July 02, 2010


I took a couple of packs of the new Polaroid PX 600 Silver Shade film with me to Italy. As many have described, it is a very finicky film to work with. The main issue is that it is VERY light and temperature sensitive. If exposed to sun during the development process, images come out somewhat overexposed to completely blown out. The solution is to cover the film as it comes out of the camera and then allow it to develop in darkness. I simply used the dark slide to cover the film as it came out (unfortunately I didn't have gaffer's tape to tape it to the camera) and then stuck it in my pocket for 3 minutes to develop.

Sometimes the flaws of the film really add to the nostalgic quality of the images. And sometimes they don't. I'd say I had more misses than hits, but I love how the images that worked out look like they were taken in 1910 rather than 2010.

The other problem with the film is that there are many reports of the developed images fading and forming what have been dubbed "killer crystals". Alas, this happened to mine. Luckily I scanned in the best images shortly after I returned from my trip. But those that I didn't scan have faded away into the mists of time. The Impossible Project has posted tips on how to store and care for developed images to avoid this problem. The chemistry of this film still needs work, but in some ways, I like its unpredictable nature. To paraphrase Forrest Gump, "Silver Shade film is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get".


Lavender Playground said...

These photos really have a special quality to them. Too bad they fade away so quickly.

Mary said...

I love the way these came out! I agree they look like they're from a hundred years ago. Kudos to you for working with such a tricky (but gorgeous) film.

Anonymous said...

Next a pinhole camera, a sheet of paper painted with silver nitrate and 30 minute exposures? :D


Katy said...

I really love the second one down!

Yes, the film is finicky. And yes, I've lost many of my best shots to "killer crystal" already. But I do adore the unpredictability of the film, to be honest! It's kind of a nice change from digital, ha.

Irene said...

Thank you all!

Lysanne: Great idea! A girl's gotta mix it up every once in a while.

Katy: Despite my complaints, I did rather love the not knowing. I agree that it's a refreshing change from digital. And it's a truly unique look. I've seen some gorgeous results on flickr.

Christine said...

Oh, these are just beautiful Irene! I actually love the half-disappearing effect around the edges. You really get the sense of a fleeting moment, already half gone...

Anonymous said...

These photos are so incredibly gorgeous! I think the unpredictable nature of the Silver Shade film makes it so much more special when you get a really good picture.

For me, everytime feels like the first time I've taken a photo and it's magical.

rid said...

glad to find your blog and see the work of this extraordinary photograph

these photo looks very old
cool :)

adam.and.e said...

this effect reminds me of a something i attempted in my college years. i can't for the life of me remember the name but we coated {linen} paper in the dark and then printed on it. covering all areas of the paper was very tricky. but, in my opinion it was more appealing to have the image fading in and out.

i think your attempt was a success. i love the softness of this film. :)

Shukura Li said...

woah they came out beautifully

i hope they dont fade..thats a shame...how about if you laminate it?