Christopher J Osborne

Pack film

Polaroid pack film was introduced in 1963 as a replacement for the original Polaroid roll film. Unlike with Polaroid roll film, both the negative and print materials are packaged together in a single pack, making it much easier to use. Sometimes it is referred to a 'pack' film because of this single pack that contains all the materials, sometimes it is referred to as type 100 film as the first two varieties were called Type 107 (for b&w) and Type 108 (for colour), and sometimes it is referred to as peel-apart film because the user still have to manually peel the print from the negative after 60 seconds or so.

My favourite kind of pack film is Polaroid Type 100 Chocolate, which has its very own gallery. The photographs in this gallery use a variety of film type, both bamp;w and colour. The first all started life as 35mm slides from which Polaroid prints were made using a device that was quite popular in the 1970s and 80s for making quick Polaroid prints from 35mm slides. The second set were all shot using a Polaroid 195 camera.

Pack film may have been introduced in 1963, but due to its use as a proofing medium by professional studio photographers using Polaroid film backs for medium and large format cameras it was made right up until 2009 by Polaroid and until 2017 by Fujifilm. But alas no more! Those with exceptionally deep pockets can still by a new pack film made by Supersense called One Instant, but other than buying a very small amount out of pure nostalgia, I'm just not rich enough! Which means that, other than a very few packs of pack film still sitting at the bottom of my fridge, pack film photography is essentially a thing of the past... which makes me very sad indeed.

Polaroid pack film gallery - Image 1

Dam Square, Amsterdam
Under developed print, 35mm slide printed using a Vivitar Instant Slide Printer

There is a technique called image transfer which involves peeling the print from the negative material ofter only 10 ro 20 seconds. Most instructions for making image transfers say to throw away such prints, but these under-developed prints have a very distinctive look which I rather like!

Polaroid pack film gallery - Image 2

Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris
Under developed print, Polaroid 669 film, 35mm slide printed using a Vivitar Instant Slide Printer

Polaroid pack film gallery - Image 3

Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris
Under developed print, Polaroid 669 film, 35mm slide printed using a Vivitar Instant Slide Printer

Polaroid pack film gallery - Image 4

Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris
Under developed print, Polaroid 669 film, 35mm slide printed using a Vivitar Instant Slide Printer

Polaroid pack film gallery - Image 5

New Forest, England
Under developed print, Polaroid 669 film, 35mm slide printed using a Vivitar Instant Slide Printer

Polaroid pack film gallery - Image 6

Antique shop, Amsterdam
Under developed print, Polaroid 669 film, 35mm slide printed using a Vivitar Instant Slide Printer

Polaroid pack film gallery - Image 7

Lake Michigan, Milwaukee, U.S.A.
Under developed print, Polaroid 669 film, 35mm slide printed using a Vivitar Instant Slide Printer

Polaroid pack film gallery - Image 8

Edinburgh Festival, Scotland
Polaroid 669 film, 35mm slide printed using a Vivitar Instant Slide Printer

This one was developed for the normal amount of time using out-of-fate Polaroid 669 film.

Polaroid pack film gallery - Image 9

Rosslyn Chapel, Roslin (near Edinburgh), Scotland
Polaroid 100 Sepia film, Polaroid 195 camera

This photographs, like all the emaining photographs in the gallery, was shot using a Polaroid 195 camera (just to prove I can use one!!).

Polaroid pack film gallery - Image 10

Rosslyn Chapel, Roslin (near Edinburgh), Scotland
Polaroid 100 Sepia film, Polaroid 195 camera

Polaroid pack film gallery - Image 11

Springfield Mill, Roslin (near Edinburgh)
Polaroid 100 Sepia film, Polaroid 195 camera

Polaroid pack film gallery - Image 12

Springfield Mill, Roslin (near Edinburgh)
Polaroid 100 Sepia film, Polaroid 195 camera

Polaroid pack film gallery - Image 13

Kibble Palace, Glasgow Botanical Garden
Polaroid 664 film, Polaroid 195 camera

Although Polaroid made several close-up photography accessories for the Polaroid pack film cameras, the fact that the view finder was so far from the lens made close-up photography very difficult indeed. I can assure you the framing on this one had far more to do with luck than judgement! But the bokeh from such a large format is lovely.

Polaroid pack film gallery - Image 14

Holyrood Park, Edinburgh
Fujifilm FP100c film, Polaroid 195 camera

I was never a big fan of Fujifilm FP100c film. I found the colours a bit to normal and accurate for my liking! I preferred the strange colours you got from out-of-date Polaroid 669 film. But somehow the Fujifilm colours seems to work well with this autumnal scene.

Polaroid pack film gallery - Image 15

Holyrood Park, Edinburgh
Fujifilm FP100b film, Polaroid 195 camera

Polaroid pack film gallery - Image 16

Holyrood Park, Edinburgh
Fujifilm FP100b film, Polaroid 195 camera

Polaroid pack film gallery - Image 17

National Mining Museum, Newtongrange, Scotland
Back-peeled print Polaroid 669 film, Polaroid 195 camera

When I took these photos my last remaining stocks of Polaroid 669 film really was very old indeed, but the weird colours suited the old machinery in this hidden corner of the National Mining Museum Scotland nicely. When you peel the print from the negative material a paper fame normally come away with the negative to leave a nice clean white border. But if you peel away the print from the back, the paper frame is left in place to give the print a mottle border.

Polaroid pack film gallery - Image 18

National Mining Museum, Newtongrange, Scotland
Back-peeled print Polaroid 669 film, Polaroid 195 camera

Polaroid pack film gallery - Image 19

Leaf instant photogram
Instant photogram (back-peeled), Fujifilm FP100p film<

I made this image without a camera by removing a print from a pack of Fujifilm instant film in the dark, then placing a leaf directly on the print, and then exposing it with a flash of light. The sort of coloured solarised semi-negative image was a complete surprise...!

Polaroid pack film gallery - Image 20

Leaf instant photogram
Instant photogram (back-peeled), Fujifilm FP100p film

... so of course I had to see if I could repeat the effect!