Exposing a blue-hued beauty.
Most of my recent film photography has been with two vintage cameras: a Nikon F2 35mm SLR with 20mm wide-angle lens, and a Polaroid 680 SE SLR instant camera with Sonar autofocus and built-in flash.
The Polaroid 680 SE is considered by many to be the best, ultimate, pinnacle of SX-70 family features and technology, with precise, manual, through-the-lens (TTL) single-lens-reflex (SLR) focusing, Sonar autofocus (optional) and great image quality. However, despite being in the family, the 680 SE does NOT shoot SX-70 film; it’s designed to shoot the less light-thirsty 600 instant films instead. It’s my go-to, vintage, instant camera, when it’s not being serviced… I love my Polaroid 680 SE!
But…it should be about the photographer, not the camera.
The artist, not the paintbrush.
The person, not the tool. Right?
In film photography, it’s about all three:
photographers + cameras + films.
The Photographer has the vision.
The Camera defines the format.
The Film brings the vibe.
I’ve always been fond of the vibe — even when there was no digital, only film — and today, many (once again) share my fondness. We adore the glorious grains, tonal personalities, quirky emulsions, graceful (or not) aging, and tangible physicality, of film. We love to find exposed, forgotten film in hopes of discovering the next Vivian Maier in someone’s attic. We love to expose expired, color-shifted, faded film and process it eagerly, full of speculation and anticipation of strange and unexpected results.
But most of all we love to discover, explore, and expose new films, formats, and emulsions!
So of course, when I got the email from Polaroid about a brand new, experimental, reclaimed (partially), blue-hued instant film, I “instantly” bought 5 packs of 8 exposures, and eagerly awaited their arrival. When the box containing my Blue 600 Film – Reclaimed Edition arrived, I tore it open, briefly admired the packaging, then ripped open the first pack and loaded it into my Polaroid 680 SE.
According to legend (marketing verbiage), the new film was discovered somewhat accidentally, and is produced using materials left over from the regular 600 film manufacturing process. Results from the Blue 600 emulsion are (as you would expect from the name) monochromatic(ish), duotone(ish), completely blueish. I add “ish” to mono and duo, because Polaroid specifically states the Blue 600 Film is neither; it’s something “different” apparently!
Looking at results from my first pack — regardless of marketing spin — it sure looks like monochromes and duotones to me, without any trace of other visible colors to dilute the blueness. As you can see in my photos below, the blues of Blue 600 are high-contrast and dramatic, with blown-out highlights, and murky shadows. The colors and contrasts evoke an old-school cyanotype vibe — I love it!
Exposures (8) from the 1st Pack of Blue 600 Instant Film:
YouTube Short: 1st Blue 600 shot from the 1st Pack
I hope you enjoyed seeing the results from my first pack of Polaroid Blue 600 Film! Looking forward to exposing the next four packs waiting in my film-fridge, and to buying more, whenever I’m feeling blue…
Camera: Polaroid 680 SE SLR Instant Camera (vintage)
Film: Polaroid Blue 600 Instant Film, Reclaimed Edition (new)
Photographer: Russ Murray (vintage) 🙂
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