One Take: Lifting the Forest, A Study

In which we gave Batesville-based photographer Ian Campbell a Polaroid, eight frames of film and one take to get the shot

I KNEW I wanted to try something kind of experimental. My work often has to do with pushing the material of photographs and the idea of a photograph as a physical object. So I’d seen people do this technique before. It’s called an emulsion lift. A Polaroid is designed to be handled, so it’s got these paper edges, and it’s encased in plastic to protect the delicate emulsion inside. But if you take all that out and basically expose this delicate photographic film to the elements—if you’re very careful—you can soak it in warm water, then transfer it onto another substrate. It was kind of challenging. I lost a couple shots just to them disintegrating, but there are also some that you might call “happy accidents.”