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IMG_20140510_0008One of the reasons I barely used my SX-70 in Desert Center was that I was in an experimental mood that day and spent much of my time playing around with a couple of vintage cameras I had picked up on eBay but hadn’t yet tried out.

This shot of the remains of an old structure (and its indestructible contents) was, for instance, taken with a Polaroid Colorpack II. Manufactured from 1969 to 1972 as a cheap, plastic alternative to Polaroid’s higher-end cameras, it remains a bit of a novelty even by Polaroid-devotee standards. Because, unlike the more-popular SX-70, One-Step, and Spectra models (for which the original film was discontinued only to be resurrected by the Impossible Project), the Colorpack II uses a much-less-expensive and more readily-available peel-apart film made by Fujifilm.

Less financial investment means more room for trial and error but that’s not where the difference ends. Colorpack images, as they emerge from the camera, are wet and messy, and given the strong chemical odor they emit, presumably toxic as well. They also lack the luminous and dreamy quality one usually associates with Polaroid photography. All that being said, they are higher in contrast and richer in color and, to my eye, lovely in their own right.

My results thus far have been a mixed bag (not sure what’s going on with the discoloration on this one) but I’ve seen some beautiful and even evocative Colorpack work online and am intrigued enough to try again.

Photo taken with a Polaroid Colorpack II camera and Fujifilm FP 100-C instant color film.

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