Whatever happened to the Polaroid? You know, that cute camera that gave you instant memories? The photo you had to shake in order for it to develop?
Patreeko Dimsee, long time film shooter and passionate photographer tells us that “As far as Polaroid goes… people interpret Polaroid as a victim of digital, but that’s not true… Polaroid ran itself into bankruptcy in 2001… right at the dawn of digital cameras when Polaroids for all their quirks were still dramatically better quality and easier to use than even the most expensive digital cameras around. What killed Polaroid was the rise of the 1-hour photo lab and the loss of their chief: Edwin Land who resigned as chair in 1980. What followed was a decade of their highest success… banking on the continuous “reinvention” of technology he had developed in the early 1970’s with little to no innovation… in fact the quality of the cameras continued to slide throughout the 80’s until the 90’s when they became synonymous with junk. At the same time, processing and printing of 35mm film shifted from being something you had to wait weeks for, to days, to 20 minutes. The ability to drop off film at a pharmacist on the way to a movie and pick it up on the way home IMO is the biggest factor in the fall of Polaroid. It killed the novelty of the product. And without an innovative chairman to introduce exciting processes, it floundered. Land’s [Dr. Edwin Land, creator]final act as chair was to push for the development of instant movie film… an absolutely amazing process… but the late 1970’s brought the commercial electronic video camera, which simultaneously killed both Super-8 and any hopes of instant movie film
catching on in popularity.”
Polaroid cameras in my opinion are still pretty awesome contraptions. The battery is located inside of the film back, so you really do just load and go. The results are those cute little photos that you shake to see your memories develop. So what if YOU still want to use a Polaroid? Can you even buy one still?
YES YOU CAN! WOO HOO.
Original Polaroid bodies can be found in the places we referred you to in the Treasure Hunting category. They can also probably be found in your parent’s old boxes of junk. Check out this LIST so see all of the models. Fuji has also come out with an instant camera as well, my personal favorite is the Instax Mini 8. But I still don’t think you can ever really replace the original Polaroid versions.
So let’s say you explored mom’s attic and found that cute Polaroid Land Master. Do they still even make film for a camera that isn’t in production anymore? Well, that’s why you have us! Since we do specialize in old, out of production cameras, we have indeed tracked down some film for your old friend. The film comes from Impossible, a company that continues to manufacture the same film that was used back then.
“Impossible started with a small team of the very best 10 former Polaroid employees who shared our passion as well as the belief in our Impossible dream. Every single one of them has a long time of expertise in the field of instant film production – more than 500 years accumulated experience and knowledge. Without their work and support the Impossible Project would not have had the slightest chance to make the Impossible possible. The Impossible Project currently employs 25 people in the factory in Enschede.”
“In October 2008 The Impossible Project saved the last Polaroid production plant for integral instant film in Enschede (NL) and started to invent and produce totally new instant film materials for traditional Polaroid cameras. In 2010 Impossible saved analog instant photography from extinction by releasing various, brand new and unique instant films. Therewith Impossible prevents more than 300.000.000 perfectly functioning Polaroid cameras from becoming obsolete, changes the world of photography and keeps variety, tangibility and analogue creativity and possibilites alive.”
300,000,000. That is a very large number. AND it also tells us that there are still enough cool antique Polaroids still in existence to go around! Impossible’s film range can be seen here.
For the Polaroid 600 Land Master, one of several models they produce film for, a pack of film retails for about $25. Pretty pricey for only EIGHT exposures. But, I guess you can do that if you are the ONLY producer of original Polaroid film in the world.
Would you purchase it?