This past weekend, Impossible Project announced the winners for their ‘Spring Comes Alive’ contest.   I was lucky enough to have been chosen along with 4 other photographers; I am super grateful & happy.   There were over 450 photos entered into the contest over about a month’s timeframe.    Looking back through the photos, I am very humbled as there were some incredible submissions.

I’ve been shooting Impossible Project’s photos for almost 2 months now.  I must say, I’m really impressed with how they treat their customers.   They are incredibly pro-active about promoting their users on the internet and have a great online presence.   If you need to know anything about their films, they have all the information you need accessible on their website; blog posts & various how-to videos detailing many important characteristics of their products.  If it’s not available on their website, they are a phone call away.

SX-70 - PX-70 Old Generation Film
SX-70 – PX-70 Old Generation Film

I’ve been on a blogging kick lately and the instigator was my initial experience with these films.   After I popped my IP film cherry, it was the first time I really wanted to blog about something film-related.   I typically post my photos to Tumblr or Flickr, add a few tags and that’s that.  About a month ago, it changed and  I’ve been writing ~ 3 posts a week.   Whenever I found out this past weekend that I was chosen, I knew I needed to write a “Top 10 Reasons to shoot TIP film ” to hopefully persuade some people to try it out.   It’s the very least I can do to thank TIP.

Here, in no particular order, are the reasons:

1) You’re supporting a new film company – New film company?  Yes.   The Impossible Project has been around since 2008 and they are the only company that makes new film for Polaroid SX-70’s, Spectras and 600 series cameras (update: Impossible is now making film for 8×10 view cameras).  As some of you may know, Polaroid ceased operation a few years back.   Other than FujiFilm’s limited options (FP-100C peel-apart film & Instax film), The Impossible Project is the only other prominent provider of instant film.  By using their product, you are investing in the life of instant film & the development of new instant films.

2) Helping to keep instant film around for the ‘next generation’ – If you were born during the last century, chances are pretty good that you’ve got a few old Polaroid images lying around somewhere of you as a child.   My grandparents have massive amounts of Polaroids in family albums that date back to the 1950’s.  Sure, we’ve all got our digital cameras and we upload our digital images to a hard drive and post them to Facebook, but then what?   Do you ever make prints of your digital images?  Few actually do I’ve found.  One of the great things about using instant film is the fact that you are ensuring that your family will have ‘polaroids’ to share with each other in this century.

3) You’re shooting a classic Polaroid – In my opinion, in the world of instant photography, there aren’t a lot of things that are cooler than Polaroid SX-70’s and pack film cameras.  Henry Dreyfuss’ ingenious, classic, art-deco design of the SX-70 makes every head turn when you whip one out for a photo.  Polaroid pack film cameras get the same type of attention.   Cameras just aren’t made like this any longer.   If you’re wondering where you can find an older Polaroid, there are many places online.   You can buy refurbished Polaroids direct from the Impossible Project or you can try your hand at finding a used camera on Craigslist or Ebay.

4) The images are analog – Forget 1’s and 0’s.   Chemistry is where it’s at.    The images produced with Polaroid cameras are tangible.  They are real.  Keep in mind however that this film isn’t like the Polaroids that your parents shot.  Impossible’s films are sensitive to a variety of variables during the development process; including but not limited to ambient light, temperature & pressure just to name a few.   The beauty of that delicate balance is that you have a hand in how your image eventually turns out and it heightens your awareness of what is needed to create a successful image.

5) Real instant gratification – Once the image has fully developed, you have a print in your hand.   Slap it on the fridge, give it to a friend, make a postcard .. do whatever you want with it.   It’s not stuck in your digital camera or iPhone.  It’s in your possession right then and there.   Overall that seems a little better to me than going home, downloading, editing and uploading the images to the web so you can bask in their glory through the monitor.  Sure, I’ve done it.   But this is so much better.

6) Image Transfers & Manipulations – Am I talking photoshop?  No.   Check out this page for a growing list of ideas of what you can do with your Impossible images once you have some in your hands.

7) Impossible films are predictably unique every time –  One of the greatest things about these films, is that you can count on it being an artistic representation of your subject.  Due to a variety of variables, there are random artifacts and nuances that come along with each release of film.  The guaranteed unpredictable subtleties are what keeps me coming back.

8) The images can be scanned – Are you worried about it not being digital?  That can be remedied easily.   Even with a really sub-par cheap scanner, you can get a HUGE digitized file from these images that can later be printed & reproduced.  Because it is a positive print and not a negative, you don’t necessarily need a pro-grade scanner to get a worthwhile digital image.

9) The Impossible Project promotes their supporters & users –  Day after day, I see the Impossible Project marketing team promoting their clientele on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr etc.   They do a bang-up job at it.  The cool thing I’ve found about that, is when you post an image that catches their eye, they will repost, re-tweet or blog about it on their websites.   THAT is nice and definitely noteworthy in my book.   It’s a mutually beneficial thing, but for most if not all film companies I’ve found, that rarely happens.    Since the Impossible Project is still a small company they can give their fans a level of personal attention that is lacking in many other companies.

10) You inherently become a better shooter – It’s true.   When each image you are shooting is costing you $, you become picky REAL quick.    Forget the digital days of bang bang bang bang bang!   Unless you’re a sheik, you probably won’t be burning through a lot of exposures when you shoot this stuff.     Like most things film-related, shooting these films force you to slow down and really think about all the variables that will affect the shot.    In doing so, you start to build on your ability to get the shot right the first time without having to go back and redo it.

Are those good enough reasons??? I think so.   If I’ve piqued your interest and you’d like to buy some let me know (info@goodephotograhpy.biz).   I’ll send you an invite through TIP so I can gain some brownie points 😉

-Justin

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