Christopher J Osborne

Shades of green

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Unfortunately, a few weeks after I made this emulsion lift print on wood, the emulsion layers started to wrinkle and peal off. Some similar prints I made using black & white polaroid film remain unaffected by this problem. If I discover a way of making these prints using colour film without them self-destructing after a few weeks I'll post a further update, but for now these prints only exist as digital scans Sad emoji

You can find more in the Shades of green overflow gallery.

There is no doubt that I love Polaroid photography and the Polaroid print. But there's no avoiding the fact that a Polaroid print is a rather plasticky thing… the surfaces you touch and interact with are made out of hard and shiny plastic.

But the emulsion lift process allows the plastic to be striped away, leaving a more organic feeling object. And using plywood as the receiving material emphasises this further with a distinctive texture and hints of the wood grain showing through the image. I thought this organic feel would suit these plant studies.

When I started making these prints in October 2022 I hadn't made any successful emulsion lift prints for nearly two years because the behaviour of Polaroid film changed, making the white zinc oxide layer stick to the emulsion layer. This spoilt the look of the print and made it difficult to get the emulsion layer to adhere properly to the receiving material. I had resigned myself to consigning emulsion lift printing to history!

But I'm very happy to report that emulsion lift printing is very much back on the agenda! I recently decided to have a go at making some emulsion lifts using the last for prints from a big box of Polaroid film I bought for another project, and white zinc oxide layer no longer stuck to the emulsion layer… yay! So these prints were made with film with a production date of 06/2022 or later. The only substantial change to my technique is that I am now using much cooler water. The 70°C water I have been using very successfully for many years now seems to make the emulsion layer too prone to tearing, so now I use water that is comfortably finger warm.