In 2008, Polaroid stopped manufacturing all its films, and all plants were closed. At that time, it was already difficult to find instantaneous 8×10 inch Polaroid films – a great 20×25 centimetre format – on the market! In particular, the colour Polaroid 809 film was fantastic: with a click, a wonderful blow-up was ready after a few minutes. A few examples of these splendid films are available at this link .
In the 8×10 shooting format, everything is perfectly balanced: film size, camera dimensions and weight, lens performances, and total management costs, which have always been very high. However, the uniqueness of photography obtained with the 8×10 size is incomparable and unequalled.
No smaller format camera is able to give the same perspective, quality, plasticity, and controlled fuzziness of this great large format. The 8×10 was used by the most famous photographers for their photos, which are real artworks, such as Ansel Adams and Richard Avedon, two masters in the creative use of this format.
When Polaroid plants were closed, due to the relentless development of digital photography, most of the photographers sold their cameras, lenses, accessories, and photographic equipment for the 8×10 format. Everything fell into oblivion, and this unmatchable format for professional photography became part of old memories.
The Great Return
The turning-point was in 2011, when a team of twelve engineers, technicians, and chemists acquired a former Polaroid manufacturing plant in Enschede (The Netherlands), and started “The Impossible Project”. The scope of this new Dutch company was the production of new “Polaroid” films for millions of amateur cameras, which could not be used due to the lack of films. However, “Impossible” engineers did not stop there. They were lucky and found – in 2009 near Boston – the full manufacturing line used for the last production of Polaroid 8×10 format.
They dismantled the equipment and moved it to Enschede, where everything was reassembled and refitted to manufacture the mythical 8×10 film again, which was officially presented for the first time in 2011 at the Venice Cinema Festival by the photographer Maurizio Galimberti. It was a howling success.
“The Impossible Project” now sells black and white and colour films for all Polaroid cameras and consistently presents improvements and new options on the films it manufactures.
For large format, the mythical PQ 8×10 Silver Shade – an instantaneous black and white film with endless creative possibilities – is available on the market.
A few significant examples are available in the dedicated gallery.
Finally, the new PQ 8×10 Colour film is currently being tested: we are also looking forward to trying it.
All the equipment to manufacture the 8×10 film were put aside or sold by most of the photographers. The real problem now to use this format is to find the equipment: it seems that optical bench machines only exist in catalogues, although it seems that Toyo 810GII is actually available on the market.
Then, Schneider or Rodenstock lenses are necessary. Finally, the “original Polaroid Processor” is required to develop the film, and production of this equipment stopped many years ago.