SX-70 – Still Life Photography with Polaroid Lifts

In the spirit of isolation I decided to continue my exploration of close up still life photography.

One of my favourite cameras to do this with is my Polaroid SX 70. Admittedly lately I’ve done fewer than usual, as I just find myself disenchanted with the film’s chemical long term stability.

However with the upcoming show: Cabinet of Curiosities (which has been postponed, see details here: https://www.beauphoto.com/cabinet/), I decided to do a second submission using some of my all time favourite props.

If I had to choose a favourite Polaroid camera it would hands down be the Polaroid SLR680, which uses a faster film and has an option for auto focus. However, for close up nothing beats an SLR SX 70 paired with the close up filter and cable release.

A tripod is necessary for me because I’d like to show off the sharpness of these lenses and the exposures are often a second or two even despite me using additional lighting. By additional lighting I mean holding up the flashlight or my cell phone light to the subject. I have to say in this case the cell phone throws more even light and seems to work better. I find the flashlight will burn out the centre of the image. Which makes sense since the flashlight is definitely more of an intensive and concentrated beam.

I find moving my cell phone light closer or further away from the subject is a better method to attain perfect exposure rather than using the over or under exposure dial on the camera. This will just over or under expose the whole photo, when likely you only need certain parts to be better exposed.

Here’s a couple of photos of my set up…

As with most instant projects I take two of every photo and lift one of them and leave one as a regular photo. I usually like the non-lifted one the most to start but as time goes on the photo ages and either fades completely itself or deteriorates in some new unforeseeable way.  This is why it’s important to get a digital file of every single one lifted and regular.

Below are some of my photos and lifts I ended up with…

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