New55 Portraits

This will be a quick one!  I dropped by the SOPHA the other day t0 play with some New55 film and to shoot a couple of portraits.

I’ve been digging the results I have been getting with New55 film (see here and here)  but I have been wanting to see what it could do in a portrait (for those of you just joining us, New55 is a recreation of the discontinued Polaroid Type 55 film for 4×5 cameras.  It produces both a positive print and a scan-able negative).  On January 2nd I had a few hours to kill in Manchester, so I dropped by SOPHA studios to see who I could rope into a quick portrait session.  As luck would have it, Bud, Kim and Dave were all game.  Below are the scanned negatives.

New55 portrait of Bud and Kim

I had to work to get both Kim and Bud in focus.  The studio strobe was only giving me f16 at ISO 100, so I had to compensate by tilting the front standard of the 4×5 camera.  That brought both of their faces into the same focal plane, but I would have liked to had the benefit of a smaller aperture and larger depth of field.  Next time we break out the Mongo-strobes!

New55 portrait of Dave Dawson

I love the texture and the feel of these!  These shots are from an earlier batch of New55 and it has all of the handmade artifacts that make film, and this one in particular, unique.  I’m not sure what the horizontal mottling is on the photo of Bud and Kim, but I suspect that it’s from me not pulling the film smoothly in the process step.  You have to be smooth, but decisive with New55!

I’m not showing the positives for a good reason- each of the sitters has them.  That’s a unique advantage of this film.   While you can use it to check exposure and lighting before committing to a set of 4×5 film exposures, it also produces something tangible at the moment of exposure.  There is just something about being able to hold the physical result that is special, especially in today’s day and age of endless ephemeral, throwaway images.  If I were shooting weddings, this would be awesome!  P0p a New55 frame in the beginning to check the light, shoot a couple of 4×5 frames for the main portrait, then fire off one last frame with New55 and present the results to the newlywed couple as a congratulatory gift.  I guarantee they will carry that print through their honeymoon and likely beyond!

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