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Unleashing Creativity with the Art of Polaroid SX-70 Emulsion Lifting



Sx-70 film was initially released in the early 1970s with the intention of being used only with the streamlined and one-of-a-kind Sx-70 camera. The Sx-70 film is what’s known as a “integral style film.” This means that the film itself incorporates all of the necessary components and layers to expose, develop, and fix the photo in a neat plastic envelope. This is what gives Polaroid pictures their distinctive look that we have come to know and love. The Sx-70 film and camera combo has had and still has a cult following and acclaim among artists and photographers. The camera was a favorite of artists and photographers such as Andy Warhol and Walker Evans, to mention just a few. When designing the SX-70, Dr. Edwin Land had an open mentality and a creative attitude in mind. The only thing this film and camera combination required was the imaginative direction of the photographer or the artist. One need only compose the topic while looking through the viewfinder. The film was removed from the camera once the image was captured, and it was developed right in front of your eyes in broad daylight, delivering a beautiful experience that is generally only available to advanced photographers who are working in the darkroom. Instant films such as SX-70 opened up new opportunities for creative thought by doing away with the requirement that photographers have access to a darkroom. SX-70 film continued to be manufactured for an impressively long period of time, lasting over 30 years before production was finally halted around the year 2006; Polaroid stopped manufacturing all film products by the year 2008. However, in 2008, an adventurous group of photographers, scientists, and engineers working on the “Impossible Project” brought the film back to life after it had been dormant for many years. Which Polaroid will later purchase and rebrand as an Original around the year 2017 when they did so.

Ronnie Mae Kenpp, Doorway

Not only is it simple to take an image with SX-70 film, but the design of the film’s integral pack also makes it easy to manipulate the image after it has been captured. This has contributed to the film’s continued popularity among photographers and artists. As a result of the fact that the film uses a gelatin emulsion layer underneath the plastic overcoating, the emulsion is able to maintain its malleability for several days. Nevertheless, the emulsion lift or transfer is one of the processes that stands out as one of the most interesting.

The emulsion lift gives the artist a method to physically connect with their work, while at the same time utilizing a technology that is highly uniform and confines the picture within its own one-of-a-kind frame. The frame makes it possible for the process to be carried out by preventing the chemistry from escaping, but it also restricts the amount of individuality that may be expressed. The Emulsion Lift causes the picture to become dislodged from the frame in both a real and figurative sense. After cutting away the outer border of the Polaroid film packet, the image that has been cropped is soaked in a bath of warm water before being developed.

Ronnie Mae Knepp, Tub

The separation of the support base, the emulsion, and the top protective layer is made possible by the use of this heated water. The emulsion layer, which is responsible for maintaining the image in its suspended state, is seen to float opaquely in the water. After that, the artist transfers this thin layer carefully onto the support that they have chosen, which may be watercolor paper or one of the many other varieties of fine art paper. Depending on the intentions of the photographer or artist, the picture can be scaled up or down, stretched, or otherwise altered in a variety of various ways. The picture is often positioned using a combination of warm water and extremely fine paint brushes. This is the method that is most commonly used. The emulsion is able to maintain its malleability thanks to the warm water, and the soft brushes do their best to prevent rips and tears from occurring. There is an element of chance involved in the emulsion transfer process due to the fact that not every image gets transferred in the same way. The fact that each image has the potential to transfer and lay down in a completely different manner, resulting in a one-of-a-kind piece, is what makes the technique so alluring.

Ronnie Mae Knepp, Boots

Gallery Focus

The Intersection of Technology and Fine Art:



How NFTs are Revolutionizing Fine Art Photography

The art world has long been dominated by traditional mediums like painting, sculpture, and printmaking. However, in recent years, a new medium has emerged that is shaking up the art world: digital art, specifically Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) in fine art photography.

Fine art photography has traditionally been seen as a niche within the larger art world, but NFTs are allowing photographers to create unique digital assets that can be bought and sold like traditional art pieces. In this article, we’ll explore the intersection of NFTs and fine art photography, and how this emerging trend is changing the way we think about photography as an art form.

NFTs and Fine Art Photography

So, what exactly is an NFT, and how does it apply to fine art photography? Put simply, an NFT is a unique digital asset that is stored on a blockchain. This digital asset can be anything from a piece of digital art to a video game item, or in this case, a fine art photograph.

When a photographer creates an NFT of their work, they are essentially minting a digital asset that is unique and one-of-a-kind. This means that the NFT holder owns the original digital asset, even if the photograph can be easily reproduced. In other words, the NFT acts as a certificate of authenticity for the photograph.

This is a game-changer for fine art photography. Historically, the value of a photograph was largely determined by its physical characteristics, such as the quality of the paper or the size of the print. However, with NFTs, the value of a photograph can be based on its uniqueness, scarcity, and provenance.

Creating an NFT of a fine art photograph can also open up new revenue streams for photographers. They can sell the NFT of their work directly to collectors, who can then resell the NFT to other buyers. In addition, photographers can sell prints of their photographs alongside the NFT, offering collectors both a physical and digital version of the same work.

Examples of NFT Fine Art Photography

There have been several notable examples of fine art photography being sold as NFTs, which has demonstrated the potential for this emerging trend to revolutionize the art world.

One of the most high-profile examples of NFT fine art photography is Trevor Jones’ “Piccadilly Circus”. This photograph, which depicts London’s iconic Piccadilly Circus at night, was sold as an NFT in February 2021 for over $100,000. The NFT was purchased by an anonymous buyer, who now owns the original digital asset of the photograph, making it a one-of-a-kind piece.

In November, 2021 Alyson and Courtney Aliano’s Twin Flames #49 fetched a staggering 871 ETH, earning it the fifth spot among the most expensive photographs ever sold. This puts the Alianos in the same league as iconic artists such as Andreas Gursky, Richard Prince, and Cindy Sherman, solidifying their place in the annals of art history.These sales demonstrate the potential for NFTs to unlock new revenue streams for photographers and provide a unique investment opportunity for collectors.

Beyond individual photographs, some artists are using NFTs to create entire collections of digital art. For example, Mad Dog Jones recently released a collection of NFTs called “REPLICATOR,” which features a series of digital sculptures and animations that explore themes of consumerism and mass production. The collection sold out in just a few hours, demonstrating the appetite for digital art that is sold as NFTs.

While these examples are just the beginning of what is possible with NFTs in fine art photography, they represent a significant shift in how we think about the value of digital art. By creating unique digital assets that are one-of-a-kind and cannot be replicated, NFTs are allowing photographers to monetize their work in new ways and reach a wider audience of collectors and investors.

Challenges and Criticisms

While NFTs offer many benefits to fine art photography, they are not without their challenges and criticisms. One of the main criticisms of NFTs is their environmental impact. Creating an NFT requires a significant amount of energy, which can contribute to the carbon footprint of the digital art world.

In addition, there are concerns about the speculative nature of NFTs. Some critics argue that the high prices of NFTs are driven more by hype than by the value of the underlying artwork. This has led to fears of a NFT bubble that could burst, leaving buyers with worthless digital assets.

Despite these criticisms, the use of NFTs in fine art photography shows no signs of slowing down. As more photographers experiment with this new medium, we are likely to see even more innovative uses of NFTs

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Gallery Focus

Painted Smiles and Hidden Tears: A Photographer’s Journey into the World of Circus Clowns



I have never been able to resist the allure of the mysterious world of the circus. Everything about it piqued my interest, from the flashing lights to the colorful costumes to the air of wonder and excitement. Hence, when I made the decision to start on a tour as a photographer to chronicle circuses located in different parts of the world, I knew that I was in for an exciting experience.

Polichinelo – Portugal/Brazil

My adventures have taken me to some of the most remote parts of the world, from the neon-lit streets of Tokyo to the desolate plains of Africa, and everything in between. I couldn’t help but be fascinated by the clowns no matter where I went. They were a mysterious and intriguing bunch of individuals who were usually hanging out on the outside of the circus and never quite seemed to belong with the other performers.

Harlequin – England

When I first started taking pictures of the clowns, I didn’t understand that behind their painted-on smiles, they were hiding a profound sense of melancholy and isolation. They were frequently the punch line of jokes and the objects of mockery, and yet they continued to perform night after night in the hopes of distracting themselves from their problems by entertaining the crowds.

Klaun – Czech Republic

I came across clowns who had given up everything to the bottle, including their families, their houses, and any sense of who they were. I encountered clowns who had been shunned by their communities because they were unconventional and did not adhere to the standards set out by society. And there were clowns who were just moving around aimlessly, never exactly settling into one location as their permanent abode.

Palyaço – Turkey

In spite of the challenges they faced, the clowns were some of the most strong-willed and motivational people I’d ever encountered. They instilled in me the value of perseverance, the significance of finding joy even in the most difficult of situations, and the admirable quality of being honest to one’s own nature.

Augusto – Italy

As a photographer, when I think back on my travels, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the people I had the opportunity to photograph along the route. They not only reminded me of the significance of empathy and connection in a world that can frequently feel so cold and unconnected, but they also opened my eyes to a world that is full of wonder and possibilities.

Limited edition prints are available, please contact David S. Spivak from Focus Gallery, 201.275.5323, [email protected]

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