The Polaroid Chocolate Process
Polaroid Chocolate 100 was made to replicate the Chocolate process which was already in use in 8x10 and 20x24 Polaroid films, in which a color negative was paired with a black and white developer pod, but in 3x4” peel apart film, making the unique process more accessible. Polaroid "Chocolate" was originally developed as a cross-processed method using the color negative from 809 film, and the positive from 804 black and white film. The result was about ISO 50 and produced images with a unique solarized, split-tone, sepia-like luminescence. The process was discovered by experimentation with Polaroid 8x10 film. Images were shot on color positives (809 or 879) and then processed using black and white negative development pods (803 or 804).
Normally when you shoot Polaroid 809 film, you put the negative half in a Polaroid film-holder, expose as you would normal film, and then you slide the positive receiving sheet into the holder (for the earlier type of holder, which serves both as a film-holder and loading tray for the processor). The positive side contains the developing chemicals in pods just like smaller format Polaroid. When you run it through the processor, it breaks the pods and spreads the chemicals, as when you pull a sheet of Polaroid out of a 4x5" holder. So what you're doing with Polaroid Chocolate is using a color negative and processing it in B&W chemistry. The color dyes developed in B&W chemistry migrate from the negative side to the positive side, forming the brown image on the positive receiving sheet. The same process used in the reverse order creates the wonderful cross-processed look favoured by photographers Paolo Roversi and Cathleen Naundorf in Paris.
With Chocolate 100 film the same process was used except in the 3x4” peel apart film format:
“By exposing the color negative and then processing the exposed negative with a B&W developer pod and B&W positive receiver sheet. The result would be that you would get silver developed in the negative and undeveloped silver dissolved and transported to the positive sheet where it would be developed on the nuclei there to form a B&W positive image. This is basically the normal instant B&W process but with the color negative the resulting image is not a neutral black but more brown.
What makes this different from the standard B&W film is that the color negative has the three image dyes (yellow, magenta, and cyan) which are normally not there in the standard B&W negative. So, with the color negative the image dyes can migrate to the positive and "contaminate" the B&W image there. Also, the image-wide control of the dye diffusion would not be as good as that in the full color system where the developer and positive receiver sheet have been optimized to work with the color negative.
The result of all of these factors - the brownish B&W image process and the contamination of the B&W image with the color image dyes - gives the image the chocolate look.” - Stephen Herchen, PhD
The chocolate process became quite famous after being used in a series of photos for the December 2002 issue of Sports Illustrated, the cover of which was shot as a portrait in Chocolate film. The story featured a series of NFL player portraits by legendary Sports Illustrated photographer Walter Iooss Jr. and Tracy Storer using an 8x10 camera and the chocolate process described above. Tracy Storer and John Reuter, the Director of Polaroid’s 20x24 Studio, also used the chocolate process to produce 20x24 Polaroid images.