My Last Polaroid Type 55 PN

A few days ago I was camping on the south coast, hiking and photographing with my 4×5 field camera. In my back pack I had my few last remaining sheets of Polaroid Type 55 PN film and my 4×5 Polaroid film holder.

Years ago, Polaroid Australia kindly donated some Polaroid Type 55 PN to me for a workshop, and these sheets were left over. Polaroid is such a wonderful film, I could never bring myself to use it instantly unless I was trying to demonstrate something in a group or workshop, because I would lose the negative.

Out in the field, for my own images,  I always treated my Polaroid Type 55 as ‘regular’ film, exposing it and then processing it later in the darkroom when I returned from a trip. In this way I could safely save the negative from which I would make an enlarged print.  The Polaroid prints, although beautiful,  were always secondary, and tended to be too light as I had deliberately over exposed the negative.

With an expiry date of March 2006, saving the film, which I had kept refrigerated,  seemed increasingly problematic. I need not have worried, all the images processed perfectly in my Polaroid 4×5 back.

This image is of the remains of a very old and fallen banksia near a campsite clearing on the south coast. This old trunk just seemed to have its own quiet glow in the gathering dusk. Exposure was around 4.5 minutes at f16 with a 300mm Nikkor, 20 seconds development at 20 degrees C.

Some amazing images have been made with Polaroid of the years, indeed the Polaroid Collection contains many images by world renowned photographers. The collection was auctioned off in 2010, an action that was precipitated by Polaroid’s bankruptcy. You can read more about this on John Sexton’s April 2010 newsletter.

Now what to do with a 4×5 Polaroid film holder? Ironically,  it fits snuggly into a Fuji Quickload film box for storage, another item which is nolonger produced!

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