Polaroid Transfers

Andy    April 7, 2017

This week’s “Our members present” brought 2 very different presentations; in the second half of the evening Maija shared a number of images produced using the relatively rare technique of Polaroid Transfers.

Maija started her presentation by talking about how she created her Polaroid “Prints” using a Vivitar PolaPrinter like this one. Here the photographer inserts a slide into slot at the bottom, which is then projected onto film pack at the top which produces the print. The PolaPrinter gives control over the exposure and some photographers place filters over the blub inside to change the colour balance.

During her presentation Maija showed a number of images and spoke about three different techniques;

  • Direct Transfer
    Here the Polaroid print is placed directly on sketching paper the moment in comes out of the printer and the colour pigments then transfer into the paper. This give a dreamy water colour like image.
  • Manipulation
    In this instance while the image is still “wet” using a tool you push the emulsion around to distort the final image before allowing it to dry as normal.
  • Emulsion lift
    With the emulsion lift technique the Polaroid print is soaked in hot water which causes the emulsion to come away from the support paper. The semi-transparent film containing the image can then be lifted using a perspex sheet and then applied onto new mount perhaps using textured or other craft papers. This technique often results in the film become folded or lifting from the support paper with a ragged-edge. All of which add to the charm of the images.

As always Maija was a great speaker sharing her knowledge of little known photographic techniques and fascinating images.

Here are some of the images Maija kindly shared with us (Thank you to Gareth for transferring the prints to become digital images)

Meeting of the three

This image is made from 3 slides each showing Maija’s husband from a holiday. This uses the emulsion transfer technique.

Tasty Meal

This is a table-top image shot with a camera using bellows. It’s worth noting the mice figures are just a centimetre long!

Sunny Side

Taken in Spain this shot shows a solitary Spanish woman off for a walk through the deserted streets at siesta. Note the wrinkled edge typical of an emulsion transfer.


Another table top image, combining some straw packaging, some bent wire and spot of jam for the lips! This image was produced for a competition with the title of “Gold”.

Way down

Another shot of Maija’s husband, this time walking over a massive bolder.

Pussy Cat

This image was inspired by nothing more than a tea towel, however here Maija hand painted the colour into the animal’s eyes on the final artwork.


Another example of Emulsion transfer and some fantastic saturated colours. Note how the wrinkled surface gives the effect of wind blowing.

Across the ice

In this table top shot, Maija used a geode to form the ice peaks and fashioned the walker from plasticine.

Keep Tidy

Find Me

Shot on Brighton seafront, this emulsion lift shows a young lad almost completely camouflaged in a ball pond.

The Red house

Taken from Maija’s home in London, this shows her neighbours house. Note how the corrugated wall is echoed in the uneven top edge.

Still life

A final table top shot transferred onto a textured paper.