Instant Film Negative Reclamation pt.1

So I came across this video showing how to reclaim a negative from Fuji Instant film. I mentioned this to Guy and he said he had a RB67 Polaroid mag with 3 exposures that needed using up (As they had been in there for nearly a year!). So we set the Mamiya up on a tripod in the lab and took 3 exposures.

Original_0002 Original_0001


On the last two we introduced a red graduated filter to help underexpose the lights. We also used lights from our phones pointed at our faces to help bring them in.

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The developer for the photograph is in one end of the pack and when the exposure is taken the film is removed by pulling it out of the magazine. This squeezes it out between 2 rollers which spreads the developer across the film. The development time, which vary depending on temperature, is important to measure to get consistant and accurate exposures as shot. Once the development time has passed the the pack is ripped apart leaving an instant photographic print in one hand  and the “throw away” part in the other.

It is possible to see a negative image in the throw away part and depending on the film you use it fades away. More on that later.

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This is a picture of the throwaway part just before it fades.

Well as stated up there it is possible to reclaim a negative from this bit and depending on the type of instant film used this can be a simple or not so simple process. Fuji FP3000-B gives a scanable negative straight after shooting (It is advisable that the goop is dried before putting it in your scanner though). With 100-C and 100-B the negative needs to have the black paint coating, which keeps the pack light tight, taken off so the neg can be viewed. Be aware that one side is the negative emulsion side and the other is the paint coating!

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Using the instructions from the video I used tape to hold down the negatives onto a piece of glass emulsion side down.

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So in a well ventilated area, using appropriate PPE and with possible adult supervision (Parents seem to get worried here) I got myself some household bleach.

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I applied this to the back of the negative. and gave it a rub with a sponge.

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And voila! The paint coating practically melts into a black sludge. Wipe the neg as clean as you can.

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Remove the tape and wash the neg clean in luke warm water, hang up to dry.


And this is what you get. Whats weird is that Fuji 100-B doesn’t actually give a proper negative as the image has a solarised effect due to diffusion transfer reversal (Yeah I don’t totally get it either). It’s something to do with the blacks in the photo becoming intensified and going back onto the negative giving the image a solarised look.

Either way when scanned and inverted the images are pretty weird. Looking like a mix between a negative and a positive with a solarised look over the top.

Neg_0001 invert

Not content to leave it there I decided that it would be fun to try and print a copy using a 5×4 enlarger in the darkroom.


Not bad for a one off, instant film picture. I definitely want to try with some 100-C instant colour film so I can get proper negatives from polaroid film. Just need to start saving…


One response to “Instant Film Negative Reclamation pt.1

  1. Pingback: Instant Film Negative Reclamation pt.2 | Unit 32 - Experimental Photograpghy·

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