Okay, so Christmas was a LONG LONG TIME ago but I find the Instax Christmas mini film you can get to be so charming I just really wanted to share. My tree might still not be packed away either, the decorations have been remove but still hanging out on my floor waiting to go in our outside shed so I might also be wishing it was still the holidays. Most of the photos are just of me, Victor and Butter and our fabulous collection of trees since I was so relaxed on the holiday I didn’t even take my camera out until we had opened all the presents. Butter was in love with sleeping underneath the tree and pouncing out from under it, and curling up between all the presents before being opened and after. She might be in every photo I took of the tree, so try and spot her.
Last month marked the first time I ever tried to do Polaroid emulsion lifts (did a little DIY about it here) and I ended up with a lot of them because they are so fun to do and play around with. I absolutely love the idea of transferring my instant photography into something else and try making art out of them. Today I wanted to show you all of the ones I did while trying it out. They are on various surfaces from watercolor paper, canvas board to wood. I still haven’t completed them and put the finishing touches on them as I’m unsure of which ones I will end up keeping but I love them so much in their raw state as well. I will be sure to show you more next time I do them. Currently I don’t have any more Fujifilm that I would like to emulsion lift but I want to start shooting in the Spring again so I’m sure there is more to follow.
This month’s DIY is one of those projects I’ve wanted to do for years and could never get myself organized enough to actually do. So I’m finally doing Polaroid Emulsion Lifts! Emulsion lifts in the grand scheme of things are actually very easy to do and the results can be utterly wonderful and most importantly unique. I love any project where you can do your own spin to it. Now mine are technically not ‘Polaroid’ Emulsion Lifts as I shoot with Fujifilm FP-100C and the two types of film do require slightly different techniques so my steps are for Fujifilm emulsion lifts but the tips I have are useful to both in case you shoot with Polaroid/Impossible Project film. The two big things that you need are instant photographs and a surface, let’s get into it.
What You’ll Need:
- Fujilfim or Polaroid instant film
- Boiling & cold water
- 2 Baking container
- Paint brushes
- Canvas, wood, watercolor paper, metal…
Time and Cost:
Cost is roughly $10 depending on how many pieces you want to make if you already have the film. The small pieces of wood and canvas were around $1 each from my local art store. If you don’t have any old Polaroids or Fujifilm FP-100 you can easily buy a vintage Polaroid camera, and buy Fujifilm FP-100 film or Impossible Project film. The price for that would depending on how cheaply you can get the camera but I would encourage you that if you like these, it’d be worth your while. Plus then you’d have an instant camera you could keep and continue to use. The cost of film depends, Fujifilm is $10 per roll of 10 exposure and Impossible Project is $20+.
- Shoot the film and decided what ones you’d like to use for this project. Film can be used at anytime, most of the lifts I did were on ones I shoot a year ago.
- Cut the white sides of the film that frame the photo so just the image remains.
- Setup area, have both bake trays beside each other. Have paper towel, your surface, medium and brushes handy. Fill one tray with tap water.
- Boil water and place into other bake tray, let cool down slightly.
- Drop in film and wait for 1-5 minutes
- Place in cold water
*You can skip the cold water, it’s not necessary however I find the emulsion tends to be a bit more relaxed and less likely to curl in the cold water over the hot and you can leave it in the cold water.
- Start using the brush to remove the emulsion part of the film away
*You can use your fingers or a card to scrape it away as well
- Remove the paper part of the film and throw away.
At this point you have two separate choices on how to apply the emulsion to the desired surface:
- WET METHOD: With emulsion still in the water simple place surface below it and smooth out emulsion until you have it the way you’d like. Place back in water anytime if you want to uncurl the emulsion or rearrange it. Lift out of the water and dry the surface using a paper towel. Apply medium on top of the lift and the sides. Make sure fully coated and no corners are sticking up.
- DRY METHOD: Apply medium to your surface using a paint brush only on the area you would like the emulsion to be, acting quickly take the emulsion out of the water and dry before spreading it out over the surface, using your brush, fingers or roller to smooth out the emulsion or create patterns.
Now I know I usually have photos or a video for my DIY’s but this type of project has been around for decades and the internet is virtually filled with videos on how various people do their emulsion transfers. To be honest I don’t do mine like any of the video’s I’m about to link you but they are great for learning the ropes of how to get started doing emulsions lifts. It’s a very easy project and there isn’t a lot to figure out, it’s mostly just practice makes perfect / trial and error. Two great videos however are Tiffany Teske’s video of Fujil Emulsion Lifts & Transfer and Wayne Lam’s Polaroid Film Lift.
Tips and Tricks:
- I shoot a lot of instant film and sometimes mistakes happen so those underexposed, overexposed and just plain blurry shots are great to work with while you are building your confidence up and technique.
- Fujifilm emulsion is actually moderately sturdy, my general impress prior was that it would delicate and not allow for much handling but it’s surprisingly okay with being man handled. It’s similar to saran wrap.
- So now that I’ve said you can man-handle it a bit, here is where I say – try not to man-handle it too much. It can tear, but honestly most of my tears happened because I didn’t trim the edges of the film fully.
(I didn’t trim the white edges in this one)
- The white part of the film is very well secured to the emulsion so save yourself the hassle and trim it off.
- Hey maybe you want to tear your film, or make is wavy like the ocean, the emulsion doesn’t need to be laid perfect stretched out, in fact that gets a little boring after a while.
- Those shots you thought are ‘bad’ or not what you wanted could make an amazing lift, just try it out.
- Do not have the water too hot or leave it in the hot water too long, the film texture will change or bubble.
- Sometimes the water will go a yellow color, this is most likely just left over chemical from the development process, don’t be scared.
- Layer up!
(mine isn’t an epic layered lift, but just google emulsions lifts – there is so many amazing ones)
- Watercolor paper is my favourite surface, the texture it gives the emulsions I find really pleasing. The emulsion will take on the texture of your surface so keep that in mind. It will also to a degree take on the color of the surface as well.
- If you are doing the dry method and you make a mistake and think your medium will dry simply put back into water and rinse both the surface and emulsion and start work again. I use the water method the most as you can just play with the emulsion a lot. You can also use a piece of glass or clear plastic to play with the emulsion prior to drying.
- Do as many tests are you need to feel comfortable, don’t jump into doing your favourite Polaroid or Fujifilm shot in the first few tries as I’d hate for your to be feel like you wrecked a photo you really liked. I actually am terrified of ruining them even though I scan all my instant photography so I have a digital copy. So terrified that most of the lifts I’ve done so far are ‘whatever’ shots.
- Don’t be pretentious about them, and try any surface you can find.
This was mostly “I Tried” instead of full DIY as I just really wanted to do the project. I’m still no fully convinced I’d want to do this on my more beloved instant photos but it’s super fun and I can’t wait to actually shoot film with the intention of turning them into emulsion lifts. I’ll be showing all my emulsion lifts that I’ve done so far this upcoming Tuesday as this post is already pretty long. Let me know if you make any of your own and share below. I’m obsessed with these and love looking at them. This is a project I really want to get better at.
I’ve been trying out various Instax Mini film themes and seeing which ones I like and also seeing if they are worth the extra cost per photo for the last few months. Since it was Halloween last month I made sure to pick up some Halloween Instax Mini film to try out. This film was available in North America until it was recently discontinued, so I had to pick mine up on Ebay (at a cost very similar to what B&H was selling it originaly). IT’S AMAZING btw – let me say that before I forget. I’m really sad I didn’t pick it up before it was discontinued as it’s one of the best designs I’ve tried so far. I’m definitely going to try and pick up another pack or two from Ebay and horde in my fridge until next year. Sadly this year I had a very mellow and low key Halloween for myself so I mostly took photos around my house on Halloween and a few of my Halloween cranes that I left around the Plateau. I think it’s more suited to a party with friends but I still enjoy the shots I managed to get and I tried out the Instax’s flash option which I haven’t tried much before. Below I’ve included some of the shots so you can see the film designs. It’s really cute and I really wish they’d offer more variety in film here in North America. My advice if you find Instax film you like don’t be afraid of buying on Ebay, I haven’t had an issue yet from various sellers. Also store the film in your fridge so you don’t have to worry about expiring film if you aren’t going to use it straight away.
Halloween postcards Picked up some doily originals and silkscreen from Starchild Stela the night before Halloween. The best decorated house I saw this year. I made a shrine in the park using leaves, my Aphex Twin mask and wig.
Second best decoration, and you can just barely see my crane hanging there with the song “Purple People Eatter” on it. Another Halloween crane, this time at Laurier Parc. My anniversary present of a skull couple in a musical snow globe. I haven’t thought of a name for this guy yet but I think I’ll keep him here even after the holiday. And finally my Halloween night, when Victor and I drank at home and enjoyed the candy I got at work from Trick-o-Treatting at each manager’s desk at my call center job earlier in the day.
It’s wonderful right now in Montreal, it’s cool enough to walk around with a light jacket but still warm enough to enjoy being outside without all the hassle of humidity and clothes sticking to you because it’s a million degrees. I have so much love for a nice autumn, and it’s been raining a lot less than our summer which is a nice bonus. I’ve been celebrating by going for walks whenever I can with Victor. Mostly so I can find new areas to place cranes for my project, or to steal flowers. Victor tries to tell me I’m a big thief but I mostly take from public gardens not people’s gardens plus in a month they will be in snow so a flower top here and a leaf there is hardly going to be missed. I love being on the hunt for unique places to hang cranes and finding flowers along the way to stuff into the Tupperware container in my camera bag. Adds so much fun to regular walk. I need the flowers for making resin bracelets next month so I’m trying to collect them all now so I can dry them out before. I use to dry clovers all the time as a kid but never really did it outside of that so it’s completely new to me (I’m sure any pros can tell since my selection probably has tons of flowers and leaves that don’t dry well – tips are welcome and appreciated in the comments). I wanted to share some of the photos from our walks that I’ve taken with my Fujifilm Instax Mini 90. They are bit dark on some and too light on others – I’m not a master of guessing the lighting of this camera yet.
FYI I’ve been trying to get film developed but keep having issues with my Split-Cam camera where I’m not sure it’s exposing the film fully so I want to wait and home develop the rolls just in case the film is mostly undeveloped so I don’t waste money ($20 last time I developed film at my local drug store). Probably not going to have much developed film photography on Wednesday until the New Year so hope you are liking all the instant photography!
For this week’s Vintage Tuesday I wanted to share with you some of the instant photos I took while camping a few weeks ago in Ontario. We went to the main beach of the Sandbanks Provincial Park in Prince Edward County on both days of the trip so we could swim and enjoy the sun. It was a blistering hot day, although the water was still pretty chilly on both days. The cold water didn’t stop me and Victor from enjoying it and spending most of our time swimming. I just had to take photos of Victor in the water because I loved the composition of him with the water around him and the beach in the background. I did take a few landscapes shots of the beach dunes and the park, and the beach itself as well. The beach was so sandy, a big change from what I’m used to. We definitely don’t have beaches this nice in Quebec. All the photos I’m sharing today were taken with my Polaroid Super Shot using Fujifilm FP-100C.
My Fujifilm Instax 90 is turning into my go-to camera anytime I’m going to hang out with friends. I had so much fun last weekend camping and being a beach bum for the last warm weekend of the year. I took with me both my Instax 90 and my vintage Super Shot Polaroid camera and it was surprising how in comparison I enjoyed shooting with the Instax more. I really noticed the difference in using a vintage camera over a modern camera when I was in the middle of cooking bacon over the fire or on a windy sandy beach and didn’t want the hassle. I just love taking a photo with the Instax and tossing it in my bag to dry and peaking at it as it developed, plus the size and weight really makes a difference. The one thing that occurred to me on my trip though that I don’t like about the Instax 90 is how frustrating it is to frame a shot. The viewfinder is not accurate at all. I always feel like I’m adding in the correction as the viewfinder is to the left of the actual lens but my correction seems to only make it worse. Had several shots where they didn’t turn out right because the subject was either half cropped out or completely cropped (example the photo of my delish bacon on a stick, 3rd from bottom). I don’t want to have to frame my subjects to be center frame in every shot so it’d be nice to have a camera that had a proper viewfinder! I should probably do my review for the Instax 90 soon. I’ve used it quite a bit at this point, but there are a few of the ‘scene’ options I haven’t used yet. It was fun shooting in instant film, regardless of camera. It is just so satisfying and that immediacy of instant photography is something I am really enjoying right now. I’ll be showing the shots from the Polaroid next week on Tuesday as well if you want to see the different results.
A few shots today taken with my Polaroid Colorpack IV of the Canadian Malting Silos that I am obsessed with here in Montreal. I wish I had a chance to explore the inside but it’s bolted up pretty tight at the moment. Enjoyed biking there and having a look around the place anyways with Victor. The double exposure of him and the silos was the most successful shot of the day I think. If you want to see photos taken with my Nikon click here! The two below are shots of the canel that goes through the area where the factory is and goes all the way to Vieux-Montreal.
More summer instant photography taken with my Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 today. I love this camera so much I’ve been using it non-stop since it arrived. I cannot wait to use it more over the next few months and work on my double exposures. This is my last bit of film I took during the summer so it’s a little all over the place. My first double exposure taken with the camera. Sunrise from my front window. From my birthday, the sunrise (again) but this time from the Jacques-Cartier bridge. The second one is also a double exposure.
The rest of the rainbow photos were taken on our first trip in July to the beach in Jean Drapeau parc. We’ve been spending every weekend we could there since, we love it that much. I just love the rainbow film – it’s random but neat.
Remember to let me know in the comments if there is a particular camera you want to see more photos of. I have a few rolls of film from my Disderi Robot 3 camera I got developed recently that I haven’t shared so those will be probably be the next ones!
I finally went to visit my friend Sarah a few weeks ago who has been living in Peterborough, Ontario for the last year or so. I know Sarah from being her room-mate back in Vancouver years ago, and it was actually the first time I had seen her in 5 years which is just crazy. I went up there with Zara as she was both mine and Sarah’s old roommate as well. We all use to live in a house together that Zara’s uncle owned back in the day. Zara and me also decided to stop as this county called Prince Edward that’s along Lake Ontario to swim on the way down. It was so much fun and I’ll have a lot more photos of our trip in a few weeks taken with my digital camera! I love how the instant snaps I took of our road trip with my Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 turned out.
The photo above is a double exposure of the waves and the shore, I love it. Double exposures with the Instax Mini 90 are a bit tricky but I’m still trying them out and seeing what I get. It’s usually a miss but I have some really great sunrise ones that I’ll be sharing for the next ‘Summer in Instant’ that have turned out really well. I just love the shots of Zara, she’s so photogenic. The photos below were taken the day after when we took Sarah to another beach on Lake Ontario for a mini road trip during our visit. We only stayed the night and left the next so I didn’t really get many chances to take photos, especially considering it was raining most of the time but I’m sure I’ll be taking lots next time we visit!