Polapan London is the working title of a new project I have just started and you can ‘blame’ Covid 19 lock down as after staying at home for about seven weeks and just do a bit of food shopping I had to go out and make some pictures. I suppose we all get that itch to go out one way or another….
As I have a fair amount of film stored cold for about 15 odd years already I thought ‘now or never’….. and so I dug out my 35 mm film cameras, which needed a clean first and then I grabbed some Polaroid 35 mm film (that is Polachrome for colour and Polapan for b&w) and made my way by bike to The City on Saturday morning at 7 AM and again on Sunday. Saturday morning was very quiet, Sunday a little busier but still good enough to be used by families on their bikes, perfect timing to do so. The traffic resembled that of a village.
I love film photography but I have gotten so used to digital that I was quite complacent at first from a metering and exposure p.o.v., but at least I did not end up looking at the back of the camera like I did about ten years ago when I took some film shots. Back then that made me roar out with laughter realising what I was doing. This time it was manual metering galore, something I grew up with and had discarded using it almost 20 years ago since the cameras allow you to do so. So that took about ten minutes of “oh yes…..” as slide film is on the whole pretty unforgiving. There is no clip testing, the whole roll goes into the processor and then throw a little prayer in for it to process successfully The chemicals that are inside a processing pack that comes with the film is the key to success or failure. The last year that Polapan was produced was in 2000 and its expiry date was 2002, so 18 years later the gamble is whether the chemicals are still there at all.
After I tried working with some very old Polapan about 7 years ago in a studio which did not yield the results I was after, this time I had a lot more luck.
I show a few samples of what I managed to shoot.