Gia Regan

I have been interested in photography for many years, using my camera to capture images while traveling and in the everyday world around me. It wasn’t until I discovered Polaroid alternative techniques that I considered photography a way to express myself artistically. Not only has this approach allowed me to create new work from earlier slides, but it changes the way I now look through the camera lens when shooting new pictures.

Polaroid image transferring is an alternative photographic process that uses peel-apart Polaroid film. An image is exposed onto the film using a slide printer and the film is pulled apart before it develops fully. The dye-laden negative is then rolled onto another surface, such as watercolor paper, and the dyes develop, thus transferring the image to the other surface. After the transfer has dried, I rework the images with pastels and watercolors. Emulsion transfers use the same film and equipment for a very different result. This process uses fully developed positive prints from which the emulsion layer that contains the image is lifted from the print and placed onto another surface, including three-dimensional surfaces.

The multimedia aspect of these alternative photographic techniques inspires me and the experimentation involved in developing my own technique has led to the most interesting discoveries. This past year, in addition to Polaroid image and emulsion transfers, I have begun creating Polaroid SX-70 manipulations and printing them on watercolor paper. Using this technique, I use a Polaroid camera to take pictures and while the image develops and the film emulsion is still soft and pliable, I manipulate the image using different burnishing tools to achieve a painterly effect.

Susan Sontag is quoted as saying “The painter constructs, the photographer discloses . . . “ What I like about creating Polaroid transfers and SX-70 manipulations and reworking them with paints and pigments is that the process allows me to blur that distinction.