gloves bleach is nasty! It should look like this on picture above! 

Use a paper towel to clean the black residue off the negative, apply more bleach and repeat until the other side of the negative is visible. 

Wash the rest of the bleach off, and then flip it over and was the remaining developer from the emulsion side. Its important to get rid of both bleach and now wet developer in order to pull a health scan! Use your hands in this process running water will not finish the job.
P.S. I add little bit of dishwasher soap after this and wash it again little bit in order for it to dry without watermarks forming on it. (optional) 

Now you should have something like this! (Thumbs up for back-focused I Phone photo) 

Hang it in dust free room and wait for it to dry! (in my case I use the shower) also majority of the dust particles in your house is your shaded skin so use moisturiser cream!

Time to scan it! Scan it in your preferable method. I used a makeshift film tray made of 4 pieces of ANR glass and scanned it with my Epson Perfection V750 Pro. 

A screen grab from scanners software. The scanner will get the wrong colours and colour balance if you include the borders. (it will count the blacks and whites on borders as the darkest and lightest parts of the negative. (you might get better or different results if you actually scan the negative as positive then invert and colour correct on photoshop *link to blog post about that here*) 

Camera: Mamiya RZ67 Pro II + Mamiya Sekor Z 110mm F/2.8 W

Result after colour correcting with Levels RGB levels and adding some tint Photoshop & Photoshop camera-raw! Magic =3

You can watch the recovery process from my perspective on the Video below, and laugh at my struggle to unlock my phone! 

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