Friday, July 27, 2007

Making Polaroid lifts

Here’s a few photos taken in my cluttered basement workspace while I was doing the final section of the Polaroid lift panorama seen in the last post.

These are the basic tools I’ve used for the lifts. An old slow cooker on the left to hold the hot water and keep it at a constant temperature, darkroom thermometers to check the temperature of the water (I get the best results with water between 140-150 degrees F), and at the lower right, an old baking pan filled with cool water.

After soaking the Polaroid print in hot water until it starts to bubble off of the paper backing, the print is transferred to the tray of cool water and carefully peeled off of the paper. This photo shows me discarding a large gob of gelatin from the print.

The gelatin removed from the Polaroid print.

The thin and delicate photo emulsion is floating in the tray of water. Here, I’ve put the panorama in progress into the tray to capture the last image. If you look carefully, you can see the photo emulsion floating by my fingers.

After capturing the emulsion on to the paper, I use one of the brayers seen in the background to smooth it out and eliminate air bubbles. The emulsion is very soft and malleable at this point, in this photo I’m pushing the bottom edge of the lift up a little to add more texture.

The finished panoramic lift. You can see it more clearly in the previous post. Click on the image to see a larger version.

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