Polaroid Transfers

If you’re looking for something new to try with your photography I highly recommend experimenting with some of the alternative photographic processes that are available. Years ago I took a workshop on Polaroid Transfer that I quite enjoyed, and was very happy with the results from the session:

Emulsion transfer

Dye transfer

About these prints: the top photo is an emulsion transfer and the bottom is a dye transfer, both from polaroids. The technique is one in which the image of a “peel-apart” polaroid negative is transferred onto a non-photographic surface, such as paper, fabric, vellum, or wood.

“Polaroid transfer begins with the exposure of the color film, either in camera or through an enlarger. Instead of allowing the full development time, the film halves are separated before the dyes can migrate from the negative portion. The negative is placed face down on a damp receptor, most commonly a sheet of watercolor paper, and pressed firmly with a roller. After a short period, one to twenty minutes, depending on the artist’s particular technique, the negative is carefully peeled back. If all went well, the fully formed and developed image is now present on the receptor surface.”

A good place to start for further information on techniques for this process and a listing of the appropriate types of films can be found on the Polaroid website. There is also a good description of the difference between emulsion and dye transfer here.

2 thoughts on “Polaroid Transfers

  1. slr says:

    The result is a mirror image yes? Could this be done to concrete, glass, metal, or other materials commonly found on the street?

  2. Rachael says:

    The process seems to work well with materials that are porous. Do you have a street art idea in mind for this?

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