Still life: paper negative vs Polaroid

Written by Nasir Hamid on February 4th, 2012

Sometimes the most photogenic still life objects are closer than you think. This red pepper had been sitting on our kitchen worktop for a few days before I noticed how perfect it would be for a photograph. I wanted to compare the difference between the multigrade paper negatives I’ve been producing recently and some Polaroid instant pack film. The Polaroid expired in 2004 and although it’s meant to have an ISO of 100 I’ve found that it’s actually now ISO 50. The paper negative is Ilford multigrade glossy rc paper with a grade 2 filter on the camera lens.

[Tech info:] Wista 5×4 with 150mm lens.

red pepper on paper negative

Paper negative

Expired Polaroid 664



4 Comments so far ↓

  1. Victor Tvrdy says:

    Hi, I’m that guy with the Nikon FM2 you met on Friday 🙂

    If you want to see my work, heres my Flickr :
    (it’s a bit messy, i haven’t found my style yet :))

    Do you develop you photos yourself?

    Hope the photo you took of me worked out, it’ll take me a while to get mine scanned, because i shot 8 roles of film last week.

    cheers, Victor

  2. Justin Snapp says:

    I am curious why you used a grade 2 filter? I found that the paper negative is so contrasty (makes sense since it is meant to be exposed by a negative) that the best paper negatives are obtained with multigrade paper when I used a 00 filter over the lens. In my case this was playing around with a pinhole camera.

    Love your blog!

    • Nasir Hamid says:

      Hey Justin, I chose grade 2 based on original testing by a photographer named Tim Layton who’s work I follow on Flickr. He’s been doing some fantastic work with paper negatives and alternative processes. I needed a starting point so grade 2 seemed as good as any. Personally I haven’t had problems with excessive contrast although I have read plenty of people mention it.
      Last week I realised that the multigrade filters I’ve been using that I bought from eBay are actually old Ilfospeed Multigrade filters and not Multigrade IV. The colour of the grade 2 filter I’ve been using is yellow whereas the correct grade 2 filter for Multigrade IV is a magenta colour. So, with that new twist I don’t really know what grade equivalent to Multigrade IV I’ve been using but so far I like the results 🙂
      (This may explain why my red pepper shot came out almost black.)

Reply to Justin Snapp