Todd Tolhurst

Polaroid Image Transfer is an alternative photographic process which produces striking results, often described as painterly or dreamlike.

The process uses peel-apart Polaroid color films; the examples here were made using Type 669 3-1/4 x 4-1/4" film. To make a Polaroid Image Transfer, the film is exposed either in a camera, or in slide printer or Polaroid film back under a photographic enlarger (the transfers on this page were made using a Daylab II slide printer).

The film is then processed in the normal way, by drawing it through a pair of processing rollers, but instead of allowing the print to develop for the normal 60 seconds, the print is peeled away from the negative after about 10 seconds; the negative is then placed in contact with a receptor surface (watercolor paper prepared by soaking in warm water for 30 seconds is commonly used). The negative and receptor are firmly pressed together, usually by applying pressure to the back of the negative with a rubber brayer roller.

The negative and receptor are then left in contact for anywhere from 2 to 20 minutes, at which time the negative is carefully peeled away from the receptor, leaving an image transfer on the surface of the receptor.

The image transfer process is rather unpredictable, and it's hard, if not impossible, to get repeatable results, but happy accidents occur frequently, and with practice, it's possible to get a reasonably high yield of good images and to exercise a degree of control over this fascinating process.

For more information, check out Polaroid's Image Transfer Page. If you want to learn more about the process or try image transfers yourself, pick up one of the following excellent books, available from Amazon.com:

 Polaroid Image Transfer Resources
Gallery
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