The story of Galaxy is similar to that of the Impossible Project except that Galaxy is trying to revive an old Kodak process. According to the company’s Kickstarter page, Kodak discontinued a line of direct positive paper back in the 1970s. For the uninitiated, direct positive paper is photosensitive paper where the image develops right onto the paper. Think of it like a wet plate or a Polaroid except that the paper doesn’t have the chemicals built in for development like Instant film does.
Galaxy found a book all about it and set about trying to find a way to re-create the paper in some ways. However, Galaxy believes that they can actually do a much better job and make the paper available in higher ISOs comparable to 120 film. They also claim that they can make the paper available with a higher dynamic range, and with an easier development process.
The paper, if funded fully on Kickstarter, will have a fixed grade contrast as well as a glossy embossed surface. Photographers will be able to shoot with it in 4×5″, 5×7″, 8×10″, 11×14″, 16×20″ with custom sizes available in 4×10″, 7×17″, 8×20″, 12×20″, 14×17″, 20×24″ and some rolls of different sizes. The idea of simply being able to shoot at 20×24″ with direct positive paper is thrilling!
So what will this mean for photographers? For those of us that still love to shoot with film (and there are a heck of a lot of you that read this site) we’ll have more options available in large format as both Kodak’s and Fujifilm’s numbers seem to be dwindling. Smaller and less traditional companies seem to be trying to keep it alive and do very well according to a recent investigation we did.
Large format positive paper offers a quality that you simply can’t duplicate with digital cameras. The grain is organic, the dynamic range may not necessarily be the same but the image is truly analog and tactile. If you shoot a 20×24 image, you can easily frame it and put it on your wall instead of needing to do the print out. That image is very much an original.
Head on over to the page’s Kickstarter for more info.