Are you a Polaroid photographer? Well practicing your art has just become more difficult. Polaroid has announced it is out of the film making business. According to a New York Times article last year, Polaroid
“…which stopped making instant cameras for consumers two years ago and for commercial use a year before that, said today that as soon as it had enough instant film manufactured to last it through 2009, it would stop making that, too.”
The instantaneous of Polaroid prints apparently lost its uniqueness some time ago. Not so long ago I can remember it being magic to push a button and seconds later get a print to hold in your hand. It seems now digital photography has replaced the once revolutionary instant Polaroid camera and film.
I will miss the Polaroid. Don’t get me wrong, I love digital. I perhaps love the instant feed back I get with digital most of all. Digital in many ways is more efficient than the Polaroid. However, digital does not leave me with anything physical that I can hold in my hand. At least not instantaneously.
Carrying a Polaroid camera was once a great tool for me as a travel photographer. What a thrill it was to snap a photo of children in Nepal and let them see themselves in a photo I just made. Yes, you can turn your digital camera around and let them look at themselves on the tiny LCD screen. But with digital there is nothing to physically leave with them. A Polaroid print was a gift from me to them. A “thank you” for letting me take make a picture of them: It’s better to give than to take.
Perhaps the biggest loss with the discontinuation of Polaroid films is the loss of Polaroid Art. Polaroid film is an important tool in many alternative photographic processes. Although I never really got into it, there are many really cool photos and effects that are made using Polaroid film. Polaroid transfer, Polaroid emulsion manipulations, etching and hand coloring on Polaroids are just a few techniques that will probably be lost forever.
Read the full New York Times article here
Please post your comments about what the loss of Polaroid cameras and film means to you below. I would love to hear how this does or does not effect you and your photography.