In Praise of Mad Scientist Photographers Everywhere

11 | 04 | 2009

fuji 100c - color negative

One of the things I have always loved about this art is that it is technical and that in many ways, it relies (as it always has) on the ingenuity of mad scientist photographers in their kitchens and darkrooms.  Folks like Edward Land who invented instant photography (Polaroids, if you will) in the first place because his daughter wondered why she couldn’t see the photo he’d just taken of her by the family Christmas tree.  What we take for granted now because of digital photography was preposterous, even impossible, back then.  And I still love the very real magic of pulling apart a Polaroid.  Er. Fuji instant print.

It is no news that plenty of analog photographers are mourning the loss of Polaroid.  We are excited one minute about The Impossible Project and freaked out the next about our emptying refrigerators (since nobody is trying to make our most treasured instant films).  We have mixed feelings about Fuji film.  But in the last two days, I’ve gotten word that emulsion lifts and transfers are actually possible with Fuji instant film and that it is also possible to create a transparent negative from the throw-away side of Fuji instant film.  I spent the whole day yesterday in my studio, cooking and bleaching and washing and drying these fragile little first experiments, following and not following and adjusting everybody else’s recipes.  It’s different with Fuji, but it’s really exciting, too.  I was careful to keep notes and am happy to share them with anyone who asks.  Thank you, mad scientist photographers. Let’s keep cooking things up!

Above: a transparent negative, made from the throw-away side of Fuji instant film. Click image to enlarge. Below: a Fuji emulsion lift.  A few months ago, I posted its Polaroid sister. What do you think?

fuji emulsion lift


6 Notes on “In Praise of Mad Scientist Photographers Everywhere

  1. Alicia

    I fell in love with Polaroid transfers after a summer art class while in college.

    I would love to be able to create art with my wedding photos!

  2. Gia Post author

    Thanks, Julia. I’m still trying to figure out the presentation, but I like the colors. No matter what, there’s no replacement for the Polaroid 55 negs. I’m so glad we shot some at your wedding!

  3. Sarah

    They are both beautiful, and your talent is always beautiful and amazing, Gia! I hope you are well!! Thanks for putting in the effort and working on this, many brides to come will benefit!!

  4. Gia Post author

    Thanks, Sarah! We’re really excited about the possibilities (and I guess are also still trying to figure out exactly what those are)!

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