Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It's no longer hip to be square... least according to Polaroid, who has officially ceased all instant film production. Digital killed the Polaroid star, and one of my old hobbies, which I suppose was pretty much dead already.

Here is my Polaroid lament.

If past habits are any indicator, it wouldn't be surprising to know that in addition to my many other collections, I also had a pretty large collection of old Polaroid cameras. When I left college, I decided it was time to downsize my moving box collection so I gave most of the cameras to my old photography teacher, but I did keep my 1971 Polaroid 450 that I used to do emulsion transfers (see photo below). I also kept a 1965 Swinger, mostly because it was in amazing condition and came in a fabulous case.

There is endless fun to be had with Polaroids and endless experimenting to be done with various types of film and transfer methods. Polaroid is the "Honest Abe" of photography. (Too much?) No dark room manipulation. No Photoshop filters. Just unique textures and colors capturing a real moment. It is instant analog gratification. The imperfections of the cameras and the film make the end result all the better. Who doesn't love staring at that empty little square, just waiting for the image to slowly appear before your eyes.

Let's face it. Most of our digital photos sit on our hard drives or in our memory cards and will never see the light of day (or the ink of a printer). The Polaroid gives you this permanent record of a moment that otherwise may have been deleted because someone made a funny face.

All that being said, I just used my digital camera to take a picture of the Polaroid cameras. So yeah. Here are the ancient relics, along with some emulsion transfers I did long ago (some of you will recognize the locations).