This Grand And Magnificent Emulsion


PX100 First Flush In My SX/70 & The White Mountains

I like to find connections between the technology and nature, specifically how advances in technology can radically change how we view and interact with specific spaces. I chose to test my first samples of Impossible’s PX100 in the White Mountains of New Hampshire because, there it is quite easy to see how technological advances introduced as part of the industrial revolution helped change, commodify and ultimately conserve natural spaces. I believe that with the introduction of PX100 instant photography is following the same path.


The summit of Elephant’s trunk looking toward Crawford’s Notch. The first impossible project. My first shot with Impossible PX100 using my SX/70 Sonar.

For most of the history of Crawford Notch, it was thought to be impassible. A usable road would vastly speed up travel between the White Mountains and Maine therefore a hefty reward was offered for anyone who could successfully build a path through it. The first path was probably a lot like PX100; new, rough and a whole lot o fun.


During the latter part of the 1800s the White Mountains were the premier destination for the New England’s wealthy industrial elite. They offered a place to conspicuously consume and an escape from horrid inner city conditions caused by the vacationers own industrial interests. Industrialists were buying and creating value in land that was not intended to have a use but rather to be visually appealing. I believe we are seeing something similar in the resurgance of certain types of niche analog cameras. The cameras marketed by Lomography are particular examples of items that are valued now for different reasons than when they were originally produced.


As guests to the White Mountains demanded better and more luxurious accommodations the resorts responded by combing large parcels of land into nature theme parks that offered luxuries not found in more urban areas of New Hampshire. The first modern skyscraper in New Hampshire was not built in the state’s largest city of Manchester but constructed horizontally in Dixville Notch as The Balsam.


This Impossible PX100 Stuff

I was originally unimpressed by the look of PX100, it felt to me like an unfinished product that had been rushed to market to meet a deadline. However, I started noticing similarities between very early photographic methods and the samples of PX100 on the web. I don’t think PX100 is a snapshot film like my grandmother’s Polaroids but something closer to an instant daguerrotype or albumen print. I took my first PX100 shots in Crawford Notch because I felt the landscape and the qualities of the film would go well together and they both have co-occuring histories of impossibility and technological advances.


My Impossible PX100 FF SX/70 Process

1. Climb mountain/trudge through snow/park car.

2. Put Polaroid cold clip in armpit to warm it up.

3. Take picture with SX/70.

4. Return cold clip to armpit with impossible PX100 FF shot in it.

5. Wait a couple minutes.

6. Stare in amazement.

Cool-Useful Polaroid and Impossible Links

I took the title from this post from the amazing This Grand & Magnificent Place.
You can buy PX100 from The Impossible Project
I bought my sx/70 on ebay and surprisingly, got it for a good price.


The talent abundant Brian Henry for giving me PX100 tips.
The author of This Grand and Magnificent Place for giving me a good title to copy.

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One Comment

  1. These are absolutely beautiful – I especially love the first and last of your images – the landscape fits the film perfectly. Can’t wait to get my hands on some PX100!

    Posted April 12, 2010 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

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