The Impossible Project: Polaroid Tests with Bill Phelps

Last week in New York City it was my pleasure to participate in The Impossible Project’s 8×10 Polaroid film tests conducted by one of image-making world’s true visual poets – photographer Bill Phelps. This post is about how it all became possible.

The Impossible Project story began in October 2008, after Polaroid announced it would stop producing instant film for Polaroid cameras. Impossible was started with the founders’ idea to save the last Polaroid production plant in Enschede, Netherlands, in order to continue inventing and producing totally new instant film materials for traditional Polaroid cameras. As the digital revolution swept over the entire image-making industry, in 2010 The Impossible Project literally saved analog instant photography from extinction by releasing various, brand new and unique instant films for Polaroid cameras already in existence, thereby preventing more than 300,000,000 perfectly functioning Polaroids around the world from becoming obsolete.

Continuing to make the impossible possible, in addition to producing instant film for Polaroid’s most popular small-format cameras, The Impossible Project’s most recent endeavor is to begin producing large peel-apart film formats in order to satisfy specific artist demand for this legendary and long-loved type of film. Hence, the current experimentation phase. In order to sample the company’s new 8×10 test film, several photographers around the world were approached to conduct experiments and report their feedback, which will then be used to define and perfect final new product, scheduled to go on public sale in summer 2012. Coming full-circle, Bill Phelps – one of the photographers conducting large-format Polaroid tests in New York’s Dune Studios, invited me to come on set and participate, making it possible for me to learn about shooting with different kinds of Polaroid cameras and giving me a chance to share the collaborative spirit of what happened behind the scenes.

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Links:
The Impossible Project – www.the-impossible-project.com
Bill Phelps Photography – www.billphelps.com
Dune Studios New York – www.dunestudiosnyc.com
The Lake & Stars – www.thelakeandstars.com

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