I wrote earlier in the week about rediscovering my love for film and for the methodical process of large format photography. Now, I'm anxious to begin using these tools again in my assignment work. The downside is that Polaroid no longer makes my favorite proofing film, Type 55 or any other instant films any longer. The ability to "proof each shot is essential in a commercial/editorial setting prior to committing the image to transparency film. Art directors need to be able to approve concept, composition & lighting in advance of making the actual photographs.
Fuji has recently introduced a new 4x5 color instant film FP-100C. This proofing film comes in packs of 10 sheets and appears to require a specialized film holder. Rumor has it that a B&W version is in the works. I always preferred proofing shots in B&W, even when the final image was to be rendered in full color. Color polaroids always had a ghastly greenish cast and the B&W Type 55 included a negative that was a superior means of checking focus & depth of field. I doubt that the new B&W Fuji instant film emulsions will also contain a negative, but I might be forced to give them a try anyway.
There is the possibility of some good news on the instant film/polaroid front. A group of eccentric businessmen in Europe have recently purchased the rights to produce specific polaroid products, have leased equipment and a factory that formerly was used to produce polaroid films and have embarked on The Impossible Project. These guys plan on instant color films similar to and usable in the old SX-70 Polaroid Cameras in 2010. If successful, perhaps we will see the eventual manufacture of products similar to the old Type 55 films. Let's keep our fingers crossed.