New55 FILM Hopes to Kickstart The Re-Production of 4×5 Instant Sheets

New55 FILM handmade samples (manufactured sheets will come 5 per box)

Noticing the successful efforts of both Lomography and The Impossible Project, inventor Bob Crowley has been inspired to take his own dive into the niche market of the re-creation of discontinued analog films. He and his team at New55 FILM have created a Kickstarter in hopes of funding the start up of 4×5 instant film production.

After hearing The Impossible Project wasn’t going to work on 4×5, Crowley figured he’d look into making it a reality himself. With his background as an inventor, he got to work, applying that knowledge towards making it happen.

Starting off with the basics, Crowley researched patents and papers on the creation of instant film, gathered up as many resources as he could, and contacted as many knowledgeable people in the field as he could, all in an effort to become as well-informed as possible before taking the next step.

Then came the more difficult aspect: gathering the pieces of the puzzle to create the film — industrial resources, vendors of the almost-extinct materials needed, and everything else. And while he and his team at New55 FILM have done much of the research needed to gather these components, it’s not yet complete, as the funding from the campaign would go towards supplying the needed capital to make these investments.

Untitled | Polly Chandler (New55 FILM)

Untitled | Polly Chandler (New55 FILM)

The manufacturing process will the final step towards re-creating this instant format. And although it’s a daunting task, New55 FILM is ready to take it head on with a solid plan that’s meticulously outlined over on the Kickstarter page.

The rewards start at the $25 pledge range, with a $75 pledge securing you a “First Edition” box consisting of five 4×5 sheets, assuming the Kickstarter gets successfully funded.

Eventually, their ambitions are to get the market price per sheet down to $6. But, that depends completely on whether or not their campaign is successful, as well as the need for economics of scale to help bring the cost of semi-mass-production down.

As of writing this, the New55 FILM Kickstarter campaign has raised just over $45k in funding, leaving $350k to go. It’s certainly one of the more ambitious Kickstarter projects we’ve seen, but as The Impossible Project went to prove with their endeavors, it’s not so impossible.

To read in more detail the project, from conception to where it’s currently at, you can head on over to New55 FILM’s blog. If you’d like to read more specifically about the Kickstarter or make your pledge, head on over to the Kickstarter campaign.

  • David Liang

    Been following these guys for a while. Got my pledge in for 5 sheets.

  • Tz

    I wish them luck and good on them for having a go.

  • Forrest MacCormack

    I really hope this happens! Best of luck to them!

  • Bingo

    I wish this guy all the best but I can’t help but think that 4×5 was never that popular(at least in my life-time) and hence the market will be extremely small and unsustainable, considering that there are already a lot of options left for (the last few)film dudes still out there.

    Some times you just have to let things die and move forward and spend the $400,000 on developing something relevant like a tripod with a cup holder or something….

  • Andy Umbo

    Bingo, you’re so funny! As late as 1998, the commercial catalog studio I was managing was shooting thousands of sheets of 4X5 a year on product photography, and at least a couple of boxes of 8X10 a year too. Just because the commercial aspect of photography went to digital (not because it was superior, but because it was cheaper and faster), doesn’t mean there still aren’t thousands of artists still shooting film. Just google it and find out! Even I have an 8X10 Deardorff and shoot a box or two a year of black & white!

  • Alan Klughammer

    Commercial studios used Polaroids as proof shots for checking lighting, camera settings etc. With digital, there is no need for these proof shots.
    As a final image, polaroids were a bit limiting. Most people (especially artists) shooting large format want the control of film and printing.
    I wish this guy luck, but he is marketing to a VERY small group. He will have a very tough time making this film affordable and keeping his business viable…

  • Freeland

    I would venture to guess if they could speak for themselves… Ansel, and Andy would have a much differing opinion on the limits of Polaroid or instant photography for that matter. Especially as an artist… As well instead of all the well wishes of luck, toss in a few bucks and help out.

  • Alan Klughammer

    Ansel did a few polaroid prints, but by far,most (and his most famous) images were on film. (remember the zone system?)
    If you are talking about Andy Warhol, I was not aware he ever used large format cameras. Most of his work was with small rangefinders and Polaroid cameras (not the same thing as 4×5 polaroid film).

  • Jeremiah True

    I am going to support this. I have three backs that I can’t get film for but I want to use them so badly. Glad to see this coming along.

  • michael

    Ansel Adams was a huge supporter of polaroid instant film. He was friends with one of the founders, Mr. Land. He even has an entire book showcasing his best instant film works. Its unfair to suggest that Ansel wasn’t a major supporter for Polaroid. Think about it, most of his work was primarily on film because that was the medium available to him for most of his life… instant film didn’t come around until much later in his life. Perhaps brush up on your history before you attempt to “school” someone else. I’m 23 and I feel like I know more about this history than you do, or at least what your letting on.

  • Jetsetter23

    Andy Warhol shot 20×24 and 8 x10 Polaroid actually.
    Ansel Adams and Dr. Edwin Land (inventor of Polaroid film) were close personal friends and collaborators. Adams was the first photographer to be a beta tester of Polaroid film—and a very large collection of his work was part of the Polaroid Art Collection. (That was auctioned off because the former CEO pulled a Bernie Madoff with an unrelated company and the judge was out for blood)
    Instant film looks like nothing else. It is magical, and has a quality you cannot replicate digitally. Spend a few moments looking through the Flickr groups for Polaroid the Impossible Project. Your mind will be blown away by work from people like “The Gentleman Amateur” “TobySx70″ “Rommel” There are so many extraordinary phottographers working with instant—and what New55 is trying to do is make a unique medium that speaks to the traditions of the old Polaroid film. In a world of HDR madness, we need something that marries skill, luck and magic. Is it for everybody? No… but it is well worththe effort.

  • Alan Klughammer

    I was never an Adams fan. I read all his books, and he was a great technician, but I was always under the impression he wanted polaroid to be more than it was. I seem to remember that his favourite polaroid film was the one that produced a negative (I can’t remember the model number.
    I did not know Warhol shot any large format images. I learned something today…

    edit. Can you point to some links to Warhols large format work? Google seems to be failing me…

  • Andy Umbo

    Many, many photographers shot with Polaroid PN/55 film, cleared the negatives, and used them for printing (as well as used a whole range of Polaroid products to test before film exposure). The look of the film was really pretty magical, people liken it to Panatomic-X for a view camera. The whole point here is that American Corporations give up making stuff not because they can’t sell it, but because they can’t make the profit on it they want to make for their stock-holders. Some “joker” at the company, or on Wall Street, decides that now that have to make 23% net profit instead of the 7% they’ve been making for the last 20 years, and there goes all the stuff you used to use (that’s why Agfa stopped making film)!

    Kodak abandoned almost everything it did after wasting millions for years going down blind alleys with poor management practices and “bum” products. I still shoot their Ektar 100/120 film, but only because they quit making their E-100 transparency film, and I loved that color pallet. Thinking you can’t get a product today because they couldn’t sell enough of it proves that you know nothing about photography OR American business!

    Photography manufacturing is a volume based business. It was cheap for the consumer to buy film because millions of people were shooting it, as well as catalog houses and commercial users. When catalog houses changed over to digital in the late 90’s/early 2000’s (not because it was better, but because they could shave more off the cost of projects and save their clients a step in scanning), the handwriting was on the wall for the type of films the pro catalog houses used.

    Saying film is dead, or we don’t need film, for a lot of us, is like saying we don’t need oil paints any more because you can draw on a computer! All digital has done besides allow the amateur to shoot at will, is to bombard the galleries and shows with horribly renders images with too much sharpening or color saturation by people that want to spend far more time on post-processing than taking a picture!