Impossible Polaroids

Creating an Impossible Image with Polaroid

I’m a big fan of instant film, and of Polaroid in particular. Enjoying creativity over a perfect outcome, Polaroid works well for the type of photography I practice. That’s why I now have several Polaroid cameras, a fridge full of films, and a Polaroid Instant Lab.

What is Polaroid Instant Lab?

The Polaroid Instant Lab is a device that lets you to turn your digital images into Polaroids using your mobile phone. You’ll need to have the app installed on your phone to use the Lab so check your device is listed before you invest.

How Does it Work?

The lab is very simple to use. Open your image in the app on your phone, choose the Polaroid film you’re using (colour or black & white), choose the style of image you want to achieve and adjust brightness and contrast with the sliding controls. Then simply place your phone, which displays your image, face down on the lab. The lights on the lab flash when it’s ready and you just press the shutter.

Tip: Remember to turn off any phone display setting that could change the display colours like Night Shift and True Tone.

You can split the image you want to create over several Polaroids to create mosaics in several styles and there’s also the option to add augmented reality video to your Polaroids with the Polaroid app. This offers a whole host of creative opportunities.

Why Use The Instant Lab?

You can create Polaroid images that previously would have been impossible. I used it on an assignment to create Polaroid images of space using free images on the NASA website; obviously I can’t do that with a standard Polaroid camera without blagging my way onto a space shuttle, and my chances of doing that are slim to none.

For some fans I suspect there is some upset about the nature of the Polaroid medium being fundamentally changed. Until now each Polaroid was individual and never to be repeated. Now you can create multiple copies of the same image. Each image represented a moment and that’s now been lost.

However, creatively you can produce emulsion lifts, rescue the negatives which can be scanned and reprinted (you won’t get anywhere near an exact copy), and you have the entire physical aspect of the medium available to transform either before or after taking the photograph. Try manipulating the image before it’s fully developed or manipulate the film pack before you make the image. You can cut, burn, sew or paint it. And obviously combined with the Polaroid app the AR Viewer adds a whole new dimension to all of this.

An emulsion lift

If you would like to shop at Polaroid and also go some way to supporting my site and my Polaroid habit, then using this link will give you a 10% discount at the Polaroid store. Lucky you!

10% discount link

For astronomy images, go to images.nasa.gov. The featured image shows Saturn, the Orion Nebula, and Earth.

Posted by

Photographer, writer, web developer, tea drinker, collector of old cameras and books, obsessed with Polaroids, plays classical violin and cello. Lives in Dorset, UK.

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