A few months ago Meghan wrote about the IMPOSSIBLE Project Instant Lab and showed some of her photos that had been printed by the folks at IMPOSSIBLE. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago and those of us that backed the Instant Lab Kickstarter campaign began to receive our devices.

The Instant Lab is an amazing device that allows users to print photos from their iPhones on IMPOSSIBLE Project instant films. For those of us that love the ease that comes with taking iPhone photographs AND love the unique beauty an magic of instant film, the Instant Lab is about as exciting as a year of Christmases.

IMG_1542Isn’t it cute?

The very day I received my Instant Lab, while it was charging I went searching through my iPhone photo archives to select candidates for Instant Lab printing. When I posted on Twitter that I was having trouble choosing that very first image, Meghan suggested a photo of my puppy, Moz, that I had posted to Instagram. For me, Moz is a perfect subject for the Instant Lab. He’s a very active little guy and has so far been impossible to capture with a Polaroid camera. Fortunately I’ve been able to get a few iPhone snaps, like this one of him curled up in my lap.

IMG_1497iPhone version

Instant Lab version (on PX680 film)

In the last few weeks I’ve been thinking a bit about the place of the Instant Lab in my little family of cameras and photo gadgets. For me, the magic of the instant film is only half the joy of using my Polaroid cameras. As I’ve said before, the process of shooting with a Polaroid is special  and while the results are not guaranteed, I will keep shooting them. On the other hand, there are times when a shot just can’t be taken with one of my Polaroids, either there isn’t enough light or the moment is so transient that there is no time to set up a Polaroid shot. These kind of situations are tailor made for the iPhone. It’s fast, it’s quick and it’s reliable.

There have been many times that I have looked at a photo I’ve taken with my iPhone and wish that I had shot the same image with a Polaroid. Something about the scene or the light just strikes me as ripe for instant film. The Instant Lab lets me live out that wish, as with the images below.

IMG_1347I shot this image with my iPhone in New York at during my breakfast at the bar at Cafe Colette in Williamsburg.

IMG_1538Instant Lab (Px70 film)

IMG_1345And this one at the Hotel Delmano

IMG_1526Instant Lab (PX680 film)


This one I shot with my iPhone on the fly. It was pouring rain and I was walking through this street-food party. I happened to turn around and I loved the shot with the umbrellas in the foreground and the Flatiron building in the background. I was holding and umbrella in a crowd of people. There would have been no way to pull out my Polaroid and set up the shot. I have been wondering for months though what this photo would have looked like on instant film.

IMG_1527Instant Lab (PX70 film)

IMG_1521And, of course, another of my never-stay-still puppy (aka my new favourite photo subject)

IMG_1539Instant Lab (PX70 film)

As you can see, I’m pretty much in love with my Instant Lab. The night after I got it I took it to a gathering of photographer friends and offered to make prints of their favourite iPhone photos. We selected, printed and ordered another round while we waited for developing. It was a lot of fun to share my love of instant film with my mostly-digital-shootin friends. Everyone got a kick out of the Instant Lab and some beautiful prints were created.

The Instant Lab was pronounced both “THE most hipster thing ever” and “totally back to the future”. I suppose it is a bit of a brain teaser to think about taking a photo that was taken instantly on your phone, using a device made in 2013 to make a print that takes 35 minutes to develop using technology replicated from that developed in the 1960’s. Baffling? Perhaps. Awesome? Completely!

Debra ~ Manifeisty