From Far Away
Solo Exhibition Vermont Governors Gallery
I am very excited to announce that I have been selected by the Vermont Governors Gallery for a solo exhibition at the State Capitol form January 4 – March 31st, 2017.
The show title is “From Far Away” and represents selected works from 2004 till present. There will be an opening reception on January 12th from 4-7PM, (please note a photo ID is required to enter the gallery.) Click on the link below to read the full press release!
By now we have all heard that Fuji is discontinuing this amazing film, FP-100C- right?
Shit! Shit! Shit!
If you’re like me, and a fan of this material, right now you’re asking, what am I going to do? Well, you could just buy a lot of this film and stick in the refrigerator unopened and get a solid 8-10 years… But here’s a question: can you freeze it?
In fact, contrary to popular belief you can freeze Fuji FP-100C. But how can this be, you ask, without the PODS bursting? Yes, Polaroid PODS burst when frozen, BUT Fuji PODS are constructed of a different material and as such they don’t suffer the same horrible fate.
Here is the test I ran trying it out. I call it The Han Solo Test:
On January 13, 2016 I froze two boxes of FP-100C…
First I let both boxes get cold in my refrigerator for 48 hours to stabilize and in a vertical orientation so the box is upright… this is very important due to the location of the POD.
Then I placed both boxes in my freezer, still in a vertical orientation.
On February 27th I took a box down from the freezer and placed it back in my refrigerator again (Yes! Still in a vertical orientation...) and there it rested until this morning March 1st. I allowed it to warm to room temperature for 2 hours prior to running a series of tests shots to test color, exposure and, well, to be perfectly honest to see if it still worked at all! And guess what… all 10 shots were perfect! Not a single issue with burst PODS or uneven development or chemical separation… all perfect!
See all the test images below for proof… please note these were just quick iPhone snaps of the pics as they dried on my dining room table.
Now, can I guarantee this process will work 100%? Nope… but it did work for me. AND I have another box in the freezer that I will leave for 1 year as a long-term storage test, so look out for that follow up article in January 2017!
In conclusion my thoughts are…. buy a lot of this material and put in your refrigerator using a vertical orientation. Shoot as you normally do- it’s great film and I, for one, am going to enjoy shooting it. Once a box of film gets several years past its expiration date, (and if they have been stored in a vertical orientation in the refrigerator during this time) move them to the freezer using the steps I outlined above. This should give you even more leeway on the life of this film.
Did I mention the vertical orientation? Just checking.
I also plan on running the same test with the same freeze-to-warm process outlined above with some Fuji Instax Wide material this month, so stay tuned…
Viva la Revolution- Steve
UPDATE: please take note that I am not telling you to freeze this film now as there is no reason to do so as the current stock is quite fresh and will live for many years in a refrigerator. I will do an update in one year so we can have more information on long term storage.
Yep, it’s that time of year when shooting instant films poses an extra challenge– how to keep the film warm for processing! Over the years I’ve invented different heater boxes to keep materials warm with varying degrees of success. However this year I’ve decided to run a quick test to see just how adaptable these materials are at lower temperatures.
All three cameras: SX-70 with 600 Color Impossible Film, Polaroid 110B with Fuji FP100C and the Fuji 500AF with Instax Wide were left outside in 32F for 45 minutes. Then I shot one image with each camera and left the film to process outside again in 32F for an hour. Then I brought the images inside and made a note of its development stage and then allowed it to continue to process at 70F for an additional hour- I did not peel the 100C film apart till the end of the testing time. The results are pretty interesting….
Let’s go through them one by one:
Impossible Color 600 (newest version, left square image)
Not much happening here… these films as I have mentioned before are VERY sensitive to temperature changes and working in the cold with this particular material requires a plan for keeping not only the camera warm when loaded but also the film for the full development time which is around 35-45 minutes. Add to that the requirement to shield the image from light till development is finished and it is a tricky juggling act.
Fuji Instax Wide (top right)
Fuji Instax Wide is quite the durable material. This film also continued to process during the warm phase of the testing- not a lot but the black did add additional density and the colors became more saturated. While the color and contrast are off they are not off much and it would be very easy to correct for the cold effects in Photoshop.
Fuji FP 100C (lower right)
Fuji FP 100C really did a great job with regards to contrast and tonal range BUT the color shift is quite obvious— Green! Of course a lot of that shift is from an extended period of development which tends to shift green anyways regardless of the temperature. I almost always leave my FP-100C to self terminate in development (5-10 minutes is normal for me) as I don’t really want to have to stop shooting and watch the peel time depending on temperature. Overall this would be a very easy color correction to do in Photoshop and again the tonality and contrast are the best of the group.
Sample images from above with quick photoshop color correction.
If you are going to shoot in cold weather try to keep your loaded camera warm at all times and keep the developing film warm as well for best quality. The Fuji Instax wide and the FP100C were the most robust in the cold, I suspect if I had pulled the film apart earlier the test the color would be closer. I also found in the color corrected images above that the FP-100C was much closer to the color and tone of the actual scene whereas the Instax Wide gained a fair amount of contrast and was harder to keep the saturation and contrast balanced. Impossible Color 600 would not be a recommendation unless you have, as I have stated above, some degree of controlling the development temperature, clearly essential for this material.
As I have stated in previous articles, all Impossible Project instant films need to be shielded from light during processing/ development. This is especially important for the first few minutes, but the longer you can keep the print out of the light while it develops, the better. The new V2.0 B&W films both SX-70 and 600 are said not to need light shielding but as you can see from the attached sample photos this is not exactly true— the film is getting better but still not 100%. The sacrifice of contrast, density and sharpness when not shielded is crazy and it gets worse the brighter the light is.
The image on the left was shielded where as the image on the right was not… big difference!
With color film you have to shield the image for 30-40 minutes minimum and process at 65-75F for best results!
Making instant film is a very, very complicated process and I am confident that given time these films will become more user friendly and cost effective.