Polaroid enthusiasts who have long missed Type 55, that unique black and white 4x5 emulsion famous for providing a usable negative along with a positive print, may soon be in luck. The film may return to production but it depends on the likelihood of New55 project, a four year effort aimed at resurrecting it, having success as a Kickstarter campaign with a funding goal of $400,000.
The Impossible Project's production of instafilm has created an active marketplace for new Polaroid-style instant films. Type 55 will not be resurrected by the Impossible Project and the film, which ended production in February 2008 alongside all Polaroid instant films, has been a hot commodity on eBay despite the last batch of film’s expiration date of 2010. The emulsion, rated to ISO 50, is thin on Type 55 and bears a telltale dark gutter and pockmarked film edge and also produces a print when peeled apart during processing.
Four years ago, Bob Crowley, Sam Hiser and a group of photographic tinkerers based in Ashland, Massachusetts began a concerted effort to revive Type 55. Named the New55 project, their efforts were documented via a Blogger page. This effort has now culminated in a Kickstarter campaign that premiered yesterday in the hopes of making this viable emulsion available to the general public. The 30-day goal seems astronomic at $400,000 but it is entirely realistic given that $200,000 will cover materials and manufacturing and the balance will cover the initial run of orders.
Here are a few examples of images captured on the new Type 55 prototype emulsion by Bob Crowley.
“Our Kickstarter goal is intentionally high,” says Crowley in the Kickstarter video. “We need to show strong market strength and viability for an ongoing new 55 product that will lead to other new 55 products.”
To contribute to New55 and help in the effort to bring this unique creative emulsion back to life, check out their Kickstarter campaign. All photos here are shot with the new Type 55 and are published with the permission of photographer Bob Crowley.