Using expired Polaroid film can be challenging. For one thing it makes me honestly sad. I can’t help but think that this is a finite resource, and that sooner or later there will be no more left in the world. Then there is the fact that using Polaroid film long after its expiration date can be a bit hit-and-miss. If you’re unlucky, the battery is dead and there is no photo ejected, or the chemicals have degraded and the resulting images are even more unpredictable and weird than early Impossible Project film.
However, sometimes the stars will align – when the three princes of Serendip are on your side – and give you those lovely results you never dared to expect and which convinces you that you should take a chance on expired film. After all, the only thing sadder than using expired film is leaving the film for so long that it is unusable, thus losing the film’s photographic potential. Such was my experience on a trip this summer to Dalen, a small town in Telemark, a south-eastern county in Norway.
One day we were visiting a museum up in the hillside above Dalen. The museum is partially outdoors, and is located close to Eidsborg stave church, one of the best preserved stave churches left in Norway.
After finishing at the museum, we decided to walk down the hillside to Rui-plassen, a 19th century farm whose last inhabitants died in the 1960s, but which is now preserved for tourists to get a glimpse of what life was like in a 20 sq. m. farm house with three cows, a bit of soil to till and no affording a horse and carriage. However, we never did find the right path, and ended up spending a couple of hours in the heat traversing fields and walking along roads that showed us quite different sights than what we had expected, before caving in and calling the hotel driver to pick us up.
When we came back to the centre of Dalen and our hotel, I had three shots left of the ten in the pack, with which I photographed the otherworldly Dalen Hotel where we were staying, our cosy, sunny hotelroom balcony and the landscape down by the lake on the edge of which Dalen is situated.
I would love to hear from you if you have experience with expired Polaroid film, whether successful or otherwise – tell us in the comments!
~ All the best, Jenny.