Inspired by Derek Jarman, a provocative artist, film director, diarist and gardener IMPOSSIBLE decided to commemorate Jarman’s life with the release of a very limited quantity of a monochromatic, low-contrast all-blue film they referred to as Cyanograph SX-70 after Jarman’s movie, titled Blue, which consisted of 79 minutes of a single image of saturated blue.
When IMPOSSIBLE sent an email to Pioneers inviting them to get in on pre-orders for the only batch of this film, I knew I needed to get some.
As the first images started appearing from others, I knew this was going to be a special film and I wondered what I was going to do with my 4 packs of this film. As is often in my life, a mundane drive home from work sparked an idea. I told my wife what I wanted to do and used to my crazy ideas by now, she got on her bikini and away we went.
It was pitch black out and I had my trusty SX-70 with flash-bar and also brought out my brand new Sony NEX-6 to cover all my bases. I directed my wife to do certain poses and soon realized she couldn’t hear me with her head partially under water.
So, here’s the series, entitled “Water”. It’s a mixture of an SX-70 shot and NEX shots using the Instant Lab.
The Trusty SX-70
I didn’t know how many shots I was going to do with the SX-70, so I did some digital shots with the NEX-6 to see how the flash would act. After a good test, I got out my SX-70 with a flash-bar, communicated to my wife with hand signals and got the shot. I kept it under the frog-tongue and then put it in my bag to develop.
After about 20 minutes I looked at the shot and noticed some dark horizontal bars across the image and I thought maybe my rollers weren’t clean. I checked my rollers and didn’t notice anything, so I decided to wait and see.
After about 40 minutes, I checked again and I was presented with a beautiful cyan monochrome image. The bars disappeared and the image looked amazing!
NEX and The Lab
After seeing the great results of my SX-70, I looked through the files from my Sony NEX-6 and a series of images started piecing itself together.
I knew I wanted to use the IMPOSSIBLE Instant Lab with these files.
One of the cool features of the Sony NEX series is the built in WiFi, so I got my iPhone 5, loaded up Sony’s Play Memories app and transferred the selected photos directly to my phone. Now, I’m usually a RAW only guy, but the JPEG’s looked great on the camera and I wanted to try a very simple work-flow idea. Shoot, transfer, print, was my thinking.
I converted the files to greyscale in Google Snapseed and did a test print…and found out that I needed to make some adjustments. Instead of going through all the steps I did, check out the original digital image, and then next to it check out the final version that went to the Instant Lab.
As you can see, I really toned toned the brightness, brought up the shadows and basically made everything really grey. But I can’t argue with the results as you can see below.
And really, these scans don’t do this film justice. They have a smoothness and depth that is pretty amazing.
And after playing with this film, I really think that we are playing with the beginnings of a new Black and White film. A chromogenic version that will have the blue opacification layer, not rust and shift, and have greater tonal range.
The only downside I’ve seen to this film is, like the color film, developing times are looong. Fix that and I really, really can’t wait to use some more!
Now I wish IMPOSSIBLE would come out with a Magenta version too!
I hope you get a shot of using this film. I know it is sold out and was a limited run, but it’s worth tracking down, and if you are in New York near the NYC store, I hear they have some packs at the store!
As always, check out what I’m doing on Flickr for the latest.