All photographs in my From Our Windows project were taken in May, June and July 2020 with a Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera, Alpha 1, Model 2 manufactured January 12, 1977. The film used for this project was Polaroid/Polaroid Originals Color SX-70 Film manufactured by Impossible BV in 2019/2020. All photographs were taken from the interior of my home on Raglan Road in Winnipeg.
This is the first of several experiments using alcohol inks to alter Polaroid SX-70 photos. The glossy Mylar image is the perfect receptor for these inks. I watch as a single drop of ink spreads out across the plastic surface unpredictably. I hope for a circle. I hope that another drop and another colour will blend as I think it should. But the reality is that the ink goes where it wants to go. It’s not in my control.
I started this series of posts with a written introduction to From Our Windows. However, I thought I would put together a “home-style” video with yours truly explaining the genesis of the project as well as a quick look-through of André Kertész’s 1981 book, From My Window.
The video is embedded in this post for your convenience but, if you wish to see it at a larger scale or full-screen, you can do so on my YouTube channel at: https://youtu.be/cMFdj8Exd2U. And, while there, be sure to subscribe: more videos will be added shortly!
The last time I picked up a Polaroid camera was about 1979. It was a Polaroid OneStep loaded with SX-70 film, both original Polaroid Corporation products.
So much has changed since then. Polaroid filed for bankruptcy in 2001, changed ownership twice and finally shut down its film processing plants in 2008. The Impossible Project salvaged the Netherlands factory just hours before it was to be demolished and set out to remanufacture Polaroid film, including SX-70 film, but with recipes missing, no suppliers, no color dyes and chemicals unavailable or banned the process of recreating the complex 3.5″ x 4.25″ integral film turned out to be a challenge.
The Impossible Project became Polaroid Originals in 2017, once it acquired the brand name and intellectual property of the original Polaroid Corporation and, simply, Polaroid earlier this year. Their SX-70 film has gone through a few iterations, improving immensely over the years. But the film I use today, is very different from the film I used in 1979. More to come on that topic. In the meantime, here are a few more SX-70 instant pictures in the From Our Windows project.
By now, Gail and I would have departed on our flight from Winnipeg to Paris, via Montreal. Tomorrow we would have walked the streets of Paris. The following day would have taken us by train to Laon. And, after a day there, a short train ride would have taken us to nearby Tergnier.
Just six months ago, on September 26 2019, we had walked to that small city. It was the endpoint of our trek from London to Canterbury (following the Chaucer Way) and from Canterbury to Tergnier on the first leg of our Via Francigena pilgrimage to Rome. Our plans for this spring were to complete another stage of the journey, this time from Tergnier to Besançon—23 walking days and some 550 kilometres later.
As we all now know, an invisible threat has, with devastating fury, reshaped all of our day-to-day lives and, in one tiny corner of the globe—Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada—forced Gail and me to cancel our springtime walk across France.
Today, we will not board that flight. Instead, we will cocoon in our comfortable Wolseley home, barbecue a couple of steaks and open a good bottle of French wine.
And we will contemplate our return to France and the resumption of our two-footed mission to Rome. Soon. This Fall. Maybe. Hopefully.