Sleep: Polaroid Emulsion Lifts

Instant Film

After my experiments with the medium format & 35mm film, I was very interested in continuing experimenting with other kinds of film. I really wanted to try using instant films, as there are very interesting things you can do with the photos. Whilst doing some research, I came across Emulsion lifts. The emulsion lifts caught my attention, because they have a very abstract appearance to them, and looked quite psychedelic. I thought that this would be a good way for me to incorporate the elements of psychedelia, that I had been planning to use in my video, back into my project.

In old fashioned instant film, such as polaroid film, the final image is developed in a layer of emulsion. When soaked in a hot water bath, this emulsion layer can separate and be lifted from the rest of the film, and transferred onto another surface, producing a transparent, dreamy looking image. To begin this process, I first had to find an instant camera and film. Instant cameras are becoming increasingly popular, and the photography company Fuji has created a new kind of instant camera called Instax. Using an instax camera and a pack of fuji instax instant film, I attempted to do an emulsion lift with some of the pictures I took with it. After attempting to do an emulsion lift with the instax film however, I discovered that it cannot be done with the more modern styles of instant film.

The new instax film is produced in a different way than old fashioned instant films. Rather than developing the image in an emulsion layer, the image is developed through thin layers of ink, and is encased in two layers of plastic to make the final images more durable. There is still a layer of emulsion used in the instax film, however upon inspection it appears to be a layer of clear emulsion used to separate the ink and the plastic of the film.

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