Some people use oil paints to make a painting and others produce art using a computer.  Both are valid forms of expression, but one is not the other.

For the first time since February 2008, when Polaroid announced that it would cease production of Type 55 film, Soundwave Research Laboratories, in Ashland Massachusetts, has been trying to produce a replacement. Now, after a long effort they have produced a small hand-made batch of film, that is very similar to Type 55. Bob Crowley has documented the projects progress in his blog called New 55.

As some of you know, the Polaroid version was a unique film that not only produced an instant positive, but also produced a high quality 4×5″ negative that could be scanned or printed using an enlarger. It was the very film that I used to shoot my Experiment in Perspective series.

I feel very honored to be the very first photographer outside of the New 55 organization to be able to try this film. I was given 5 sheets.  The first one had a mechanical malfunction and the second was the image as shown, just shot this morning.  My impressions are as follows:

Perfect, no; magic, yes!

This new film utilizes the same film holder that was used with Polaroid Type 55 and seems to have many of the same characteristics.  While an actual product is perhaps, a ways off.  I can tell you that what has been done by this organization to date is a major accomplishment.  It is one thing to read  a vague long-expired patent, quite another to duplicate the results on a lab bench.

Does anyone even give a damn about this?  If you do, I ask that follow the New 55 Blog and spread the word. Please note: there is not a test supply currently available. Please do not ask Bob for samples.

I’m asking you to please pass this on to anyone that you think might care.  If you still use film and feel threatened by its loss, please post this to your wall; tweet, it blog it, throw your window open and yell.  If you need some inspiration, if you feel overpowered by the big corporations who tell you what you can and cannot have, look at this brief video clip, and tell Bob how you feel. maybe Bob will hear you in Ashland!